Now, we love WordPress and recommend it to all of our clients. It’s easy to use, flexible as hell and you don’t have to be a hardcore geek to update your own site.
What’s not to love about it?
Well when it comes to updating any program like WordPress, things can go wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
One feature of WordPress is “Automatic Update” where it will automatically update the core programming and any plugins for you whenever someone releases an update.
As tempting as this might be, I HIGHLY recommend NOT checking this feature and here’s why…
Just a few months back they released an update and there was an issue with one of the plugins we use. It broke our entire site.
No one could access their courses, things were showing that shouldn’t have. It was a mess.
Come to find out the update was released and caused conflicts with a bunch of plugins people use all the time. Not just the membership plugin we use.
Everyone was scrambling to find a fix and all the plugin developers were trying to figure out the issue so they could patch things up. They had support tickets and complaints for miles.
All because one change in WordPress broke their plugins.
Within a few days, WordPress released another update that fixed most of the issues but in the mean time everyone was freaking out.
Luckily, we run backups of our stuff and were able to go back to a previous version. Things were running like usual for us pretty quickly, but a lot of people don’t have that set up for their own sites.
This is why I don’t recommend automatic upgrades and why you shouldn’t upgrade immediately. I’m all for automation but not when things can go seriously wrong like that.
So, what should you do?
Here’s how I recommend taking care of these things…
First, make sure you have a great backup system in place for your site. My personal favorite is Backup Creator. I can backup a site in seconds and restore in less than 5 minutes if something goes seriously wrong.
Before you do any updates, run a backup.
Then if something does go wrong you can update it pretty quickly.
This is a good idea any time you’re making any major changes to your site.
Second, when a new version of WordPress comes out (or any major plugin you use such as a membership plugin, theme, etc…) give it a week or two before upgrading.
This gives them time to find any bugs and create a patch for them if needed.
I’ve found that by just giving that extra week keeps me from playing “beta user” to their new toys and helps eliminate the stress and frustration that comes from “programming gone bad.”
Once you do actually upgrade your site (core, themes, plugins, etc…) run through your site. Test it out on a couple of different browsers (and tablets!). This way you can catch any issues pretty quickly to make sure everything seems to be working right.
Test playing a few of your videos if you have them.
Log in as a member if you’ve got a membership site.
Optin to your freebie.
Make sure that everything seems to be working like it should.
If it’s not, you can restore it pretty quickly.
I’ve had one plugin that once we upgraded all of my videos stopped playing. I had to dig up an old version of that plugin in order to make sure everything worked like it was supposed to.
I now know that particular plugin has a conflict and until I know it’s cleaned up, I’ll stick with the older version. (If I had automatic updates turned on, I’d keep running in to the same issue every time it upgraded.)
And of course, once you’ve tested it and everything seems to be running well, run a second backup (making sure you have the first one still). That way you know it’s clean and works fine.
Again, it’s better to have a backup you know works to restore from than to have something break and take hours trying to fix the issue.
Updates and upgrades are great. Most are designed to be more efficient and to plug security holes but sometimes they don’t go as planned and cause more issues than they had before.
You really do need to keep up to date but… don’t be in too much of a rush and be sure to back up just in case something doesn’t go as planned.
Sidenote: As the business owner, it’s hard to keep up to date with what’s going on in the WordPress world and when things go wrong your site breaking can take a huge toll on you.
That’s why we’ve created a maintenance & backup service for our friends and clients. We’ll update your plugins and such, back up the site AND test to make sure everything runs like it should for you. It’s only $27/month and makes sure you’ve got offsite backups AND your site is upgraded as needed without the worry that something might go wrong.
Go here to check it out and sign up today:
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