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Update your blog, or pay the consequences!

Don't forget to update your blog

WordPress has been doing a lot of updates recently.

This is because not only do they need to make sure their users have the latest gizmos and gadgets, but also to make sure our blogs are safe.

Since October 2013 WordPress has been updated 6 times in its major format:

WordPress updates

And there have been lots of little updates in between to make sure things are topped up.

The latest chance to update your blog to WordPress 4.2.1 happened only recently. They say on their blog that it is due to “a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately”.

Some people are lucky enough to get their updates done automatically, usually for the minor updates. But all the major ones to require a manual update.

When did you last update your blog?

You can easily see when you have to update your blog. Look at the top of your left sidebar and WordPress will tell you how many updates are ready and waiting to be activated:

Showing when you need to update your blog

And this is an indicator for you to investigate what needs doing.

If you don’t regularly update your blog, which includes not only WordPress, but also your plugins and themes, you could be leaving yourself wide open to hackers.

Also you may find that you won’t be able to perform simple functions you could do before.

Like updating your ‘Customise’ options under ‘Appearance’ or even the ability to upload images into your posts and other editing facilities.

Help, my blog has gone all funny!

Before you cry down the phone to your web developer, take a look to see whether anything needs updating or not.

It’s always a good idea to try and work things out yourself before you resort to specialist help.

Here’s a cry for help I saw this morning:

Julia's cry for helpJulia's cry for help

Of course I knew exactly what was going on here, because I had experienced similar problems before.

It’s always a good idea to explore the most basic remedies before launching into more complicated possibilities.

A bit like making sure the plug is fully in the socket when your washing machine stops going round.

Alice's suggestion to update

Now I know how nerve-wracking it is to do things like updating. This is probably why so many blogs are not updated on a regular basis.

There is always this feeling that you may blow up your blog…

Julia attempting to update

And after a long wait, I finally got this response:

Julia's relief

When I knew everything was OK again.

Updating is a scary business

Even I have a knot in my stomach when I update my blog. But it has to be done!

Once you’ve entered your Updates page, you will see whether WordPress, your plugins or your themes need to be updated.

WordPress needs updating!

And if your WordPress is not automatically updated for you, this is the first update you should do.

There is a reminder to backup your blog. This is very wise.

Sometimes things can go a bit funny with an update. Only sometimes. So it’s best to be safe with a backup ready to be restored should the worst happen.

Go ahead and click that blue ‘Update Now” button!

Once an eternity has passed, you will first see a message from WordPress telling you what is included in this latest update.

Unless you’re techie enough to understand what all this means, I would accept that your blog is now much safer.

Go back to the ‘Updates’ page (underneath ‘Dashboard’ in the left sidebar) to reassure yourself WordPress is now up to date:

WordPress is updated

This is a good thing to see!

But there are still the plugins and the themes to update!

Plugins that need to be updated

Click on the ‘Select All’ box to tick everything at the same time:

Select All box for your plugins

And click that ‘Update Plugins’ button!

Whirr, whirr, whirr.

Once everything has finished, you’ll get this notification:

Plugins update completed

Yay!

Now for the themes. Go back to the ‘Updates’ page:

Themes needing to be updated

And do the honours!

If your theme is any good, you will get plenty of update notices. It is wise to keep it up to date, or you may find things don’t happen as well as they should.

Now you should see this gratifying sight:

Everything is updated!

And you’ve managed to fully update your blog and it is ready to go!

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.

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  • Magdalena says:

    This is so true – updating your wp can save you a headache later. It’s amazing how many people don’t do this. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Yeah, WordPress does show a backup reminder at the top next to its latest WP update.

    If your hosting account has a backup facility, you should take it up. It’s much easier to reinstate a backup at the source than from your desktop or elsewhere. Go and check out what is available to you, or get the chappies there to do a backup for you.

    Otherwise, there are various plugins you can use, paid and unpaid. The best paid version I’ve been recommended is VaultPress, as it offers an easy restoration service. But I’m sure there are others, so do a bit of research to find the one that best suits you.

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