WordPress released their latest update called “Ecksteine“. It is available in your WordPress dashboard and for download.
It addresses three important areas: Speed, Search and Security.
Speed. is said to be addressed through improving loading times of pages and posts thanks to lazy-loaded images.
Search. results are improved by WordPress 5.5. now including an XML sitemap by default so that search engines discover your key pages right from the start.
Security. plugins and themes can now be set to auto-update. While I think that’s really useful, convenient and I am all for automation in principle – it doesn’t take an important aspect into account: system SECURITY.
If you are like me you have a) had cases where a plugin update installation corrupted an entire website and b) you apply best practices and make/trigger a full backup of your website before and after installing updates.
So having all plugins and themes set to auto-update in my view can lead to serious issues if you’re among the small percentage of people who have something go wrong during install. It happens rarely and I ask myself “Can I afford for it to happen to me or any of my clients even once?”
My answer is NO! Updating without prior backup and monitoring the process is a no go for me.
If your website breaks after an auto-update you won’t know until sometime after the fact. Hopefully you’ll have a recent backup. If your last backup wasn’t right after the last changes or right before the update, well … you’re screwed.
This whole thing is not an issue if you always make a full website backup after making any changes like writing a single post or changing a page… Seriously … who does that in reality though?
My recommendation is to enable the auto-update feature AFTER installing a backup solution and scheduling daily backups.
Be careful though with the number of backups you choose to keep. Being able to choose interval and frequency should be a must have feature of the backup plugin BTW.
Check your hosting agreement for the amount of storage you have a) rented and b) your site currently occupies before you setup a backup schedule. Keeping too many backups can quickly exhaust your hosting storage capacity and cause all sorts of issues like extra bills to pay for additional storage.
Not good if it can be avoided!
Some experience based recommendations:
I recommend the super simple no cloud storage needed free plugin BackupWordpress bby XIBO Ltd. I appreciate its simplicity. Updraft Plus by UpdraftPlus.Com, DavidAnderson is a good alternative, I wasn’t able to choose my Google Drive destination folder in the free version though nor set the time of the backup.
Another great simple yet powerful tool is All-in-One WP Migration by ServMask. You can easily compress your entire website into a single file including its database. Essential when creating WordPress websites locally and then needing to transfer them to an online location. Here is an awesome guide How to Move WordPress from Localhost to Live Server: Beginners Guide – TemplateToaster Blog.