Improving the overall aesthetics and function of your website can help with your sales funnel. Adding plugins is the way to do this easily in WordPress. However just like with any other software update, it is not guaranteed that everything will go smoothly once installed. Conflicts and errors may occur, which could potentially cause issues on your website.
There are things you can do that will vastly reduce the risk of your website turning into a mess. Following these steps will save you a lot of time and heartache if anything does go wrong.
The steps towards updating safely
The first thing that you need to remember is that conflicts actually don’t happen that often when it comes to plugin updates. Regardless, you would want to be on the safe side of things. Preparedness is important, even if it has never happened to you before.
1. Back up regularly
Backing up your website is an absolute necessity. This is your insurance that if something does go terribly wrong, you can revert to a last known working version of your website.
There are a number of ways in which you can backup your website. You can do a manual backup to your computer by logging into your hosting account, you can use backup services like Vaultpress and WP Time Capsule, or there are a number of backup plugins available.
2. Test the updates on a staging server
Another good way to update your plugins safely is by copying your live website to a staging server, then pushing the updates through there. Having a staging server is a good way to roll out WordPress plugins, especially if you’re unsure of what it might do to your primary website. Unless you’re 100% sure and backed up, never rollout a plugin if you’re unsure how it will behave.
Run the updates on the staging server and see how well the website copes. If everything continues to behave normally, you are can go ahead a update the plugins on the main website.
3. Avoid using the auto-update feature
Unfortunately, it’s a fact of internet life that new software updates are never guaranteed to work properly. There may be issues or exploits that occur in the new patch, so you would want to have a certain level of control for your site. It’s possible for an update to make things far worse and provide incompatibilities with your other plugins, so unless the update is an urgent fix, there’s no need to push it through as soon as you see it. Keep an eye on the plugin’s website or WordPress repository page, and note the reaction of the community to the update. If there are any potential problems, the community will be pretty vocal about them.
Always disable the auto-update option and push through updates manually yourself. This way, even if there is something wrong with the update, you will be aware of it immediately. An even better solution would be to simply wait a few days or weeks until it’s clear that there are no issues with the plugin version.
My Plugin is Causing Me Issues, So What Do I Do Now?
If you have your backup set up, roll back to the last known working version of your WordPress website. If you don’t have a backup, unfortunately you have some rigorous reading of forums and debugging to look forward to.
If you are unable to find a solution, you might need to uninstall the plugin that is causing the issue and install older version of it. If you can no longer access the WordPress dashboard, just delete the plugin folder from your hosting account and WordPress will un-install it for you.
This is why installing updates one after the other also important. If you install them all at once, you will have an issue identifying the one causing the problem.
So Update with Care
Alway be extra careful with anything that goes into your live WordPress website. Test it multiple times before implementing it. Your website is your bread and butter – the last thing you want is for it to get broken.
If everything does go awry, you’ll need expert assistance. We rely on the team at WP Butler to assist us when the unexpected does happen. They are WordPress experts and can assist with any WordPress issues you might have.