Wondering how to Update WordPress Security and Improve SEO at the same time?Senka Melisa
Being active and updating your WordPress website Security also boost the SEO on your site.
WordPress is a wonderful resource for websites, but many people have concerns about wordpress security when using the CMS for their business sites. These concerns might have been founded way back when WordPress was a simple blogging platform. These days, however, as long as you know how to update WordPress, this CMS is one of the most secure and user-friendly platforms for powering a site.
In fact, it is so trusted that WordPress is now the go-to platform for many government and media organisations. This post will answer many WordPress Security and SEO related queries, such as:
• Why should I update WordPress?
• How secure is WordPress?
• Should I update the plugins regularly?
• Does this help boost my organic SEO?
We’ll begin with the why Updating WordPress?
1. Why Should I Keep My WordPress Site Updated?
Just like most aspects of online security (such as your antivirus software), there are many reasons you should keep your WordPress site updated. Naturally, to be able to do this, you need to know how to update WordPress – more on that later.
The five main reasons you should keep each aspect of your WordPress site updated are:
3. Bug fixes
Aside from security, which is always the number one reason for keeping your WordPress site updated, these reasons are equally as important. WordPress is being continually updated, so areas that worked perfectly well a while ago may not remain as effective on your site if you do not stay up to date.
2. Keeping Your WordPress Site Up-To-Date Will Enhance Your Site’s Security
You may (or may not) know that WordPress powers roughly a quarter of all websites worldwide – that’s a lot of websites. Unfortunately, this makes the CMS a popular place for malicious attacks such as stealing data or taking down sites. Fortunately, the sheer size of WordPress and its number of developers and users serves as its greatest asset.
When you know how to update WordPress and keep up to date with the latest version, you will be taking advantage of the services offered by the countless developers who deal with security issues quickly and efficiently. As WordPress is an open source CMS, anyone who identifies a vulnerability can report it to the right person or people right away. Even with smaller or less popular plugins, if the creator cannot be identified, then more often than not there will be someone else who can fix any security issues.
The huge community of developers and users essentially working together means that security issues can be quickly fixed, and updates released right away. But, if you do not know how to update WordPress or simply choose not to take advantage of these regular updates, you will not fully benefit from a fully secure website.
3. Updated Sites Perform Better
While an updated WordPress site will be more secure, the benefits don’t end there. Updates usually improve your site’s overall performance. This can range from general performance to loading speed and everything in between. It’s not just the version of WordPress itself that can be updated, but its various themes and plugins, too – all of which can lead to a much better and smoother user experience for your visitors.
4. Updating WordPress Can Remove Bugs
While security is a major reason for some of the more minor WordPress update releases (which have a X.X.X. version number), another important reason these updates are released is for fixing bugs. Knowing how to update WordPress when bug fixes are released can improve your site’s performance in ways you might not notice, as certain bugs may seem minor but can sometimes have a massive effect.
Major releases (marked with a X.X. version number) will have gone through a meticulous development stage with numerous developers testing it. These releases are almost always completely stable and free of bugs. Occasionally a bug may have gone unnoticed during development, which is one of the reasons why these minor ‘X.X.X.’ versions are released – someone will have identified the bug, fixed it and released an update.
5. WordPress Updates Can Improve Compatibility (But Not Always!)
Major WordPress update releases often lead to plugin updates to make sure they remain compatible with the updated version and its new features, if any. Knowing how to update WordPress can help ensure your all aspects of your WordPress site remain compatible.
Some plugins remain compatible and therefore don’t require updating, but its developer should check anyway to see if the plugin is still compatible and if it is, they should update the corresponding information found in the plugin repository.
However, there are occasions where certain WordPress or plugin updates lead to compatibility issues with other plugins. Therefore, it is important to perform a back-up of your site prior to updating.
6. WordPress Updates Can Provide New and Improved Features
Not only do updates ensure your site I secure and bug-free, but you can sometimes access some new and improved features. Recent WordPress releases had significant improvements to the UX (user experience) of admin screens, as well as improved accessibility. This also applies to plugins, so by knowing how to update WordPress and keeping up to date with the latest releases, you can drastically improve your own experience as well as your users’.
While keeping WordPress itself up to date, there are other elements you should keep updated too to make the most of this CMS. The three main element you should keep updated are:
• The latest version of WordPress itself
• All Plugins
• Any Themes you’re using
Keeping these elements up to date is simple, and can all be done from one place – the updates screen. This can be accessed via Dashboard > Updates. It’s really that easy to do!
WordPress itself and some plugins will sometimes update automatically if they’re minor updates, but it’s still worth checking up on everything on a regular basis to make sure each element is up to date. We’ll take a look at how that can be made easier for you in the next section.
Keeping Your WordPress Site Updated
The three main ways for keeping your WordPress site up to date are:
• Doing everything manually
• Automatic updates
• Using a plugin
Updating manually is relatively easy and realistic if your site is small and only uses one theme and a few plugins. Here’s an outline of how it’s done:
How to Update WordPress Manually
Manual updates can be managed from the Updates screen. Below you’ll see a sample Updates screen for a small site with a few themes and one plugin that need to be updated:
To update plugins or themes, all you need to do is select the relevant checkboxes, then click the Update Themes or the Update Plugins button. If you’e updateing your version of WordPress or you happen to have several plugins that require updating, it’s recommended that you make a backup before updating. This is so you can revert to your original site if the updates aren’t compatible or you simply don’t like the updates. A better practice would be to use a local or staging copy of your WordPress site – that way, you can test everything to make sure it all works well before making the updated version of your site live.
This is what the same screen looks like with everything updated:
Automatic WordPress Updates
Now you know how to update WordPress Manually, it’s also worth knowing about the automatic updates. Minor releases and patches are automatically updated, and this has been the default update setting since WordPress 3.7 was released. Any site that runs the previous releases of plugins, themes or version of WordPress will have the latest security patches or bug fixes automatically updated to increase the overall security, reliability and performance of WordPress.
For example, if a vulnerability in a certain plugin is identified, then the developer will create a security patch that will automatically update on every site that is using that plugin.
Notification of Updates and/or Vulnerabilities
While not only knowing how to update WordPress – but keeping it updated is important, many users feel the work involved is off-putting. Automatic updates make this a lot easier, as a large portion of the work is already done for you. WordPress will let you know if a core update has taken place, but not when most plugins have been updated.
For those that want to be able to control their updates, there are plugins available that can help. And not only that, there are plugins that can manage your updates for you too! We’ll look at some of those.
Plugins to Help With Updating
You’ve seen how to update WordPress and its themes and plugins, so now we’ll take a look at some of the plugins that can do some, most or all of the work for you. These will help you to keep your WordPress site updated by either performing the updates for you or notifying you when there’s something that needs to be done.
For those that want everything updated automatically – plugins, themes and the latest version of WordPress itself, the Updater plugin could be for you. It lets you change your settings so that all updates are put on autopilot, which can be great for some, but a risk for others. As previously discussed, some updates might not be compatible, and if an update doesn’t work well with your site, there might not be a way to revert to the previous version of the update.
Thankfully, Updater also allows you to choose to be notified of updates before they’re applied, meaning you can log in and make a backup of your site before any updates are installed.
There’s also an option to choose which plugins you want to have updated automatically, and simply leave the ones you’re not so sure of.
• Plugin Vulnerabilities
Rather than notifying you of available updates, Plugin Vulnerabilities is a plugin that checks your other plugins and informs you of any vulnerabilities.
This lets you log in and update any vulnerable plugins it noted, or inform the developer so they can rectify any issues.
If you keep forgetting to update your WordPress site, then these plugins can help you with managing your updates. They can also reduce any security risks by automatically updating security patches and informing you of any vulnerable plugins.
When updating manually, or using plugins such as Updater or Plugin Vulnerabilities, it’s always worth making a backup of your WordPress site – especially so if you set your plugins to update automatically.
Knowing how to update WordPress – be it manually, automatically, or a combination of both is an important aspect of ensuring your WordPress site runs smoothly. Updates ensure your site performs both efficiently and securely, which is important both for you and your visitors. You can maximise the security of your site by keeping your site updated with the latest versions of all plugins, themes and the version of WordPress you use and using strong passwords.