In this tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to update your WordPress website including your theme and plugins.
Why do you need to update your WordPress website?
Because WordPress is so popular it has become a target for hackers. So you must keep your WordPress version including the plugins and your theme up to date. To ensure the hackers can’t get in through vulnerable files. Not to mention your PHP on the server also. But we will talk about this in another tutorial.
Let’s get started
- The first thing you need to do is login to your WordPress dashboard.
- If you click on the updates link you will see if the site needs to be updated. See screenshot below.
- You will see a blue button that says – ‘update now’.
- But before you update anything, you need to make sure that there is a backup system in place.
- Usually cPanel (in your hosting account) will allow you to do daily backups. So make sure you check that first.
- If you don’t have cPanel backups then you can install a plugin.
- We recommend – UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
- Watch the video above to learn how to setup this backup plugin and how to check in cPanel for the backup system.
How to update WordPress
- Once you have backed up the site then you can safely click the ‘Update now’ button.
- Let the site do its thing, which should only take a couple of minutes.
- Once this is done you will see the new WordPress 5.8 graphics (or whatever version you have updated it to) load which explains what’s new in the latest version of WordPress.
- After the update, always go to the front view of the website and double check that everything looks normal.
- Then you can safely proceed to the next step which is updating the WordPress plugins.
How to update plugins
- The next thing we are going to do is update our plugins.
- So go back into the dashboard.
- Then click on the ‘Plugins’ panel.
- Always update one plugin at a time, because if something breaks and you do all of them at once, you’re not going to know which plugin broke the site.
- Once the plugin has finished updating you will notice a green tick. See screenshot below.
- Then you can safely update the next plugin.
Update the WordPress theme
- Once all your plugins are up-to-date. You can then proceed to the next step which is updating your WordPress theme/s.
- To do this you go the Appearance panel.
- You will see which themes need updating, as they will say – ‘Update now’. See screenshot below.
- Simply click the Update now link and wait until you get the green tick again. See screenshot below.
- Do one at a time.
- For security reasons, it’s good practice to have your main theme (and child theme if applicable) and one backup theme.
- Once that’s all finished make sure you check the front view of the website again to make sure everything looks normal.
- And that’s it.
WordPress theme tip
- Only have 2-3 themes.
- Your main theme and maybe the child theme (so 2 themes) – which is the active one.
- And a backup theme.
- The reason why you have a backup theme is just in case your main theme ever breaks, at least you have a backup theme that can put your content into some type of format instead of nothing at all.
- And another reason is you don’t have to update the themes that aren’t being used. Because if you forget, that’s another way hackers can get in through un-updated Themes.
To sum up
In this tutorial I have shown you how to update your WordPress website including plugins and Themes. Make sure you log into your WordPress website at least a couple of times (2-3) a month to do these updates. This will ensure that your website is kept safe from being hacked and will perform better.
Let us know in the comments if you need any help with updating your WordPress site.
Click the link for more information about our WordPress training
Web Designer/Trainer – Adv Dip, Dip, TAE
Jodi is a qualified WordPress Trainer and Designer with an Advanced Diploma in Digital Media (2D And 3D Animation, Web Development) and a Diploma in Web Development. She has been a Website Trainer at the Northern Beaches Community College since 2008 and a WordPress Tutor for NSW TAFE since 2016.
Jodi has developed several web design courses including, a WordPress Beginners Course and Build your own WordPress Website for small businesses. These courses will teach you how to update and manage your website ongoing. Giving website owners more control over their website, thus helping to keep costs down.
View Jodi’s credentials here.