At Webstix, we keep up on when upgrades to software come out. It's, of course, important to stay up to date with these upgrades and patches to help protect your website since it's a major point of contact for your customers. We discuss this a lot on our support blog.
Some WordPress upgrades are minor with just a few bugs fixed and other releases are major upgrades. Here is what WordPress is saying about how they do version releases:
After the 2.1 release, we decided to adopt a regular release schedule every 3-4 months with the features primarily driven by ideas voted on by our users.
The month prior to a release new features are frozen and the focus is entirely on ensuring the quality of the release by eliminating bugs and profiling the code for any performance issues.
WordPress upgrades are relatively easy. There is a program included to do the update yourself. You may or may not need to know your FTP credentials/login in order to do the update - that will depend on how your hosting is set up. Here are a few links regarding upgrading/updating WordPress in case you want to know more about it:
With that said, we do not suggest that you do a major release upgrade yourself. We suggest that you have us do it. We provide a WordPress upgrade program.
With these releases, there are often some major changes and there is a higher chance of things going wrong. Doing a major release upgrade can cause your website to not work anymore. New software could conflict with plugins or the theme being used. You never know what might happen.
With major upgrades, you want to definitely make sure that you have backups of both the website files and the database in case there are problems. If there are problems, the previous version of everything can be reinstalled. If you're not familiar with how to do this, then your website could be down a while and you should contact us and use our maintenance program to get your WordPress website back up and running.
The same thing can happen with plugins. There may be some customization or custom coding done with the plugins on your website and upgrading them could break them. Also, new plugins could conflict with other plugins or the theme. Most plugin upgrades go smoothly but the possibility of these problems does exist and you should have fresh backups ready.
Webstix can also help you with upgrading your WordPress plugins.
It's worth mentioning that besides our upgrade program, we offer hosting on our Webstix X-Press side where WordPress upgrades are done automatically for you when they come out. This takes these upgrades out of your mind.
There are a few ways you can stay up to date about updates that come out for WordPress:
With software of any kind, things can happen. Upgrades to WordPress are getting easier but with all the plugins and themes out there, you have to expect the unexpected. It's better to play it safe when it comes to WordPress upgrades and Webstix can help you. Contact us for more information.