These plugins are straightforward to install and it is quite easy to forget about them. However, as they are pieces of software, plugins need to be updated as needed to fix problems or security issues that arise. And unused plugins should be removed from your website.
Importance of updating to the latest version of a WordPress Plugin
The release of an update by Yoast for its WordPress SEO plugin, on 11 March 2015 to fix a security issue is a timely reminder to ensure that the plugins in your website are kept up to date.
This security issue with the Yoast plugin, in simple terms, means that by having a logged-in author, editor or admin visit a malformed URL a malicious hacker could change your database. According to Yoast.com
“This is a serious issue, which is why we immediately set to fix it when we were notified of the issue.”
This was followed by another security fix by Yoast on 18 March 2015 for their popular Google Analytics plugin.
For most businesses malicious damage to their website would be costly, in terms of both lost revenue through an interruption to business and the expense of rectifying the situation. With this in mind it is important to ensure that your WordPress website:
- is backed-up frequently
- has up to date versions of all plugins used
- and that unused plugins are removed.
How to update WordPress Plugins?
Some web hosting companies automatically update plugins as part of their hosting service. I use WPEngine for my hosting and they provide an automatic plugin update service or they notify me when updates are needed. I find it comforting to receive an email from WPEngine saying they’ve updated or about to update a plugin.
As with anything, this can be an option if you know what you are doing!
Before you attempt to update any plugins, make sure you back up your website. Then, go to Plugins on the left navigation and look at which ones have alerts letting you know that a new version is available.
Work with a WordPress Expert
Another option, particularly if you’re not confident with WordPress beyond adding articles to your blog, is to outsource the updates to a recommended developer who is knowledgeable about WordPress and its plugins.
One of Click-Winning Content’s partners, Tessa from WP Super Geek, has an offer to back up your website and then update the plugins installed on your WordPress website (and your version of WordPress if needed) for only $50.
Email Tess by 30 May 2015 if you’re interested in taking up the offer. I work with Tess regularly and recommend using her services if you’re not sure what you’re doing in the WordPress backend, or if you don’t have time to learn to DIY.
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.