So, you have decided that you are unsure whether to update your WordPress website. You may think what’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, actually there are many consequences of not updating WordPress and WordPress plugins. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
It may seem easier to not update WordPress, but there are a number of things that can go wrong. Not updating WordPress leaves your site vulnerable to hackers and viruses. This can cause data loss and damage to your website.
Also, you can miss out on cool new features that might make developer work a lot easier. You can miss out on features like reusable blocks or WordPress-supporting new media uploads.
You may find not being able to use WordPress plugins because they are not compatible. WordPress does not support the newest plugin version because it’s too old.
WordPress may cause your website to crash because it has not been updated in a long time. This can make you 👉 rebuild your whole site.👈
Some other ramifications of not updating WordPress include losing customers because your website is lagging behind. You can also lose customers because it’s not functioning properly. Your website may not look like the newest shinest toy on the block. Also, it may be frustrating for developers to use because the WP admin dashboard is old. Not to mention the WP admin panel may be slow to load and navigate.
Let’s take a look at these consequences in more detail to better understand the gravity of not updating WordPress.
Why are WordPress updates important?
WordPress updates are vital to keeping your website running in tip-top shape. When you update WordPress to the newest version you gain security patches and new features. Also, your website does not lag behind and customers will continue to enjoy using your site.
You can either choose to update WordPress manually or use a WordPress management service to do it for you. Updating plugins is also important as they add new features and fix bugs that can improve the performance of your website.
This will help ensure compatibility between all the components of your website. Also, it will help reduce downtime during updates. Plus they will make sure that everything is running smoothly after an update.
7 things that happen when you don’t update your WP website
Here are 7 consequences of not updating WordPress regularly. The biggest one is your site is at a greater risk of being hacked. Some other repercussions include data loss, your website starts lagging behind, and more. Let’s explore each of these ramifications a bit further.
1. Greater security risks
Many people will try to scare you away from building a website on WordPress. They will tell you something along the lines of it’s such a popular open-source platform, that it’s easily hacked because it’s so commonly used.
Yes, WordPress sites are very common. Interestingly enough, about 40% of all sites on the internet are WordPress websites. But this does not mean they cannot be super secure. Websites on WP can be super secure and safe.
They can be very secure and you can minimize hacking risks by updating your site on a regular basis. WordPress does a good job of cutting security issues by releasing a mini update once a week or every two weeks.
WordPress releases these updates after learning about the holes that existed in a previous version that could have been used by hackers. It patches up security issues and bugs quickly to give website owners an even more secure site.
Another issue associated with not updating to the latest version of WordPress is data loss. You leave security patches that make it easy for someone to hack your site. Once they hack it they can leave with your data or worse your customer’s data.
Data loss is a huge problem in the virtual world and can lead to big problems such as financial fraud, identity theft, etc.
2. Miss out on new features
When you update core WordPress files the administrators and/or developers of your site may gain some new features. For example, WordPress may decide to improve the Gutenberg block editor. They may add features to it such as:
- reusable blocks, which enables a developer to copy a block and modify it slightly. This way they can meet new needs without having to rewrite a block of code all over again.
- supporting WebP formatted images. This helps your website run faster. Graphics in this format are more compressed. But, they don’t lose their quality despite the file size being much smaller.
- they can make widgets easier to edit by introducing a block format. This way you can move blocks around to reorganize content. You can clump content together in a way that makes it easy to understand and access
These are just some examples of new features that you can gain when you 👉 update WordPress to a newer version 👈 than you have currently.
New features can be a double-ended sword
You can gain new features by updating WordPress and during plugin updates. But in a scenario where you have asked for a software developer to customize any part of your plugin or theme. Any new updates may mess up:
- the functioning of your site or plugin.
- the look of your site or the look of a plugin feature
If either is the case, then the update will need the intervention of a WordPress developer to fix those issues. The customization of plugins and themes is great to better your site. But it’s important to keep that in mind whenever running a WordPress update or plugin update. You do not want your new feature to lead to a breakdown in function on your website.
3. Cannot install or use plugins because they are not compatible with your current version of the WP site
A problem that you may run into when not updating WordPress is that plugins stop being compatible. Like in the picture above when you head into your WordPress dashboard you may see that a plugin cannot be installed. This is because it is incompatible with your version of WordPress.
This is also a clever way for WordPress to try and force admins to update their websites in order to not lose valuable functions. Also, WordPress plugins should be updated on a regular basis as well.
It is best to think of WordPress core files and WordPress plugins as a duo and they go hand in hand. Also, when you update the one you should update the other. They should not be run independently of each other.
4. White screen of death due to website crash
In some cases, WordPress will force you to update its core files by running automatic updates without your permission.
So, for example, the new version of WordPress is version 6.4 but your website is running on version 4.9. While WordPress may not upgrade you to version 6.4, it may decide to automatically update WordPress to version 5.9 because it is still being supported.
So what is the consequence of WordPress running an automatic update?
Your website may crash. This update will leave it in complete disarray and hard to use. When this happens you will need developers to access the WP admin dashboard and start rebuilding your site. If you don’t have any site backups then this will be a long process.
They will need to rebuild everything that was in the WP content folder along with any other zip file that stored valuable website data.
5. Website Lags Behind
When you do not update WordPress on a regular basis you may find that your website lags behind. It can lag behind in a few ways:
- First off your website may not look as modern or contemporary as other WordPress sites. Visually you may notice that the front end of your site is not as trendy as other sites. You may also notice that your WordPress version when entering the WP admin panel is old.
- Another aspect that you may notice in terms of lagging is that your WordPress dashboard does not load as quickly. You or your developer may notice that when switching through various pages in your WordPress dashboard takes a really long time. An example would be tasks that should take 5 minutes, now take 20 minutes.
- Lastly, if you do not run a WP core update your WordPress site may not perform as well. You notice poor results on Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or other similar testing platforms.
When your website lags because you have not successfully updated WordPress or plugins, it can cause a twofold problem. One for the developer working on your site and two for visitors who try to use your site.
6. Level of developer satisfaction & progress of work
So a WordPress developer can work on your site and resolve any issues regarding updates at any time. But, a site that has not been properly updated for months and months at a time may frustrate programmers. Here are two reasons why:
- They need to update WordPress and plugins before they start working on anything new.
- Fixing bugs and errors that might occur due to WordPress plugin updates and WordPress updates.
Both these factors are time-consuming. But these tasks must be completed before a WordPress developer can move on with new software development for your site.
Your developer instead of taking the time to add new features will have to do a complete overhaul of your site. Only after they build up the basics by running updates and fixing bugs can they move forward. What a pain! Right?
A developer works best if they have a WordPress site that is up to date and they know the ins and outs of the project. Not when they are introduced to a project after months of it sitting idle. If they have not seen a project in a really long time, they have to reacquaint themselves with the project. After that, they have to fix bugs, run updates, and then they can finally do something new.
7. Loose customers
A WordPress site that is not regularly updated may force you to lose customers. You may lose customers when your website is not functioning properly. Or when your website does not visually look right.
Some very common problems that website visitors encounter and may discourage them from visiting your site are:
- a contact form that is not sending emails with enquires
- your website is loading super duper slowly
- the menu is not working properly
- does not adapt to mobile devices
As a result of losing customers, you will lose business and revenue. No business owner wants their company to dwindle down because they have neglected their website. This is why you should always update WordPress. Also, you should update themes and plugins. A well-maintained and updated website will attract customers. This will lead to business growth and an increase in revenue.
Will my WordPress website break if I update it?
It is very unlikely that your site will break when upgrading your WordPress account, however, it’s not impossible. This is why developers will always back up the entire file for your website before making any major modifications to it.
Also, they will run updates on the staging site as opposed to the production site. This way a developer can see if anything goes wrong during updates and fix it. Once all updates are complete. Then the updated version will be transferred to production.
Plus this way developers can also restore anything on your site from backups and the production version of your WP site.
How to safely update a WordPress site?
The safest way to update WordPress is to hire developers to 👉 run support & maintenance 👈 on a regular basis. They can update WordPress manually without ruining your site’s functionality.
Professional WordPress updates and maintenance services will update WordPress and plugins on a staging site. They will create backups of all your WordPress files in order to restore anything that may have fallen up during updates. Moreover, they do not run updates on the production side of your site to prevent major damage.
Warning: Do not update WordPress automatically
Do not schedule automatic updates for your WordPress website. These automatic updates can be problematic for two reasons. Firstly, automatic WordPress updates may cause your site to lose functionalities. Secondly, you may find UI/ UX aspects to be damaged and your website looks disorganized or messy.
If you are not a developer, then restoring functionalities or even UI/UX aspects can be a challenge. Plus the longer you leave your WordPress website in disarray the more issues arise. And you risk losing customers. This is why you should always turn to 👉 professional WordPress update services 👈, as opposed to a manual update process.
TL:DR: Wrapping up the consequences of not updating your WordPress site
Let’s run through really quickly what are the consequences of not updating your WordPress sites and not updating WordPress plugins:
- Great security risks and data losses
- Miss out on great new features
- Cannot use installed plugins because they are not compatible with your version of WordPress
- Cannot install new plugins because your WordPress site is out of date
- Your WordPress site is so behind on updates that you experience the white screen of death
- Your website lags behind in terms of loading speed, performance, or even user experience
- Developers that work on your website are dissatisfied. They need to use more time in order to complete updates, fix bugs, and then implement new features.
- Lastly, you may lose customers because your website is in poor shape
Did we miss any ramifications of not updating your WordPress site? Or perhaps you want more details on any of the aspects mentioned above. 👉 Drop us a line 👈 and let’s chat about why it’s worth updating WordPress & updating WordPress plugins.