Automatic Update in WordPress

WordPress will by default update itself when a security or minor release is available. For major releases, you have to run the update yourself. Plugins and themes also require manual updates. It is important especially for security reasons to keep your WordPress site updated. So also it is necessary to keep up with the latest version of plugins and themes installed on your website. You need to install updates for themes and plugins to get new features and bug fixes.

However, you may have noticed that some of them are updated more frequently than others. A lot of popular plugins are updated almost weekly.

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Two Different Update Types

Functional Updates

This type of update adds features and options to the WordPress core. It involves the major core updates. Functional updates are first offered as a beta and then the release version is made available.

Security Updates

This update type contains security or minor fixes that are set out to repair a vulnerability or bug in the WordPress core.

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WordPress Automatic Updates

For some WordPress users, it is a bit disturbing, annoying and time consuming to always check up available updates regularly to be in tune with latest and up-to-date releases. They wish updates could be automated. But applying automatic updates to all plugins, themes and WordPress core may not always be a wise decision. Let's look at the pros and cons.

The benefits of automatic updates are glaring from the foregoing. Besides keeping you secure with the latest version of software, it save you times especially when you have to manage multiple websites.

Automatic updates also have its downside. Basically, if you fall into one of the following groups, you may not want to allow automatic updates:

1. You have made customizations to the core of WordPress website. Any automatic updates to those core files will override and erase those customizations.

2. If you run third party (non-official WordPress.or) themes/plugins on your website. You wouldn't want to run the risk of your site updating beyond the compatibility of your theme and plugins. That will break up your site and can lead to serious security breach. It can even bring down your entire website.

It will be a better option to setup WordPress to automatically install updates for WordPress core, trusted plugins, and themes.

Let's see how you can take total control of WordPress and minimize the time spent on installing updates.

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Setting up Easy Updates Manager

First thing you need to do is to install and activate the Easy Updates Manager plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Dashboard; Updates Options page to set up the plugin.

Manage WordPress updates page

The plugin's settings page is divided into different tabs. You will land on the Dashboard tab which has three columns and two rows.

This page provides you quick access to turn off updates for WordPress core, plugins, themes, translations, etc. The default settings here are recommended for all WordPress site owners.

We strongly recommend not to turn off updates for WordPress core, plugins, or themes. It will seriously compromise your site's security and health.

Next, click on the General tab in plugin settings. This page provides you access to Enable or Disable WordPress updates globally on your site.

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Global update settings

Setting Up Automatic Updates for WordPress, Plugins, and Themes. Easy Updates Manager allow you to quickly enable automatic updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes.

Go to the plugin's settings page and click on General tab. After that scroll down to the automatic updates section.

Managing auto updates

Here you can quickly turn on automatic updates for Core, plugins, or themes. Simply click on enable and then click on save changes button to store your settings.

This plugin also allows you to selectively turn on automatic updates for some plugins or themes. If you would like to selectively turn on automatic updates, then click on Select Individually next to the Automatic Plugin Updates option.

Set Automatic Updates for Select Plugins and Themes

If you selected to individually enable automatic updates for few plugins, then you need to switch to the plugins tab under plugin settings.

Enable automatic updates for individual plugins

Here you will see a list of all plugins installed on your WordPress website. Below each plugin, you will find a link to enable automatic updates for that plugin.

Switch to the Themes tab, and you will see a list of themes installed on your site.

Select which themes to automatically update

Simply click on enable automatic updates for themes that you want to be automatically updated.

How to Rollback to a Previous Version of Plugin or Theme After Update

Plugin or theme incompatibilities is the major reason why some users are not willing to run automatic updates. Even though most good developers thoroughly test their plugins, there can still be bugs that can cause your site to break. It is suggested that you look up plugin reviews before you make a choice.

The first step you should take to protect your website is to install a WordPress backup solution.

However, restoring your WordPress site from a backup can be a lot of work. If you know what plugin or theme update caused the problem, then it would be easier to just rollback the update.

Here is how you can easily rollback plugin or theme updates.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.

Upon activation, go back to the plugins page on your WordPress site. You will notice a new Rollback option below each plugin installed on your site.

Rollback plugin updates

Clicking on Rollback will allow you to rollback your plugin to any previous version you want. It can also rollback theme updates

Hope this was helpful. Please let us have your comments.

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