Updates and maintenance for WordPress websites
Whenever WordPress releases an update they patch security flaws, fix bugs, add new features and essentially evolve the very foundation running your WordPress site. Therefore leaving your website with pending WordPress or plugin updates, means your website is not secure and is missing out on these potential benefits provided.
Whilst WordPress has made it easy to initiate these updates, the annoying thing is that often when WordPress or a plugin is updated something can break as a result of it - and this can be for a number of complex reasons I won't bore you with.
The update process
I first take a backup of your website, then set up a separate copy of it which is disconnected from the live one (called a Staging Site), and carry out the updates there. If all goes well then I carry out the same process on the live site, however, if something goes wrong staging I first resolve it there before anything is changed on live. That way we minimise the risk of downtime on the live website.
Updating your PHP version
This is something most website owners know nothing about but it's mission critical. The version of PHP which is running in your web hosting can make or break your website. As plugins are updated and new versions of WordPress released, they will not work on older versions of PHP and therefore periodically your PHP will need to be updated not from WordPress but from directly within your web hosting account.
Plugins are functionality you can add to your WordPress website but they are usually made by third-party developers and not by WordPress themselves. So when updating plugins you will sometimes need to source those updated versions of the plugins from the third parties and implement them manually.