You’ve got your own website. You love it – it does everything you want it to do. It works beautifully and you are confident enough to make your own updates and changes to it, so you’re not on any service or maintenance plan with your developer.
But there’s a little red notification icon, sitting right there on your WordPress website dashboard. The number it shows seems to go up daily. Updates waiting to be run.
Important, no doubt, but you’re reluctant to run them. First, they take down your website while they’re running. When’s best to do them? What if your next customer is browsing, poised to buy, at the very moment you take down your site for “maintenance”?
And then – what if the worst happens, and the updates somehow crash your site altogether? Never mind a few minutes’ maintenance mode, you’ll have no operational site at all, until you can contact your developer and get them to help revive it.
So maybe you just don’t run them. But here’s why you really should – and how to beat the fear.
Firstly, the updates are vitally important for the security of your website. Big companies’ sites being hacked are the ones that hit the headlines, but there are thousands of attacks every day on websites of all sizes. They want your customers’ data, and if they can find a way in, they’ll exploit it. The updates are released by the developers of the software that form the building blocks of your site, and they are constantly moving with new techniques and technology to combat attempts to compromise sites.
Updates can also have important fixes to snags and issues that other users may have found with the software. Another excellent reason to keep on top of your updates is to make sure all of the building blocks are in the best shape they can be, to keep all the bits of your site running smoothly and doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
So how to beat the Updates Fear?
If you’re worried about downtime, have a look at your site stats and schedule your updates for when your users are least likely to be browsing. The best place to access your stats is Google Analytics, but you may also have a website plugin, such as Jetpack for WordPress, that can give you reports.
When you’ve decided on a good time, it’s an excellent idea to take a back-up of your site before you start, particularly if you change or add to the content regularly – or if you haven’t taken a back-up before. A plug-in such as All In One Migration for WordPress is a good option for doing this. Then you can be sure that if the worst happens, you’ll have a copy of your site downloaded ready to upload again if necessary.
When you begin, if you’re still feeling The Fear, try taking it one update at a time. As each one completes, start the next. That way if a problem does arise, you’ll be able to tell your developer which update it was that caused it.
So, face your fears and schedule some time every week or two to run those updates – your website (and ultimately your customers) will thank you for it.
Alternatively, you could sign up for a service and maintenance package, and I’ll do all your updates for you. One less thing to worry about: https://rlcwords.co.uk/web-support/