The Importance of Regular Updates on a WordPress Website

Imagine your website as a vibrant digital garden, attracting visitors to explore and engage with your content. Just like a garden, your website requires regular care and attention to thrive and remain healthy. Website maintenance acts as the gardener, ensuring the removal of weeds and fostering the online growth of your digital garden.

The four most important things to keep up to date with WordPress

To maintain a healthy garden, you water it regularly, replace the soil, remove weeds, and add fertilizer. Similarly, a WordPress website requires different types of regular maintenance:

  1. ​​WordPress Core: This is the essential software update that includes improvements, bug fixes, and new features provided by the WordPress development team, ensuring security, stability, and keeping up with the latest advancements.
  2. Plugins: These are pieces of software that can be added to your WordPress website to extend its functionality. Developers release updates to fix bugs, enhance functionality, and ensure compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.
  3. Themes: A software update released by theme developers to improve design, address issues, and ensure compatibility with the latest version of WordPress, enhancing the visual appearance and functionality of the website.
  4. PHP: Involves updating the underlying programming language used by the website’s hosting server, providing performance enhancements, security patches, and compatibility improvements to ensure smooth operation and optimal functionality.

Risks and Benefits

Neglecting to update your website poses risks to its security and overall health. Conversely, there are numerous benefits to keeping everything up to date, allowing your website to flourish:


Outdated software becomes a prime target for hackers who exploit known vulnerabilities. Failure to update WordPress, plugins, themes, and PHP increases the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware infections. Regular updates provide vital security patches, protecting your website from vulnerabilities and potential hacking attempts.

Compatibility and Functionality: 

Using outdated plugins, themes, or WordPress core may lead to compatibility conflicts. Incompatibility issues can result in broken functionality, layout inconsistencies, or even complete website crashes. Updates ensure that your plugins, themes, and WordPress core work seamlessly together, reducing conflicts and ensuring smooth functionality. Updates align your website with industry standards and best practices, ensuring adherence to security protocols, coding standards, and user expectations.

Performance and Speed: 

Outdated software may need to leverage the latest performance optimizations, leading to slower loading times and sluggish website performance. Ignoring updates can accumulate performance issues that degrade the user experience and hinder search engine rankings.  Updates often include performance optimizations, resulting in faster loading times and overall website efficiency.

New Features and Enhancements: 

Not updating deprives you of valuable new features, improvements, and functionality introduced in updated versions. Your website may fall behind in terms of user experience, design trends, and industry standards. Updates introduce exciting new features and enhancements, enhancing the user experience and providing advanced tools for website management.

Support and Bug Fixes:  

Software developers prioritize supporting the latest versions and may not address issues specific to outdated software. Not updating reduces your access to bug fixes and technical support, leaving you exposed to unresolved problems.


Outdated plugins, themes, or WordPress core can lead to instabilities, crashes, or unexpected errors. Operating on outdated software introduces unpredictability and compromises the overall stability of your website.


Regular updates prepare your website for future technologies and advancements, reducing the risk of major issues and maintaining its longevity.

Recent case in point: Elementor 

Even experienced gardeners use the most up-to-date tools to keep their gardens thriving. Similarly, plugin and theme authors constantly change their code to offer more features and improve functionality, necessitating the release of new versions. However, these new versions can introduce security vulnerabilities, prompting developers to release fixes to prevent website breakage.

Elementor, a highly rated and popular website building plugin, encountered a security vulnerability. Swift action was taken by its developers, who released an emergency fix in Elementor 3.11.7. Websites using Elementor version 3.11.6 or older were at risk. 

When the FirstTracks team was notified of this important fix we quickly rolled out the update on all of our clients’ sites. Unfortunately while checking our client list we found that two vulnerable Elementor sites were hacked, redirecting visitors to a phishing scam. We quickly resolved the issue and updated the vulnerable plugin. Neglecting to monitor and update plugins and themes can disrupt your website. No one wants dead plants in their garden, and no one wants a broken website.

Need help maintaining your Website?

At FirstTracks, our developers and website support team work diligently to keep our clients’ sites up to date and running smoothly. We follow a rigorous step-by-step process to update WordPress, plugins, and themes. We also conduct thorough testing after updates, including general site content checking and offer suggestions for website improvement.

If you need assistance updating your site and ensuring its optimal performance, contact us at 603-924-1978 or fill out our contact form to get a conversation started.

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