While most people are excited about WordPress updates, some are always confused or skeptical when it comes to updating their sites. They think that updating to the latest WordPress release may break their sites. But that is not true because every update is made to make your website load faster, secure, and more friendly.
Let s look at some of the consequences of not updating your WordPress website and how to update it safely.
1. Security issues
The main reason why you need to keep your WordPress website up to date is security.WordPress runs about 33% of the websites in the world. In addition, it holds the biggest market share of 67% of the websites running on CMS. Due to this popularity, WordPress has become a target by all sorts of malicious code distributors, hackers wannabe hackers, and data thieves.
Since this CMS is open-source, anyone can easily learn how it works and can suggest some changes to the developers or even modify it themselves. When security flaws are discovered, the WordPress team quickly fixes that problem and roll out an update as soon as possible. So the biggest consequence is that you are going to miss on these security updates hence leaving your site vulnerable to spammers, hackers, and malicious code distributors.
2. Speed issues and Website lagging
The WordPress team is always trying to make the platform as fast as possible. So every new update comes with a few elements fixed to make your site a bit faster. For instance, they can fix the navigation menus and JS performance.
If you are using an aged version of WordPress, then that means that your site is missing on speed. Besides that, your site can malfunction because the old versions miss out on the essential bug fixes. Old plugins and themes can also increase the website loading time hence making the visitors lose interest. High response/loading time leads to high bounce rates because of poor customer engagement.
3. You miss out on the cool new features
This is a big loss to you rather than a consequence. Every new update comes with some new cool features designed to improve both you and your users’ experience. Furthermore, your competitors can catch up with you if they always implement updates faster. This is because the new features give them a competitive advantage that allows them to serve customers flawlessly.
Sometimes the new features can be so little for you to notice, but they are always important. Besides, you will get sed used to the updates quicker when you update often. If you update after several updates, let’s say six months, it will take you some time trying to understand the new features.
4. Incompatibility problems
The WordPress CMS consists of more than four components. Although the core software is created by the WordPress team, the other components, such as themes and plugins, are created by third parties. So each time WordPress releases an update, then the developers of the third-party apps quickly release their updates, too, in order to be compatible with the new version.
Hence, some old versions of the themes and plains will stop working. This usually happens because the compatibility of the software doesn’t match with the past releases. Thus it becomes hard to update these apps until you update WordPress first. If you try to install any themes or plugins, then they will start malfunctioning immediately.
So to avoid that, you need to update WordPress to the latest version. Then you can install all the other components that you want, and they will work properly.
5. Loss of data
like it or not, you will update your website at some point for it to remain active. But if you have missed several updates, then your website might lose very important data. Making a sudden update after missing major updates on your site is very dangerous and can break your website. So if you want your data to remain intact, then you better install new updates as soon as they are released. Also, backing up your data is highly recommended before you start making any changes.
6. No online support
When new updates are released, most users and developers shift their discussions. This leaves the old versions with little or no one to help you fix the bugs that you may be experiencing. But if you move along with them, then finding answers to your issues will become very easy. However, if you are left behind by so many updates, then you need to do extensive research with little or no help, which is annoying.
7. Fall in SEO rankings
Some of the ranking factors, such as speed and security, are directly affected by WordPress websites. Older versions are more likely to be slow hence affecting your SEO. If this happens, then it means that your website’s traffic will drop hence affecting your business negatively.
Even if you have amazing content, your rankings are going to drop because you are running on a slow and vulnerable version of WordPress.
Besides, the search engines might blacklist your websites if hackers succeed. All these issues can be avoided by updating your site as soon as the updates are released.
8. Technological issues
If you are running on old scripts, then you are bound to face more technological issues. Apart from incompatibility and slow loading speed, there are many other issues that will yo will face. Besides, you cannot enhance or optimize your website for reputational purposes as it’s required. Now you have an idea of the things to expect when you fail to update your website.
How to update your WordPress site safely
The main reason why people fail to update their websites is that they do not have a safe way to do it. For example, some people are afraid that they might experience server errors, while others are afraid of losing their data. However, there is a safe method for you to do this without having to worry about losing or breaking anything.
The safest way to try out new updates on your WordPress website is by staging. This creates an exact replica of your website live. You can try out the new updates on this replica, and they won’t affect the main site. So you don’t have to worry about b botched updates.
Staging can be done using a plugin in a short time. It allows you to test new updates, experiment with new content, and also trying out new designs and layouts.
We also recommend backing p your site before making any big changes. Hence you can restore your website to your previous restore point in case anything goes wrong. Once you take these two measures, then you will never have to worry about incompatibility issues or botched updates.
Let’s face it; there is no need to ignore updates because you will install them someday. Otherwise, if you fail to update, then you need to be prepared for the consequences. For example, the loading speed, hackers trying to steal your information, drop in traffic, loss of data, and lots of incompatibility issues.