WordPress Updates

Demystifying Updates: A Step-by-Step Guide on Updating Your WordPress Website and Plugins

Have you been on the WordPress dashboard of your website lately? I’m sure you’ve noticed the little red notification asking you to update your plugins. Now, be honest, did you just ignore it and carry on with what you came for? I totally get it!


Updating your plugins might seem like just another chore for your website, something you’d rather put off. But believe me, just like with your phone, it’s super important to keep your WordPress core and plugins up to date. It ensures the security and performance of your website. Plus, spending two minutes now could save you hours of trouble later on.


However, let’s not rush into it and click “update all” without taking some additional steps. We need to make sure everything goes smoothly.


In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of efficiently updating your WordPress Core and plugins. So, let’s get started!

Things to do before updating your website

Backup your website

Sometimes plugins aren’t compatible, and you don’t know that until you have run the updates, so having a backup handy means you can just roll your website back to the previous version and it’ll be back online in seconds.

Your host should back up your website, but I always recommend UpdraftPlus, which is completely free or SolidWP (Formerly iThemes), which is what I use on my own website, and all websites I take care of on a Care Plan.

Backup Your WordPress Website

Set your backups to run regularly to cloud storage, that way, if anything does happen to go wrong, you can easily access the backup and restore your website in no time.

Update your WordPress Core First

WordPress Core is like the operating software on your phone, it’s important for security and performance to make sure it’s running the latest software, so when there is a new update, run it.


To update your WordPress Core, login to your WP admin area and go to Dashboard and click Updates.

Update Your WordPress Core First

If there is a new WordPress version, click the ‘Update Now’ button. If there isn’t it will show ‘You have the latest version of WordPress’.


After the update is complete, open your website in a new tab to make everything looks good, then lets move onto the plugins.

Update your WordPress Plugins

Plugins are just like the apps on your phone. They are updated regularly with new features and are the biggest security risk to your website if they are not kept up to date.


To update your plugins, head back to your Dashboard and to the Updates page. Scroll down until you see Plugins.

Select all the plugins you wish to update, or click ‘select all’ and click ‘Update Plugins’.

As before, check the ‘front end’ of your website to see if there are any error messages or problems with your site. Sometimes you may find a plugin is not compatible with the latest WordPress version.

Update your WordPress Theme

Now that you have updated the WP core and all your plugins, and checked that your website is working, we can now update your theme.


Once you are ready to update your theme, simply scroll to the ‘Themes’ section at the bottom of the Updates page.

Update Your WordPress Theme

Select the themes you want to update, then click Update Themes.

Create a staging website (optional)

This is getting a little technical now, but I recommend you have a staging site. This is just a copy of your live site but it allows you to run updates as well as test new features without it affecting your main website.

There you go, you have successfully updated your WordPress website!


By using this guide, you can keep your website up to date, while minimising the risk of compatibility issues or security vulnerabilities.


Always remember to back up your website before you run updates, but by automating the backup to save to your cloud storage, you will always have a handy copy.

If you need help taking care of your WordPress website, I can run through all of the steps in a Power Hour  but if you need a little more support with your website, let me take care of it.