Mar 2024

How to update WordPress and your plugins

How to update WordPress and plugins safely and securely

If you've logged into your WordPress website recently, you've probably noticed all those notifications telling you there is an update available for WordPress and/or your plugins.

Updating your WordPress Content Management System (CMS) and plugins is crucial to ensure your website remains secure, functional, and up-to-date. However, the process requires careful consideration and a professional approach to avoid potential issues. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to safely update your WordPress CMS and plugins.

Step 1

It's essential to create a full backup of your website. This includes both your website's files and the database. You can use a reliable backup plugin to do this or consult your hosting provider for assistance as most web hosting providers have a built in backup system. This precaution ensures that you can restore your site in case anything goes wrong during the update process.

Step 2

Update the WordPress Core as this is vital for security and performance. Essentially, you're updating the very foundation which forms the backend of your website.

To update:

  1. Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. Go to the 'Dashboard' and click 'Updates.'
  3. If a new WordPress version is available, click the 'Update Now' button.

After the update, check your website thoroughly to ensure everything is functioning correctly.

Step 3

Outdated plugins are a common security risk and need to be updated regularly, especially as these are usually made by third party developers rather than WordPress.

To update your plugins:

  1. In the WordPress admin dashboard, go to 'Plugins.'
  2. Check the 'Updates' tab to see which plugins have updates available.
  3. Select the plugins you want to update and click 'Update Plugins.'

Remember to update one plugin at a time and test your website after each update to identify any compatibility issues. If any of your plugins are paid for or licensed versions, you may need to download them from the plugin developer's website, before then applying those updated plugins to your website.

Step 4

If you're using a custom or premium WordPress theme, keeping it updated is crucial for both security and functionality.

To update:

  1. In the WordPress admin dashboard, go to 'Appearance' and then 'Themes.'
  2. If there's an update available for your active theme, click 'Update Now.'

Again, after updating the theme, thoroughly review your website to ensure everything appears as expected. Like with the premium plugins, if your theme is a paid for or licensed theme, you may need to download the update from the theme developer's website or wherever you purchased the theme from, before then applying the update to your website.

Step 5 (optional)

The reason this step is optional is because most non technical people who are opting to update their website themselves, will not know how to do this. However, I highly recommend you create yourself a staging site. A staging site is a copy of your live site, but it's on a different URL (address) and is not connected to your live site. This enables you to do all of the above on the staging site, without risking having downtime and having to restore a backup on your live site. It's a good way to carry out a trial run of updates and then fixing any issues there on the staging site, before then doing the same to the live site.

By following these steps, you can keep your website up to date while minimising the risk of compatibility issues or security vulnerabilities. Remember always to back up your website before making any updates, and take a cautious approach to ensure your website remains in top shape. If you need any help with WordPress and plugin updates or support with your website, please get in touch and I'll be happy to help.

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The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.