Update Order Matters

Feb 23, 2019

I remember when I was taking classes to learn the ins and outs of creating WordPress websites and the lessons on maintaining a website. It was like a lightbulb moment when I learned there was a specific order that you should make your file updates in.  And today I want to pass this knowledge on to you.

Why Update?

You’ve worked hard to get your business online with a great looking website and now you’re in charge of keeping it up to date and safe. This is called maintaining a website. Plugins, themes and WordPress files are all updated by their creators in hopes of keeping things tight. Meaning patching holes in the code to keep hackers out, or updating and enhancing code to keep things running smoothly. Watching for updates, creating backups of your site, and then updating these when new updates are released is a service I offer, but some website owners decide to maintain their sites on their own.

I ALWAYS recommend keeping a backup of your site and making a backup at least once a month. This isn’t just so you have it. It’s an extremely useful thing to have should anything go wrong when you’re updating any of your plugins, themes or even WordPress itself. So this post is for those of you who already know how to create a backup of your site and for the purposes of today’s post we’ll assume you’ve already created one.

Woman holding round lightbulb

Does it matter what order you make your updates in?

Yes, it does!

Simply put, a WordPress website is built upon WordPress files, often called the WordPress Core. Then a theme is added to the WordPress core to establish a place for customizations to take place (think how your site looks), and then plugins are added to make your website function in specific ways. If you think of your website in layers, WordPress core is on the bottom layer and plugins are on the top layer with your theme in the middle.

Again, we are assuming you’ve already created a backup of your website. Don’t rely on your host maintaining a recent backup, or providing it for free if something goes wrong.

This is the Order to Update Your Website

When there are updates to be made to your website files, always update in this order:

    1. your plugins, one by one, checking your site between each
    2. your theme
    3. WordPress

Go in Alphabetical Order!

Take Action

If you’d like to talk about how I can help keep your website safe and your files updated, or if you’d like to learn how to maintain your website on your own, please contact me here. I’d love to talk with you about my maintenance package or about a training session.

Tricia laughing, looking at the camera

Hello! I’m Tricia, and I help consultants get online with websites that aren’t only great to look at, but that reflect the quality service you provide and do the heavy work to get you booked!

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