I’m sure you’ve all seen it…that little notification when you login to your WordPress dashboard telling you that there is an update available.
Should I update? Will it mess my site up? What if things with my design get thrown out of whack when I update?
While those are all legitimate questions and possibilities, the likelihood that it will happen is extremely rare. And if you know how to update properly, then it should not be of any real concern for you or for your site.
There’s one key rule to updating your WordPress site: Always Have a Backup!
You should never, ever make any changes to your site (whether it’s an update, changes to your stylesheet or codes, etc.) without first having some kind of backup of your theme files. Web coding is a very sensitive thing and even the slightest error can crash an entire site. Back when I first started “attempting” web design, I thought I could change some code in my site safely without messing it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a backup or a copy of my files and I ended up losing not only design, but content as well from my mistake.
Always have a copy of your files on hand, somewhere.
Updating is also key to keep your site secure and free from hackers and spam bots. Whenever there is an update, either to WordPress itself or to Genesis (the framework we build our themes off of), it’s available because there needs to be updated security measures. There are hackers all over the internet who would love nothing more than to get into your site and steal your images, your content and in extreme cases personal information (like credit card numbers and such). You should always update your theme(s) and WordPress when they offer it as an option.
With web design and publishing comes a pretty steep learning curve because things are always changing. When I was in design full time, before joining the Team at Restored 316, I thought I had it all figured out. Then Mobile Responsive Design came along…and so did Parallax…and now there’s HTML5 (all web code terms and techniques in case you aren’t familiar with the jargon) and it threw me for a loop. It’s an ever changing internet and with change, comes updates to make the internet and the world of online publishing work quicker and more efficiently for you.
So, how do I actually update my site?
It’s really quite simple! As simple as pushing a button (or two) and letting the internet do it’s thing. There’s a few quick steps…
- First, you’re going to save a copy of your theme and your files. Whether you do it via a WordPress plugin like BackupBuddy or one of the free ones offered through JetPack like Vaultpress…you must have a backup. Some hosting companies offer this by default with your hosting package, so check with them if you aren’t sure!
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
- When you login, you will see if there is an update available because they will showcase it in red or put a nice box around it so that it stands out.
- You’ll just want to click update and then when you get to the next screen, click update again!
- Once you do, you’ll get the notification that you’ve been updated and all of the new features and security measures are running on your site to keep your content safe!
Another thing to remember with updating is that plugins often need updating, too. You’ll see plugins that need an update because they will be designated with a Red Box around them and a notice that it’s time to update.
It’s important to make these updates to keep your site running smoothly and quickly. One out of date plugin can slow down an entire site and even cause major issues in functionality. I’ve seen whole sites be unmanageable just because of one out of date plugin.
If you have any questions about whether you should update something or run into problems with an update, feel free to contact our Support Team and we’d be happy to help you figure it out!
Spread the word!