How To Update WordPress Securely Each Time

Updating WordPress is vital to keeping your website practical and safe, but updates can hinder customizations or perhaps break your website.

That’s why, in this post, we cover the 5 factors to consider you ought to keep in mind when it comes to setting up WordPress updates. Follow these and you’ll be able to upgrade each time without harming your site’s performance!

1. Back Up Your Site Routinely (and Before Upgrading Anything).

To avoid any worry of an upgrade hurting your site, make sure to back up your site before you set up any updates. You’re spoilt for choice with alternatives on this front.

Our first suggestion would be VaultPress if you’re looking for perhaps the quickest and simplest solution. Established by none besides the folks at Automattic, it’s a slick and full-featured premium remote backup solution that’s a cinch to setup and use.

Speaking of remote backup options, that’s the only type we suggest. There’s little point in supporting to your server if some sort of deadly mistake destroys both your site and its backup( s). If you’re a Dropbox fan, take a look at our suggested compatible backup services.

There are lots of other options– both complimentary and premium– and we’ve featured the most popular here. And in the interests of efficiency, if you feel the need to carry out a manual backup at any time, the WordPress Codex has you covered.

2. Use WP Safe Updates to Test Plugin Updates.

Because of the myriad mixes of designers, variation compatibilities, and quality assurance, plugins are often the source of upgrade disputes.

Developer Antti Kuosmanen has created a new plugin called WP Safe Upgrades that lets you test plugin updates in a ‘sandbox’ environment. This allows you to identify potential upgrade disputes before they have the opportunity to be a problem on your live site.

In practice, WP Safe Updates adds a brand-new Test Update button that appears when a plugin upgrade is readily available. Clicking this button lets you preview any changes the plugin makes before dedicating to them. WP Safe Updates will show exactly how the updates will act on your actual website when you do things like creating brand-new posts or changing settings.

Please note that setting up WP Safe Updates requires modifying a percentage of your website’s code– instructions for which are readily available in the Installation area of the plugin’s Plugin Directory page.

While WP Safe Updates is a promising option to a typical WordPress updates disappointment, you should know that the plugin is still in its alpha variation. It might not be entirely reputable in its functionality. That being said, we do suggest WordPress Safe Updates to anyone worried about plugin updates hindering their site’s performance.

3. Utilize a Child Theme.

Probably WordPress’ most significant selling point is its customizability by means of themes and plugins. With great power comes fantastic duty, and when making tweaks to your website’s style, you need to make sure that you do so responsibly.

It’s appealing to make customizations by editing your style’s PHP or CSS files straight, but you should refrain from doing so for 2 factors:.

There’s a risk of getting the feared “white screen of death” due to one misplaced bracket or semicolon.
Modifications you make to the initial theme files are impermanent (i.e. updating your site’s style will overwrite them).
To prevent both these issues, you ought to always use a child style to tailor any of your site’s code. Kid styles are easy to produce, and they allow you to experiment to your heart’s content.

4. Evaluation Style, Plugin, and Core Update Changelogs for Conflicts.

Before you install any upgrade, we advise that you read its changelog for prospective disputes. Keeping up to speed with what’s new in the most recent version of any given style, plugin, or core update is useful in and of itself, however beyond that, you’re trying to find any modifications that may interfere with your distinct setup and customizations.

For instance, if you’re using custom CSS to customize the appearance of a plugin-generated contact form, you need to ensure the upgrade doesn’t alter any of the CSS IDs or classes that your custom-made code uses.

Where to find the changelog will depend on what you’re updating.

For plugins downloaded from, the changelog is one of the offered tabs on the plugin’s Plugin Directory site page.

For styles, you must speak with the style designer’s website. Default WordPress themes such as Twenty Sixteen have their changelog offered within the WordPress Codex. All quality styles– free or paid– must consist of a changelog.

For updates to WordPress core, a total changelog of every variation to this day is available in the Codex.

Evaluating the changelog for possible disputes is key to making sure that any WordPress updates go efficiently.

5. Never Ever Test Updates on a Live Site.

To ensure the user experience isn’t really interrupted by an upgrade gone wrong, you need to never ever check updates on a live site. Following this basic guideline will conserve you an awful lot of headaches gradually.

There are numerous options for testing WordPress updates beyond your live site. The one you select will depend on your hosting solution, your technical ability, and the magnitude of the update. Alternatives include:.

Create a WordPress staging website through your webhosting. The precise information will depend on your hosting supplier, but managed hosting services such as WP Engine, FlyWheel, and Pressable all make this possible.
Test updates with a plugin such as WP Staging. If an upgrade breaks the test site, your live website will remain unscathed.
Test updates in a regional development environment containing a carbon copy of your website. For more details, have a look at our guides to creating a local development environment on a Mac and in Windows.
Using any of the above choices will enable you to check updates and straighten out the kinks prior to going live. A staging site is my personal option; to find out more, check out our guide to developing a WordPress staging website.


It’s one thing understanding how important updating WordPress is, however having the self-confidence to set up updates without the worry of potential conflicts arising is something else entirely. With this post, you have the option.

Follow the easy rules below to ensure that WordPress updates on your live website( s) effectively each time:.

  • Back up your website routinely (and prior to updating).
  • Test plugin updates with WP Safe Updates.
  • Make all theme personalizations in a kid style.
  • Evaluation upgrade changelogs before applying them.
  • Never ever evaluate updates on a live website.