Are WordPress Auto Updates Safe?

Jan 23, 2019 | Tech Stuff, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Wednesday

Are WordPress Auto updates safe? All WordPress websites require updates – plugin updates, theme updates, and core WordPress file updates. Knowing that for security purposes we want to keep things up to date, sometimes it’s easier to just allow your Hosting company to auto-update, or set up a plugin to do it. What’s the best practice when it comes to handling this required task each month?

Full Transcript

Hey, y’all. Welcome to another WordPress Wednesday. My name is Kori Ashton, and every Wednesday I am hanging out right here on YouTube to help you improve your online marketing, specifically inside the world of WordPress.

And today I’ve got a question from one of my awesome subscribers, and I’m gonna share that with you right now. It’s all about automatic updates. Anna writes in,

“Hey Kori, Love your videos etc- “you make it all sound so simple. “I build websites and I often refer to your information- “so thank you! “I have tried to find it on your site, but do you have a blog or video about the pro’s and con’s of having ‘automatic updates’? Thanks, Anna”

No, thank you, Anna. I appreciate having ideas for content, and your questions, anybody sending in questions, for that matter, really helps me get an idea and a pulse on what your needs are, and kinda what level of my audience is paying attention and asking me for help. So, thank you so much for sending those in, and if you have questions, be sure to come over to, submit those, or Tweet to me. Alright.

So, automatic updates. What are best practices? We all know that whenever we’re dealing with WordPress, we login our dashboards and we get updates like this: Notifications that your core is needing updates, your theme is needing updates, all your plugins need updating. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes my stomach starts to turn a little bit in fear of breaking something. So this is why, in the past, I have always said, you need to manually handle all of your updates, especially if you have 12 or more plugins running on your website.

You need to absolutely be methodical on how you go in here and do it. You need to be certain that there’s a backup in place. Of course, I preach that! Be certain you have a backup in place. Be sure you also know how to click and roll back the site if something does break. Better yet, test all this in the staging environment, right? Be certain it all works there, and then come over and do it in the live environment.

So, there’s definitely best practices when it comes to how to actually execute these things. But when you’re talking about setting and forgetting, kind of implementing some sort of an automatic update process, What are best practices? Should you be using something like that? Again, I would say that this really depends on the plugin that you’re using, or the service that you’re using to accomplish this.

If you’re using something like iThemes Sync, I’m kinda blown away with the safety net that they have to provide this type of service for WordPress websites.

iThemes Sync Features

So, a lot of cool features here. I’m just gonna punch through them, as a solution for handling your automatic updates inside of WordPress.

All-in-one Dashboard

They have an all-in-one dashboard where you can see all of your websites that you’re managing at one time. Which is a super-cool feature. It gives you one dashboard to log into, looks something like this, allows you to see all the different installs. You get to see very quickly what plugins are needing updating, what themes need updating, what core. And, here’s the thing, you can go into each and every one of these individually, and set it to automatically update, or set it to be locked down and do a manual update.

So that’s set individually. You can also come in here and then see those that are running the automatic updates. We’ll have alerts if there’s anything that’s concerning about the site. So, here’s what happens very quickly, kinda behind the scenes. When it knows that there’s an update that needs to run, it will go over very quickly and test it first in a staging environment of its own.

If any error messages kick out, it will pause the update from happening automatically and send you a notification asking you to check it out and be certain you want to go ahead and push that update through. But it’s gonna tell you what that error message is. This ensures that nothing goes live on your site for an update that might break. Mind blown, phenomenal safety net for you.

So, if you are using a solution like this, I’m all for it. Go for it, Anna. Click update. Click automatic update and set it and forget it type of scenario, right? But what I don’t want you to do, is run a plugin or tell your hosting service, please go ahead and update everything, and then you’re not knowing when that’s being pushed through, whether that’s on Tuesday at two o’clock, or whatever that looks like.

Monitor Uptime of Website

Some of the other features, really quickly here, with iTheme Sync, because I’m just so blown away by it. It will also monitor the uptime of the website, each individual install.


You can also send out, you can have a custom dashboard and send out reports. This one got me excited because a lot of clients wonder, well, what are you doing for me, every month? This particular system will allow you to put in their email address and set it to automatically send out at the end of every day, every week, every month, every year, whatever you set it to.

Send out a report and let them know, this is all the work that’s been accomplished for your website this month. And, the exciting thing is, some of those things will be automatic, and it’ll look like you are just grindin’ for that client, which is really exciting to see. You know that there’s this safety net here, though, to ensure that their website is running perfectly.

So, your hosting company might provide something like this for you, especially if you are running on Liquid Web. Because they own iThemes, right? So, whenever you’re at hosting with these guys, you actually get this included in any of your packages. iTheme Sync is included. So, if you’re looking for another hosting solution, check out Liquid Web, look at their managed WordPress pricing, get in here and see if you can partner with them to get that great service, or you can get it kinda a la carte over here. I’ll put the links to both these in the description below.

Realize, as well, that both, as of today, are running specials, discounts goin’ on. This one up here, Liquid Web, is running 33% off for the first three months, and iThemes is running 35% off site-wide. So, very exciting.

Oh! In the budget, there is a free version of iTheme Sync, so check that out. You do get free, and free is always in the budget. And then, for a little bit more, you get a whole lot more, if you’re able to jump to a premium and have a little bit in your budget to spend.

Hey, I hope this helps you guys. Every Wednesday, I’m here on YouTube, helping you improve your online marketing. And I have over 300 videos in my library to go check out here for free.

If you’re interested in joining the community that we’re talking about, improving your freelance business, improving your small agency and how to grow it, I have an entire community over on Vimeo, where you can come join me every month as we’re doing webinars, and we’re kinda working through a little bit more advanced conversation about growing your revenue, improving your process, how to find clients, all sorts of great conversation happening over there. I hope to see you next WordPress Wednesday. Bye, y’all.