Should I enable Auto Updates in WordPress?

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WordPress has recently introduced auto-updates (automatic updates) for its core and for WordPress plugins, too.

What is an automatic update?

An automatic update gives WordPress the ability to update your website’s code and plugins without you, the user, needing to manually log in and click buttons to run the updates. On the surface of things, this is a great leap forward for WordPress users, as it can cut down maintenance time on your website, and apply updates more quickly than you might be able to do it yourself, meaning that

In fact, WordPress automatic updates have been available for quite some time, but as of WordPress 5.5, launched in August 2020, it’s now available for you to enable via WordPress’ administration panel.

Should I enable automatic updates in WordPress?

The short answer is…maybe! Automatic updates are a helpful tool to WordPress website owners, but they can potentially also cause quite a few issues. Ask yourself these questions before enabling WordPress auto-updates for your own websites:

  • Do I have a sturdy and reliable back up and restore system, in case of error?
  • Do you trust the WordPress plugins you use? More popular, well-maintained plugins are likely to be more “update proof” than other plugins. (And, if you don’t trust your plugins, why have you installed it on your website?!)
  • Is your website “mission critical”? Can your business or organisation survive if your website is down for a few hours – or even days? If not, enabling auto-updates on your live site might not be a great idea (but testing it on your development website is!)

If you’re still not sure, talk to our WordPress developers who can help advise on website maintenance.

How to enable auto-updates for WordPress

As we said above, automatic updates have been available in WordPress for quite some time, but if you’re on WordPress version 5.5 or above, you should now see an “Automatic updates” field when you view your plugins in the Plugins > Installed Plugins screen. You can disable / enable automatic updates of plugins by changing the setting here (there is also a new “Enable / disable auto-updates” in the Bulk actions dropdown at the top of the plugins list.

Should I enable WordPress automatic updates?

Not sure what Auto Updates mean for you website? Check out blog posts on our sister website, Peacock Carter: what do WordPress auto-updates mean your website?