How Frequently Should You Upgrade WordPress?

WordPress is a package of programs and files (software) with built-in functionality that makes it easy for users to focus on writing in their blogs, and leaves the heavy-lifting (archiving, re-categorizing blog posts by date, category, sub category, and tag,  adding content to the search capability, etc) to WordPress.

As a “software” package, WordPress needs to be upgraded just like your desktop “software” packages like Quicken®, Microsoft Word®, and  Adobe Photoshop®.  Every quarter or two a new version of WordPress is released. And versions are released within a much shorter time span when they are security releases.

If your website is built on a WordPress platform or your blog is on a WordPress platform, you should be periodically upgrading the WordPress software package. (Updating your website, blog or content is separate from  upgrading the WordPress software package. Your website, blog or content sits on WordPress and is managed by the WordPress software package.)

The recommendations that I make to my WordPress clients is:

  • Upgrade WordPress once per year at a minimum. Upgrading once per year, keeps costs to a minimum and ensures that your version of WordPress is not so far away from the current “supported” version.
  • Regardless of when you upgraded your WordPress software package last, upgrade it immediately if there is a security release.
  • Do not upgrade your WordPress software the moment a new version is released.  Wait a couple of months to 6 months, then read the feedback in the forums to see how smoothly the upgrade went for those who have aleready upgraded. Use their feedback to prepare you for your upgrade. 

TIP: The further away your version gets from the current supported release: the harder it is to upgrade, the more time-consuming it is to upgrade, the more expensive it is to upgrade. To check for the latest release, go to WordPress.org and read the Download Button.

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