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How to Better Manage Automatic WordPress Updates

Are you looking for a way to automatically manage WordPress updates? Updates are important for security and stability of your WordPress site. In this article, we will show you how to better manage automatic WordPress updates.

How to Better Manage Automatic WordPress Updates

Why Do You Need Better Automatic Updates in WordPress?

By default WordPress can automatically update itself when a security or minor release is available. You’d have to use a plugin or code to enable automatic updates for major releases.

Since the release of WordPress 5.5, you can also choose to automatically update any of your plugins or themes, too.

Keeping your WordPress site updated is extremely important. See our guide on why you should always use the latest version of WordPress.

Same goes for all plugins and themes installed on your website. You need to install updates for themes and plugins to get new features and fixes.

However, you may have noticed that some of them are updated more frequently than others. A lot of popular plugins are updated almost weekly.

WordPress updates

Some users find it a bit annoying that whenever they login there are new updates available for one or more plugins, WordPress core, or theme. It becomes even more time consuming when you manage multiple WordPress sites.

That’s why many users want to have WordPress automatically install updates for WordPress core, trusted plugins, and themes.

But while WordPress now lets you do this without a plugin, you still don’t have full control over your auto updates.

Let’s see how you can take total control of WordPress and minimize the time spent on installing updates.

Setting up Easy Updates Manager

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Easy Updates Manager plugin. This plugin gives you complete control over customizing your updates, and also keeps logs of what is updated and when.

For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Dashboard » Updates Options page to set up the plugin.

Easy Updates Manager Plugin

This page provides you quick access to turn off updates for WordPress core, plugins, themes, translations, etc. The default settings here are recommended for all WordPress site owners.

We strongly recommend not to turn off updates for WordPress core, plugins, or themes. It will seriously compromise your site’s security and health.

Setting Up Automatic Updates for WordPress, Plugins, and Themes

Easy Updates Manager allow you to quickly enable automatic updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes.

Go to the plugin’s settings page and scroll down to see all the automatic update options.

Managing auto updates in WordPress

Here you can quickly turn on automatic updates for core, plugins, or themes. Simply click on enable and then click on save changes button to store your settings.

This plugin also allows you to selectively turn on automatic updates for some plugins or themes. If you would like to selectively turn on automatic updates, then click on ‘Select Individually’ next to the Automatic Plugin Updates option.

Set Automatic Updates for Select Plugins and Themes

If you selected to individually enable automatic updates for few plugins, then you need to switch to the plugins tab under plugin settings.

Enable automatic updates for individual plugins

Here you will see a list of all plugins installed on your WordPress site. Below each plugin, you will find a link to enable automatic updates for that plugin.

Switch to the Themes tab, and you will see a list of themes installed on your site.

Select which themes to automatically update

Simply click on enable automatic updates for themes that you want to be automatically updated.

How to Rollback to a Previous Version of Plugin or Theme After Update?

Plugin or theme incompatibilities is the major reason why some users are hesitant when it comes to updating. Even though most good developers thoroughly test their plugins, there can still be bugs that can cause your site to break.

The first step you should take to protect your website is to install a WordPress backup solution.

However, restoring your WordPress site from a backup can be a lot of work. If you know what plugin or theme update caused the problem, then it would be easier to just rollback the update.

Here is how you can easily rollback plugin or theme updates.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.

Upon activation, go back to the plugins page on your WordPress site. You will notice a new Rollback option below each plugin installed on your site.

Rollback plugin updates

Clicking on Rollback will allow you to rollback your plugin to any previous version you want. It can also rollback theme updates. For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to rollback WordPress plugins.

We hope this article helped you find a better way to manage automatic WordPress updates on your site. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog

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5 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I agree with Mara to have the test before update, I manage many websites for my clients, I also worry about the auto update to the sites without notice, I can’t visit all the sites everyday and see any site is being broke down due to the update.

    I also agree update to latest version of the core, plugins and themes are must, I always think about whether it is wise to do auto update, I did experience one of my clients’ site was broke down due to the update, it took me several hours to find out the problem but still got complaint from client.

    What I am looking for, I prefer to have a staging website to ensure there is bug free if I update all the things before migrating to production site, at least clients won’t complain me about the site is broke and ask for compensation if there is SLA applied.

    Is there any health check plugins that can help to monitor all my WP sites and state all the version of WP core, plugins and themes for every sites in a summary table? if so, I can simply review the summary everyday and know how which site is necessary to have the update. I am sure this kind of plugins can help a lot of website developers. Does WPBeginner have such article?

    Auto update is good to protect the site if the ownership of the site is the guy who maintain it, otherwise it is an incubus to the developer when the site break down and suddenly a call to the developer while he/she is on holiday.

    Best regards,

    Kelvin.

  2. Very dangerous and sloppy suggestions in this post. Anyone with the least bit of experience with WordPress knows you always, ALWAYS test the plugin updates first before updating on a live site! And that goes double for themes.

    “What to do if you’re updating?

    If you are installing an update of a plugin, any plugin, – especially when you have a webshop or are otherwise making money from your site – you should always test the new version first on a staging environment. Be aware of plugins with very little users and of plugins developed by people with limited WordPress experience. Of course, this plugin may just have the exact functionality you need, but these plugins will come with a higher risk of compatibility issues.”

    https://yoast.com/honest-truth-plugin-testing/

    Keeping WordPress core, plugins and themes updated is critical – but not something that should be done *blindly*, and using a plugin that does the updating for you is about as blind as it gets.

    And since your site is geared towards WordPress beginners, what havoc will be created when this automatic updater plugin you’re recommending updates all and there’s a plugin incompatibility that causes the site to crash?

    A beginner wouldn’t know how to fix that, they’ll just panic and blame their web host. And when the web host asks “What plugins have you recently updated?” (if the web host assists at all with a WordPress issue), the website owner will answer “I dunno….” Because they *don’t know.* They didn’t personally do the update, so they’re completely in the dark.

    Are you guys in such a hurry to churn out content that you’ve thrown good sense out the window? I’ve long recommended this site to my clients who are “WordPress n00bs”, but I think I’m going to have to stop that. Lately you seem to be more interested in churning out quantity rather than quality.

    • Hi Mara,

      Thank you for leaving this comment. I really appreciate all user feedback.

      I definitely agree that it’s important to test the plugin updates before you push it live. However, the reality is majority of beginners DO NOT have a staging website or a local environment to do “testing”. Even the intermediate DIY users do not have a proper workflow to test updates / tweaks.

      As for the issue with web host support, a capable tech support person can easily look into the changelog to see what was updated recently.

      Our goal at WPBeginner is to show user’s what’s possible and highlight the pros / cons. That’s why in this article, we have the section for Rollback which states: “Plugin or theme incompatibilities is the major reason why some users are hesitant when it comes to updating.”

      Having helped as many WordPress users as we have, the case often is beginners setup their business website with WordPress and then go about doing their day to day business stuff (maintaining website isn’t one of those things).

      Overtime, you have websites that are running older versions of WordPress core, plugins, and themes with security vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited.

      This solution helps one pick and choose which plugins they want to auto-update or not. Maybe they just want to auto-update WordPress core’s major releases. Or maybe they can just use this plugin to get an email notification when a plugin or theme update is available.

      We never put out content for the sake of putting out content. Majority of our content is derived from user questions that we get through our contact form.

      As always, I appreciate you recommending folks to our helpful tutorials and I hope you’ll continue to do so in the future.

      Admin

  3. Great tips on managing updates and plugins. I use WordPress for my blogging site and the tutorials on WP can confusing. Thanks for the post!

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