Why is it that those tiny red notification bubbles indicating WordPress plugin updates are available freak us out so much?
In my business, we have provided website maintenance services to thousands of WordPress websites. We stand firm on our stance to only update WordPress plugins when there is a significant security loophole to patch or if it will bring further enhancements to the website.
Here’s why –
Remember, most WordPress users, especially business owners that make the occasional blog or news update, small e-commerce shop owners who manage their orders, etc., simply want a functional website. Seeing the constant update required notification pushes the average user far out of their comfort zone.
Aside from scaring the pants off of website owners, these minor plugin updates make the user feel as if the website requires massive updates or repairs literally at all times, which is not the case.
In most cases, blindly batch applying plugin updates across the board is a sure-fire way to jack up your website, making it unusable.
What are plugins?
The first question is what WordPress is? WordPress can be looked at as an open-source platform to build websites. Done.
As for plugins, these are third-party “convenience” modules to extend the functionality of WordPress.
When your website plugins need updating, the biggest question is — will this be compatible with my current website theme and installation of WordPress?
If you can not answer this question, you should retain a complete backup of your website before making blind plugin updates. If you don’t know how to obtain a full backup, you can request a backup from your web hosting provider.
Is it really this serious?
No. Most of the time, you are safe to update the occasional plugin(s); however, when you have 10+ or 20+ plugin updates to apply, I recommend using caution before updating said plugins.
What are your thoughts about the best practices when updating WordPress plugins?