The short answer is Yes.

You should always keep WordPress, and your theme and plugins, as up to date as possible.

Why?

WordPress is kept up to date by a tireless team of experts stretching right around the world. The majority of them do it because they love it – not because they are paid to do it.

Changes are made to the core program for quite a few reasons but they basically boil down to two,

  1. To add new functionality and generally make WordPress better
  2. To patch security flaws that become apparent

Note: this second one is rarely because of an exploit, mostly just theoretical weaknesses that could be exploited. The problem is that once the reason for the patch is known people actually do write code to exploit the weakness in sites that aren’t kept up to date!

Will updating WordPress break my website?

Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes Yes.

The first rule of updating anything on your website is always make sure you have a backup. Many hosting providers automatically back up your site but there are also any number of plugins that will take care of it for you.

Tip: Make sure you back up the database as well as the files – your WordPress site needs both elements to work properly

After you have run the update process go to your site and make sure everything is working as before.

What if it’s not?

If the whole site is broken then you will need to restore it from backup. This is very rare.

If it’s some functionality that’s missing or broken then the first place to start would be to make sure that all your plugins are up to date.

Secondly you may need to make sure that your theme is up to date as well.

By this stage you are deep into troubleshooting mode! There are a number of different ways to proceed which will depend on many different factors, too many to list here.

If you are not confident in this process it may well be time to enlist the help of a professional! There are very many around, not least ourselves!

For information on one-off WordPress fixes and long term support, maintenance and security update packages please do get in touch. We’d love to help.