With the release of v5.5, WordPress now allows site owners to set their plugins for automatic updates. This can be done by logging into WordPress, navigating to  the plugin dashboard page, and clicking the new “Enable auto-updates” link for each plugin you want to have updated automatically.

Don’t do it.

Keeping your site’s plugins up to date is very important for security purposes and to make sure they remain compatible with the new releases of WordPress. However, compatibility of plugin updates is never guaranteed with your site’s theme and other plugins, which could potentially break the site.

There’s also an issue of timing. With this new feature enabled, WordPress will check your site twice daily and run any available updates it finds. This could happen while you’re in the process of updating your site’s content, causing you to lose those updates (the site goes into maintenance mode briefly during the update). In addition, if the update does break functionality while you’re away, the site could go down or behave incorrectly for quite some time before you learn of the problem and are able to fix it.

This is why Dynamics Online offers our clients a manual WordPress plugin update service. On a monthly or quarterly basis, we will check your plugins to determine what updates are needed. We then run each update manually, checking the site between updates to make sure they had no adverse effects. If a problem is detected, we’re able to quickly restore the plugin to an earlier version or run any additional updates to restore functionality. After they’ve all been run and tested, we submit a report to let you know if/why any updates weren’t run.

We recommend monthly updates for sites with heavy traffic, e-commerce functionality, or other secure content. For others, quarterly updates are probably frequent enough, and will keep costs down.

So, although we do recommend keeping a close eye on the status of your WordPress plugins, we don’t suggest leaving that up to chance. If you’re not already utilizing our manual WordPress plugin update service, feel free to contact us to learn more.