Support » Installing WordPress » Maintenance of WordPress – updates of plugins / themes

  • itsmejay


    Hello everyone,

    I’m delighted to be part of the community. I’m a hobby PHP developer and this is the first time I’ve really used WordPress. Previously I have worked with some (also known) MVC frameworks. I have used WordPress as CMS once before and always updated all plugins that were installed regularly when the dashboard showed me. There were never any problems. The same applies to WordPress itself.
    And that’s exactly the point. Because that puzzles me. My main question is: How do I know if I can or should update a plugin (important) and/or theme that is displayed in the dashboard? Couldn’t it theoretically – if I simply update everything – lead to incompatibilities, e.g. between the PHP versions of the plugin and the current WordPress version, etc.? Or if a new update of WordPress is offered in the dashboard, can I simply update it, or can it be that suddenly no plugins work anymore? Is there a compatibility check somewhere in WordPress?

    What is the best practice for not having to worry about updates? If you use 15 plugins and one theme, it is difficult to always check every changelog to see if anything might be incompatible.

    Thank you!


Viewing 1 replies (of 1 total)
  • Moderator James Huff


    Volunteer Moderator

    First, always keep backups:

    Besides that, updates are not only generally safe with WordPress, they are strongly recommended as every update brings at least bug fixes if not security fixes for vulnarbilities that will become publicly known as soon as they are released.

    Theme updates can be destructive, so watch out for that. If you have a Block Theme and only make changes in the Site Editor, you’ll can safely update your theme. If you have a Classic Theme and have not separated your changes into a Child Theme, you’ll lose those changes as theme updates replace all theme files. I recommend using Block Themes with the Site Editor as they are both safe to update and a far better experience overall.

    PHP is the only other thing to watch out for. WordPress currently recommends PHP 7.4 or greater and just recently finished support for PHP 8.1, but that doesn’t mean we can gaurentee that your plugins or theme will support PHP 8.1.

    In short, always keep WordPress and your Plugins up to date, use a Block Theme and the Site Editor so you can safely always keep that up to date, be maybe one level behind the bleeding edge on PHP, and always keep backups so you can rollback if something goes wrong.

    You can also just switch on auto updates and let them do their thing. If the auto updater catches a failure, it’ll roll back on its own and let you know.

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