Update WordPress securely

Afbeelding Update WordPress securely

Developers are constantly working on WordPress and that is why updates appear regularly. These updates are there to fix errors in the code and to introduce new functionalities. But why are updates important to perform? And what should you do if a new update is available? In this blog we explain everything about updating your WordPress website safely.

Why are updates important?

WordPress websites are generally safe to use. Even a lot safer than the regular CMS systems. However, that does not mean that you do not have to do anything more when it comes to the security of your WordPress website. If you do not perform regular updates, you run security risks, which can cause your website to become infected or hacked.

When are you in danger?

If you don’t update, the dangers are going to arise. The danger arises already at the following points:

  1. The CMS of your WordPress is outdated.
  2. The PHP version is no longer updated.
  3. Themes and plugins have not been updated for too long and come from unreliable sources.
  4. If you have a weak password for WordPress, as well as for FTP and hosting.

To keep your WordPress website safe, it is therefore important to update regularly. This is not difficult, but there are a number of things that you have to take into account.

What should I do if there is an update?

If an update is available for WordPress itself, you will receive a notification on your dashboard. At the top of the page you will see the following message: WordPress [versie] is available! Update now. To start the update procedure, all you have to do is click on ‘update now’. Then wait for the process. Sometimes nothing seems to happen, or the screen turns white for a moment, but then try not to end the process. Be patient, this update almost always goes well. After updating, a page opens on which you can see what has been adjusted. After that, you can continue working in WordPress.

Securely update WordPress in steps

We just discussed what to do if an update is available, but it is also possible to start an update yourself. We’ll take you step by step.

  1. Start updating with backups

    Before you start updating, always make two backups: a backup of your WordPress CMS files (these are on the server of your hosting party) and of your PHP / MySQL database. There are several plugins with which you can make automatic backups of your WordPress website. If something goes wrong during the update, you will always have a backup available due to a backup and virtually no data will be lost.

    Don’t just make WordPress backups when you update, but do this at least once a month. If your WordPress website is very large and has many different functionalities, then it is even better to do a weekly or even daily update.

  2. Plugin updates

    Make sure that all plugins are updated regularly. As a result, the functionalities of the plugins continue to work well and do not pose any risks of intrusion. Update the plugins one by one. After the update is complete, visit your website and see if everything is still working properly. Then move on to the next plugin. It takes a little more time, but it’s worth it when it comes to the security of your website.

    Are there any unused plugins in your list? Remove all these unused plugins. Just deactivating plugins is not enough. In addition, it is important to always check the reviews, popularity and the frequency on which plugins are updated, so you can avoid installing an unsafe plugin. Finally, we recommend that you keep the number of plugins to a minimum. Plugins are ideal, but they can also affect the performance of your website. So only install plugins if you actually need them for your website.

  3. Update themes

    A WordPress theme is a very important part of your website. It determines what your website looks like and how your content is displayed. That is why it is important to keep the theme up-to-date and to make all functionalities work properly.

    Before you install a theme, it is wise to investigate whether the theme is actively updated. Check the reviews of active users and the information about the theme and the creators. Also, not all plugins are compatible with certain themes, so always pay attention to this.

  4. Manage the different WordPress accounts

    It often happens that several users work on a WordPress website. To maintain an overview, it is important to remove inactive users. Also, make sure that all active users use a secure password and also change it regularly. A good password consists of at least ten characters, both capital letters and numbers and symbols. Usually you get the indication: weak, medium and strong.

  5. Optimize the database

    The database is a place where all your files are stored. From blog posts to images, and downloads to page revisions. The more content you post, the more your database becomes flooded with data. This can lead to hugely slowed down website performance. To prevent this, it is important to optimize the database. This can be done, for example, with WP Optimize or via PHPMyAdmin.

  6. Check the website

    This last step is often skipped, but it is wise to always check your WordPress website after an update. Something can always have gone wrong. In addition to technical malfunctions, the website can also function differently after an update. So check your homepage, a recent post, a comment box and the operation of your menus and sidebars. If something does not work, you can now immediately try to find the cause. If you do this later, it will be a much more complicated process.

WordPress backups

If everything seems to be fine, then it also makes sense to make a new backup. You never know if and when someone will hack your website, so you better do too many backups than too few. Then save the backups in different places, for example on your computer and on an external hard drive. This way you always have access to a backup, even if your computer suddenly breaks down or loses your hard drive. For this, a WordPress maintenance package is a solution for every WordPress user. We then arrange all backups and updates, so you can be busy with your work.

Keep your website secure and up-to-date

We hope we’ve made the importance of updating WordPress clear to you. By using the most recent version of WordPress and updating it when a new version is available, you keep your WordPress website as secure as possible and at least make it a lot more difficult for the hackers. And that will work to your advantage, because there are plenty of other websites that are less well or not secure.

Outsource WordPress updates

Don’t you want to constantly worry about the security of your WordPress website? Outsource the maintenance of your website! View here which maintenance package suits your website or contact us by telephone on 030 20 72 488. We are happy to help!

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