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Updating WordPress Components: Core, Themes, Plugins

Keeping your website current is crucial in the digital landscape, and updating WordPress components forms a significant part of this process. In this article, we’ll demystify the art of manual updates, from your WordPress installation to themes and plugins, emphasizing the importance of regular backups before initiating any updates.

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Why Prioritize Manual Updates?

In the world of WordPress, the debate between automatic and manual updates is a common one. Though automatic updates may seem more convenient, opting for manual updates can provide additional security and control over your site. Unlike automatic updates that can unintentionally disrupt site functionality due to compatibility issues, manual updates allow you to back up your data and ensure stability before making any changes, putting you in control of the process.

Don’t Update Right Away

Don’t execute the updates right when you see them, especially when it is a WordPress Core update.

When the WordPress core version updates, responsible plugin developers test the beta and RC versions of the latest build. So, the newest plugin versions of such developers should already be compatible.

Note: Before updating to the latest WordPress core version, you should check that all your installed plugins are compatible with this WordPress version, or you may end up with a broken website until the plugins catch up.

Wait at least a day or two when you see new plugin updates. Some users might have issues with the new features or bug fixes in the first days after the latest plugin update. The developers usually fix the issues in two days and issue another update. You don’t want to fall into negative statistics of this “temporary update.”

The Importance of Backups in Updating WordPress Components

Before updating WordPress components, backing up your WordPress site is a step you should never skip. Backups act as a safety net, ensuring that in case of any mishap during the update process, your site can be restored without data loss or significant downtime.

Please read our article about the Importance and Guidelines of Backing Up WordPress Websites before Updates.

Follow our guide to UpdraftPlus backup plugin usage.

Updating All WordPress Components at once

Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
While on the Dashboard, you will see on the left side menu, under [Dashboard], the [Updates] section.

Should there be any update available of any component, you will see a number of updates in the red circle against the [Updates] tab.
Click the tab.
Here, you can update all the components in each section: WordPress installation section, Plugins section, and Themes section.

There are alternative ways to update each component if you like.

Another Way of Engaging WordPress Core Updates Only

One critical aspect of updating WordPress components is keeping your core WordPress software current.

Spot the Notification: WordPress will alert you via the Dashboard when an update becomes available. You will see a message at the top of the screen.
Initiate the Update: The process will start by clicking on the ‘Update Now’ button. WordPress will download the necessary files, perform the update, and then redirect you to your Dashboard once the update is complete.

You can read more about Updating WordPress Core in the WordPress Docs.

Another Way of Updating WordPress Themes Only

Updating WordPress components extends to themes, which can be done via a few simple steps:

Find Your Themes: Go to ‘Appearance’ from your WordPress Dashboard and then ‘Themes.’
Look for Updates: If a theme update is available, it will be indicated in the theme box.
Update Your Theme: Click the ‘Update Now’ button to initiate the process. A success message will appear once the update is complete.

Remember that direct changes to the theme files will be lost after the update. For preserving modifications, a child theme is recommended. We will discuss child themes in section 6 of our Complete SEO Guide Box.

Another Way of Updating WordPress Plugins Only

Lastly, an integral part of updating WordPress components involves updating your WordPress plugins:

Access Your Plugins: On your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to ‘Plugins’ and ‘Installed Plugins’.
Spot the Updates: If there’s an update available for any plugin, you’ll see a notification below the plugin name.
Update Your Plugin: The process will start by clicking on the ‘Update Now’ button. A success message will signal the completion of the update.

Check compatibility before updating, as not all plugins are compatible with all themes or WordPress versions.


Updating WordPress components requires more effort than automatic updates and offers increased control and security. You can stay ahead in the digital game by ensuring stable site maintenance and proactive handling of potential issues.

The current article is "5.21. Updating Components" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 5.20. Back up WordPress. Next Article: 5.22. Setting Favicon


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