WordPress Updates (Complete Guide for Beginners)

WordPress Updates (Complete Guide for Beginners)

No doubt, WordPress Updates help users maintain WordPress. In this resource, you’re going to learn:

  • What are WordPress Updates?
  • Where can you find WordPress releases on the Admin Dashboard?
  • Different ways to update WordPress Assets (Core Files, Themes, and Plugins)
  • Importance of Updates in the version of WordPress (Security, Maintenance, Errors, Speed, Functionality, User Experience, New Features, Integration(s))
  • Precautions while updating WordPress Assets
  • Professional Tips
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s describe the subject in more detail.

What are WordPress Updates?

Updates in WordPress – refer to new versions of major releases and installed assets, such as WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins. An update is available when a product’s vendor rolls out the latest version(s).

The Updates page in wp-admin lists currently available updates. WordPress Users can find the page at Dashboard -> Updates.

Updates in WordPress (Where to Find)

As described earlier, the dashboard’s Updates page provides currently available updates. Here, users can update WordPress assets with point-and-click options.

Individual pages of Themes and Plugins also list available updates. For example, if you land on the Appearance -> Themes page, you can see available updates for installed Themes. Similarly, the Plugins page provides updates for installed plugins.

Different ways to update WordPress Assets (Core Files, Themes, and Plugins)

Users can update WordPress assets using various procedures. Let’s briefly describe ways to update WordPress Core Files, Themes, and Plugins.

  1. WordPress Admin Dashboard (Dashboard -> Updates page)
  2. Individual pages of Themes and Plugins
  3. Manual updating

Let’s describe each manner in more detail.

Updating WordPress Assets via Dashboard’s Updates page

Updating WordPress Core Files, Themes, and Plugins on the Updates page is simple. The page categorized notifications under WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins.

Let’s proceed. The process uses a point-and-click approach.

Note: In the WordPress Dashboard, on the left panel, if the Updates menu shows notifications, updates are available.

WordPress updates

Once landed on the Updates page, you can see if an update is available for WordPress Core. If yes, click the (Re-install WordPress) button to proceed. Users can see the WordPress’ current version or click Check Again to find if a new update is available.

Similarly, let’s jump to the Themes section for available updates.

Select the available theme updates here and click the (Update Themes) button. On the page, you can choose to update only a particular Theme.

Let’s turn our face to the Plugins section.

Like Themes, you can see the available updates for plugins. Pick the plugins you want to update and click the (Update Plugins) button.

Updating WordPress Assets via Individual Pages

Hence, the WordPress dashboard includes dedicated pages for Themes and Plugins – so users can quickly find available updates. For WordPress core updates, see the Dashboard -> Updates page.

Let’s find the individual pages for Theme and Plugin updates.

  • For Themes updates, see the Appearance -> Themes page in the dashboard.
  • Similarly – for Plugins’ updates, land on the Plugins -> Installed Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard.

Let’s proceed further.

Once on the Themes page, users will see thumbnails for installed entries. The thumbnails show if an update is available. Users can click Update Now to update a specific Theme.

WordPress theme updates

Note: Remember that themes requiring a license may require extra maneuvers to update. Such themes only show CTAs that can update if you’ve entered a valid license.

Let’s proceed further and learn how to update WordPress plugins on (Plugins) page.

On the Plugins -> Installed Plugins, users can see the available updates.

wordpress plugins

Here, click Update now for the plugin you’d like to update. The process doesn’t include fancy maneuvers.

Manual Updating

Manual updating requires Technical expertise and often involves troubleshooting if an issue occurs. It is not easy for beginners.

Listen, manual updating is the only option if you encounter specific scenarios. For example, manual updating is the way to go if accessing the WordPress dashboard is impossible.

So, what happens in manual updating?

Manual updating consists of changing backend files. Let’s describe the matter in more detail.

If you’d like to update a theme or plugin manually, changing backend files on the hosting account requires manual updating. In this case, users can replace, change, or re-upload files to update a specific Theme or Plugin.

Let’s learn how the update process for WordPress themes or plugins works manually.

Before proceeding, let’s address the requirements for manual updating.

  1. Access to the WordPress Hosting or cPanel
    Full Access Privileges on cPanel options
    Basic Know-How of downloading, uploading, and managing ZIP files on a Web Hosting account
    Or via WP-CLI, which is a command line interface for WordPress

We can proceed with the File Transfer Protocol if we don’t have access to a Web Hosting account. In this case, we should consider:

  • FTP account
  • An FTP client, such as File Zilla

Let’s proceed with baby steps.

Step (1): Log into Web Hosting account cPanel

First, log into your web hosting account using Namecheap. Once logged into Home Feed, the screen will show registered domains and hosting plans.

Namecheap WordPress Hosting

You must manually spot the address you’d like to update assets here.

Note: Remember, the hosting interface differs from hosting to hosting. Ensure the difference between hosting environments is clear to you.

Step (2): Access the Hosting cPanel

Once you’ve spotted the Domain in question, the next step is “accessing its cPanel area.” Hosting cPanel, also known as “Web Hosting Control Panel,” is the area That controls the entire Hosting account. Here, you can find options to:

  • Create WordPress databases
  • Download or upload files from/to the Hosting server
  • Limit directory access
  • Password protect directories
  • Create users, remove or change passwords for users
  • Scan your WordPress site for malware
  • Manage SSL certificates with point-and-click options

Let’s come back to the point.

Depending on WordPress Hosting options, accessing a Domain’s cPanel is simple. Users can find the option under a Domain’s attributes.

WordPress hosting

Once you’ve loaded the option, the next page shows the domain’s cPanel area. The following page contains a pack of options under various categories, such as:

  • Options to handle SSL certificates
  • File Manager – the place on the server, helping users manage files
  • Automated scripts That help users run, install, and manage Content Management Systems (CMS) on Hosting account
  • Database management (WordPress data-banks)
  • Security options, such as protecting directories, changing users’ passwords, and limiting directory access on the server
  • Handling public resource access, called “Access Privileges.”
  • Users – helping owners manage database, account, or application users in one place

Step (3): Find the File Manager

The File Manager is a feature of the Hosting cPanel options that helps users manage Hosting data. Once it has loaded, you can see various directories, files, and scripts on the Server.

It would help if you choose the Upload option here. However, let’s consider finding an appropriate directory first.

The directory That contains WordPress files is Public_HTML. In web hosting environments, the Public_HTML directory contains files accessible across the Internet.

In the case of WordPress CMS, the core files are stored in the Public_HTML root.

WordPress Hosting Options

Once the File Manager loads, the first step is to get into the Public_HTML directory. Double-clicking or right-clicking the directory’s icon opens it. Once inside, users can see WordPress’s core file structure, which is the installed one.

Note: Here, we’re going to upload ZIP packages. Once you’ve found the appropriate directory, the Hosting bar options help users take action, such as downloading, removing, or uploading packages.

Let’s come back to the point.

Step (4): Upload new packages (ZIP)

Now, find the WP-Content directory under the Public_HTML. The “wp-content” includes WordPress plugins and Theme files on the Web Server. Once entered, users can see relevant directories for Themes and Plugins.

Now, here comes the best part. Here, the manual updating boils down to uploading new ZIP plans.

For example, if you’d like to update a Theme, get into the Themes directory and use the Upload option. The Upload option helps you upload your Theme’s ZIP package.

cPanel File Manager

Remember, before uploading a ZIP, ensure you’ve renamed the existing one. It helps you avoid file name conflicts on the Server. Also, once you’ve renamed the existing theme directory, the Theme’s previous version will be deactivated.

Note: Once you’ve uploaded a Theme’s new version, returning to the WordPress dashboard helps you make necessary changes. For example, you can see if you want to set, adjust, or add license information again. Similarly, make necessary changes until you face no music.

Let’s talk about manually updating WordPress plugins.

In the same manner, find the Plugins directory under “wp-content”.

You must upload the Plugin’s ZIP package like the Theme’s package. You should have downloaded a plugin’s ZIP from the WordPress official Plugins Directory.

To proceed, make sure the following key points:

  • You should’ve deactivated the existing plugin. You can do so by using options in the WordPress dashboard. You can also rename the Hosting directory to deactivate the plugin in question. Also, removing the entire directory helps.
  • Once you’ve uploaded a new package, ensure the Theme or Plugin has been activated in the WordPress dashboard.
  • Once activated, make necessary changes – such as adding license information, setting options, or changing features.

To this line, you’ve learned how to update WordPress Themes and Plugins manually.

Left Overs

  • If you cannot use Hosting cPanel File Manager’s upload option, use the FTP.
  • Remember to rename directories before uploading new versions. Also, ensure you’ve visited the WordPress dashboard to help you activate new uploads.
  • Manual updating may require complex maneuvers, such as how users set various options after installing a theme or plugin for the first time.
  • Only proceed if you know how to change Hosting environments.
  • Before using an FTP, make sure you’ve created an FTP account in the Hosting cPanel FTP area.
  • Accessing the Hosting account and the cPanel area may require additional verifications. You may face the music when accessing the hosting cPanel area if you’re not the admin.
  • Do not perform manual updates yourself without the assistance of a support team. If something goes wrong, ensure you’ve taken site backups for recovery.

Let’s move forward and address other Topics in the subject.

Importance of Updates in WordPress

Let’s talk about the importance of WordPress Updates.

  • Updates help strengthen WordPress security and reduce vulnerabilities

No doubt, security updates help users patch loopholes. Once a new update is rolled out, additional patches, improvements, features, flexibility, and error removals make a Tool more user-friendly, robust, and easy to use.

  • Updates help maintain WordPress Tools

Two cases exist where using outdated tools may require extra maneuvers compared to enjoying the flexible user experience of new tools.

WordPress updates help users run sites with robust, error-free, and maintained infrastructure – there is no doubt about it.

  • Updates remove Errors

Often, vendors release updates That specifically fix errors. In software(s), such errors refer to Bugs, while a Bug is a glitch, error, or gap in a Tool’s performance.

In such scenarios, vendors look for bugs regularly. Even if a user reports an error(s), the informer is awarded, and the errors are removed in the next minor releases.

The story boils down to ensuring “end users’ sites run smoothly without errors”. It weighs more importance for businesses and more revenue.

  • Updates improve website speed

Clean code means compatibility, smooth performance, speed, and increased maintenance. When a piece of Tool is updated, WordPress can perform better.

Why? The new infrastructure is well suited for WordPress’ latest infrastructure. Period.

Let’s consider an example.

Using a Tool’s version from 2000 wouldn’t work with WordPress’ latest core. There are many differences between infrastructure versions.

If such gaps occur, issues like speed, errors, user experience, and ranking drops arise.

  • Relation of Updates with User Experience

User Experience makes businesses earn more. Simply put, it helps users improve their customers’ journeys—from visiting a page to becoming loyal subscribers.

The point is that “software vendors specifically focus on improving user experience when preparing to roll out new updates”. So, the better users can use a Tool, website, or infrastructure, the more readers can become loyal subscribers.

  • Updates include New Features and Enhancements

Of course, WordPress updates for Themes and Plugins include new features and enhancements. Users can use new features when a piece of Tools is updated.

  • Third-party Integrations

WordPress helps users integrate 3rd party Tools for various purposes, such as Email Marketing Tools. Hence, vendors are updating tools regularly, and updating WordPress infrastructure is necessary.

So, updates add more support for 3rd party Integrations – helping users add more support, automation, and flexibility to WordPress.

Precautions while updating WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins

Take precautions while updating WordPress assets, such as Themes, Plugins, or Core Files.

  • Updating multiple assets with a click is risky. It creates Race Conditions, Which, as their name suggests, are a system’s state while updating various assets. In Race Conditions, the order, sequence, and correctness of execution are necessary. Sometimes, if the system fails to handle race conditions properly, undesired errors can affect WordPress website(s).
  • Do not turn on the automatic updates feature in WordPress. This option helps you automatically update Themes and Plugins when a new version rolls out. While auto-updates help users save Time, conflicts in WordPress could cost you more if a new feature doesn’t suit existing infrastructure.
  • A/B Testing new updates on a staging site would help. Before applying new updates, A/B Testing on a staging site helps avoid unexpected errors, maintenance gaps, and performance issues. A staging site is simply a lab for WordPress experiments, PHP testing, and conclusions to check, fix, and solve various problems before applying it to a live website(s).
  • The individual page for WordPress’ Core Updates is Dashboard -> Updates. Remember, postponing core update(s) would avoid errors if you’re updating Themes and Plugins.
  • Manual updating requires extensive of how the backend works, such as cPanel infrastructure. If you need to learn how to proceed, keep the same. Also, it would help if you take periodic backups before making any change(s).
  • Accessing the cPanel area will create login problems if you use an unstable Internet connection. If, for example, you’re banned from accessing the Hosting cPanel area, ensure the IP address is unblocked from the Hosting end. In this case, contacting the Support Channel would help.
  • Renaming old versions’ directories on the Web Server is necessary before you upload a new package. If not, name conflicts will make your life easier.
  • Updating Plugins will lose 3rd party Integration(s). Once you’ve finished the updating, ensure you’ve re-performed the Integration process. Similarly, if you’re using manual Integration(s), such as manual API, ensure you’ve adjusted things accordingly.

Professional Tips

  • Updates and new versions of WordPress should strengthen security. Installing new updates on time is necessary to block loopholes and prevent hackers from accessing your site.
  • Re-installing WordPress from the dashboard would erase everything. Keep in mind that updating WordPress from the dashboard is the only option if you would like to keep WordPress infrastructure safe.
  • You may need to run updates manually using a custom Theme or Plugin. In this scenario, installing updates requires manual procedures, such as uploading Files. This can also happen in Themeforest’s Themes or Plugins if you’ve developed a custom Theme or Plugin.
  • If you’re expert enough, running Database Cleanup would help after installing updates. This allows users to remove extra files.
  • It would help to read about new updates before installing them. This enables you to decide better. For example, if the latest updates include security patches, proceed confidently. On the other hand, if a new update includes minor changes, such as design-related ones, postponing updates can help you save time, avoid A/B testing, and move forward with the existing infrastructure stable and smoothly.
  • Test your site’s page speed after installing new updates. It is necessary to monitor page speed. For example, if a new update enormously affects page speed, it would help if you took a new road instead. Here, we can only let the site’s page speed affect it; the ranking drops may happen if we care.

wp tech support

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are WordPress Updates?

In simple words, new versions of Tools with improvements are called Updates. For example, a Theme’s new Update includes performance improvements, new features, and more options.

Why are Updates necessary?

Updates are necessary for various reasons, including security, user experience, rankings on search engines, new features, and performance improvements. Once you’ve run A/B Testing for the latest updates, updating WordPress infrastructure will always help you improve performance.

How to update WordPress assets (WordPress Core Files, Themes, and Plugins)?

Visit your site’s Dashboard -> Updates page to check for new or minor updates. You can also visit Theme or Plugin’s pages, such as the following:

  • Appearance -> Themes
  • Plugins -> Installed Plugins

If, for example, you’re using a custom application, contacting Support Vendors will help. In this case, updating custom assets requires manual procedures, such as uploading Files to the Web Server.

How to check new Updates?

Users can check new updates in the WordPress dashboard. On the Dashboard -> Updates page, update notifications are shown in categories. The latest theme updates are in one place, and Plugins are in a different section.

You can make changes accordingly to update Themes or Plugins. Selecting multiple assets is possible; however, updating various assets with a click is not recommended. Also, make sure you’ve turned the automated updates feature OFF. It helps you avoid WordPress conflicts.

What are ways to update WordPress assets?

Various procedures exist to update WordPress Core Files, Themes, and Plugins from older versions. The primary approach involves visiting the Updates page in the Dashboard.

Similarly, users can update Themes and Plugins on individual pages. Here, visit Appearance -> Themes page for Themes and Plugins -> Installed Plugins to update WordPress plugins.

Wrapping up (Over to You)

Due to the open-source nature of WordPress, updates are critical. Overlooking updates can result in:

  • Site takeovers due to security loopholes
  • Issues in user experience
  • Conflicts and incompatibilities while integrating 3rd party apps
  • Outdated features in Themes and Plugins
  • No vendors support outdated infrastructure due to the implementation of no new updates.

Updating to the latest version of WordPress is a few clicks away. There are no fancy routines involved in the process. Now, visit your dashboard’s Updates page for more information.

Before installing new updates, make sure you’ve arranged the following:

  • Backups
  • Testing on a staging website helps avoid unexpected errors caused by new updates and caching.

If you’re less Technical or working from a tutorial, ask for developers’ assistance. Ask our specialists for more information on WordPress updates, maintenance, SEO, and error removals.

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