One of the BIG issues with WordPress - maybe the biggest - is that website may not be updated regularly, putting them at risk to hacking.
Business owners are often not taught how to do technical updates to their own websites and they don't want to pay for it themselves or don't even know that others will look after it for them.
Now WordPress 5.5 has been launched and with this release you are able to set plugins and themes to auto update - that is they will update themselves when a new update is available.
Before you break open the champagne and chocolates ( I know you want to) let me give you a few words of warning.
Auto updates are updates that will happen when a new version of a plugin or theme is released and that could be the middle of the night or the middle of the day. It could be the peak time when your customers are on your website. You won't be able to control the timing.
I always perform a website backup BEFORE I do any updates to my own or to my clients websites just in case. If something goes wrong, you'll never say well that backup was a waste to time!
For plugins, if you have a simple, blog type of website setting the auto updates could work for you because there is very little to go wrong and it doesn't matter to you when it happens.
If you have a more complicated website, with e-commerce or membership it becomes more complicated. What if the updates occur at the peak time that your customers are wanting to buy. What if something goes wrong? Will your customers tell you? I hate to tell you this but it's unlikely that customers will tell you if something is wrong with your website unless they either know you already, or really want your products. Most of the time they will find the product elsewhere on a website that works.
When it comes to themes it can be even more complicated. If you use a standard theme on your website and you've NOT made any customisations then it MAY be okay to do auto update on your website. Noticed I said MAY. It depends on how the customisations have been done. If they have been hard-coded into your files then they could be overwritten by an auto update or any update for that matter. There could be a major change to a theme that either doesn't work for your existing look and feel or that doesn't play well with other plugins or customisations.
Again with the auto updates a backup will not occur beforehand so if something does go wrong you can't easily restore what you had before.
For my clients on webcare plans I will NOT be turning on auto updates. I will be leaving them switched off and perform the updates manually so then I have control and I can take care of their websites - which is what they are paying me for.
Auto updates are switched off by default but you can switch them on individually for both plugins and themes.
This screen shot shows how to switch on auto updated for individual plugins.
Click on plugins in the left hand column, then installed plugins. Click on Enable auto-updates. That's it. It should now say Disable auto-updates.
This screenshot shows to enable auto updates for themes.
Click on appearance, theme and then hover over the theme to click on theme details. You should see the theme details window and you can click on Enable auto-updates.
If you're worried about maintaining your WordPress website and would like some help please contact me. You can book a complimentary 15 minute to see how I can help. There are more important things to worry about than your website!