WordPress plugins are what make WordPress so robust, allowing you to integrate a wide range of front-end and back-end functionality with just a few clicks.
But if you aren’t actively updating those plugins, then you’re putting your site at risk.
Keeping your plugins updated does more than simply add new features from the developer. It keeps your site alive.
1) Patching security vulnerabilities
The single most important reason to update your WordPress plugins is to keep your site secure.
Plugins make WordPress so easy to use. But even the best ones can have major security vulnerabilities from time to time. Reputable developers patch those vulnerabilities as soon as they’re known, releasing a new update soon after.
In a worst-case scenario, a failure to update your plugin could lead to your site being hijacked – leaving you with nothing unless you have a backup.
- Remember: Even your disabled plugins can have security problems. Remove the plugins you don’t need, so you’re only using ones that are active and up to date.
2) Compatibility with WordPress
When new WordPress versions are released, it can create incompatibility issues with some plugins. Depending on the plugin’s purpose, this could cause a wide range of potential problems:
- Your site may not load properly
- The design may be messed up
- Site features may not work
- Back-end functionality may no longer work in your dashboard
- New security vulnerabilities could be created
Complicating matters, WordPress often updates its versions automatically. So your plugins may break and you might not know about it until much later, unless you’re constantly using your site.
Developers will often update their plugins soon after WordPress releases a new version. Even if there are no obvious incompatibility problems with the old versions, it’s still a good idea to update those plugins as soon as they’re released.
3) Fixing bugs
No plugin is perfect. And the more robust a plugin, the greater the odds of bugs.
If you aren’t actively updating your plugins, then they’re probably not working as well as they should. One of the most common reasons why new versions are released is to fix known bugs that have been discovered by users or the developers.
Admittedly, these can be minor issues, and you may not even be actively experiencing them. But when those bugs do surface, they can be extremely frustrating—especially if they’re creating problems on your website.
Whenever you encounter sudden problems on your site, there’s a good chance that a plugin needs to be updated. Try that first, so you can troubleshoot the problem further.
4) New features & functionality
That’s right. New bells and whistles added to a plugin are actually the least important reason to keep it updated, in contrast with potential security issues. But it’s still a big reason.
The best WordPress plugins are constantly being improved and loaded with new features, functionality or better performance. If you aren’t updating them, you could be missing out on improvements that would make your site better (and your life easier).
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