WordPress is an ever evolving piece of software, with the WordPress team regularly releasing new updates packed with new features, added functionality, bug fixes, security fixes, and more. Unfortunately, many webmasters neglect to update their WordPress installations and plugins, which can cause a number of problems in the long run. This article will explain why you should keep your WordPress (and your plugins) up to date.

Why you need to keep wordpress up to date

Bug and security fixes

WordPress is a complex piece of software made up of tens of thousands of lines of code. Unfortunately, as with every piece of software created, bugs exist in the code, many of which can cause major problems and errors. The WordPress team have worked hard to squash these bugs, releasing dozens of updates filled with bug fixes.

By updating to the newest version of WordPress, you will greatly reduce the chances of running into a crippling bug that may cause problems.

Security is also a major issue with WordPress sites. Any software that is as popular as WordPress will become a target for hackers. Unfortunately sometimes, a bug will be found that hackers can use to their advantage to access and/or deface a WordPress installation. While the WordPress team are quick to react to these security exploits, often releasing an update containing a quick fix for the problem, sites that continue to run the old versions of WordPress will still be susceptible to attacks from savvy hackers who abuse the security hole.

It’s important to update to the newest versions of WordPress to ensure that your WordPress sites are secure against potential attacks from hackers.

Likewise, WordPress plugins are susceptible to bugs and security issues, too. Plugin developer teams often release updates for their plugins filled with bug and security fixes.

Make sure to update your plugins regularly to minimise the number of bugs in your plugins and to keep your WordPress site safe against potential attacks from hackers.

Added functionality

The WordPress team have been hard at work improving WordPress ever since it’s initial release in March of 2003. The contrast between the early versions of WordPress and the latest versions is stark; early versions were simple with very limited functionality, while modern day versions of WordPress can be moulded to create virtually any type of website.

Many of the present day WordPress features that we take for granted were introduced gradually in software patches created by the WordPress developer team. Themes, plugins, widgets, wysiwyg editors, and more were all introduced through patches; webmasters had to update their WordPress installations to get access to these new features.

Even today, each and every version of WordPress brings new features and added functionality. Version 3.6, due in April of 2013, will introduce dozens of new improvements.

If you don’t update your WordPress installation to the latest version, you might miss out on a number of useful new features and added functionality.

Plugins, arguably the most powerful tool in WordPress’ toolbox, are also updated on a regular basis with new features and functionality being added.

A perfect example is the popular Gravity Forms plugin. The initial release was barebones containing only the minimal amount of features needed to create simple contact forms. Updates to the plugin have greatly expanded on this idea, adding in animations, support for ecommerce solutions, and much more. Again, users who neglected to update their Gravity Forms installations missed out on the extra functionality that the Gravity Forms developer team added in the later versions of the plugin.

Make sure to update your plugins to the latest versions to ensure you have access to the added functionality and new features created by the plugin’s developer team.

Conclusion

WordPress is a powerful and adaptable piece of software that is continually being improved upon by its developer team. Likewise, the active plugin developer community has been a strong force, adding a great deal of extra functionality to WordPress over time.

It’s important to keep your WordPress and WordPress plugins updated to ensure that you have access to all of their functionality while minimising the numbers of bugs and potential security holes present in the software.