Automatically update wordpress plugins

New Page cPanel /January 12, 2021 / Products

WordPress® Automatic Updates – Should You Use Them?

Open source projects like WordPress have enabled millions of people to have an online presence. Hackers are a factor affecting the open source community. The nature of open source and its security transparency opens the door to constant hacking attempts by ruthless hackers, bots, and script-kiddies. The best way to prevent your WordPress site from being hacked is to keep your WordPress version, themes, and plugins up to date. Keeping WordPress up to date can be a challenge for small businesses that don’t employ a webmaster, and large agencies that run hundreds of WordPress sites.

To help manage the WordPress update issue, WordPress 5.5 introduced auto-update options for plugins and themes last year. Prior to version 5.5, these update features were only available through third-party plug-ins or services. But do automatic updates fix the problem or introduce even more problems? This article will discuss the pros and cons of automatic updates and the best methods to keep WordPress up to date.

How Does WordPress Automatic Updates Work?

In WordPress 5.5, you have the option to manually enable automatic updates for your plugins and themes. When enabled, WordPress runs WP-Cron several times a day to check for available updates. WP-Cron is a CronJob for WordPress that handles time-based job scheduling in WordPress. After running WP-Cron, if a new version of the theme or plugin is available, it will be downloaded and installed automatically.

The Benefits of WordPress Automatic Updates

Safety should be your primary concern; According to a recent Imperva report, 98% of WordPress vulnerabilities are due to plugins.

By using automatic updates, your website will ensure that as soon as the developer releases an update or security patch, it will be updated on your website.  

Automatic updates benefit users who are not constantly logging in or managing their website. They also help users who run multiple WordPress sites by saving them countless hours of manual work.

The problem with WordPress automatic updates

At their core, automatic theme and plugin updates sound like a blessing, but they can have adverse effects on your website. Some possible scenarios are:

  • Your website crashes:   The automatic updater does not check for compatibility or conflicts with other plugins and scripts when installing the update. A simple JavaScript conflict can have profound implications. 
  • New vulnerabilities –   The purpose of automatic updates is to keep your website up to date with the latest software, but new features often come with new vulnerabilities.  

What if the automatic update breaks your site?

If you can still access your website and only see visual issues, you can always deactivate the updated plugin or theme. If your entire site is down, it might be time to restore your site with a backup. Keeping your website backups up to date is crucial these days. Several backup solutions are currently available:

  • WordPress Backup Plugins –   The WordPress plugin directory offers hundreds of website backup and maintenance solutions. 
  • Backup Services –   SaaS platforms such as Vaultpress offer real-time and scheduled backup services for WordPress websites.
  • Server-side backups: cPanel’s Backup Wizard and add-on services such as Jetbackup can be configured to back up your sites on a scheduled schedule. These services offer great customization and options.

How to Make Sure Your WordPress Site Doesn’t Break Automatic Updates

Disable automatic updates in WordPress and let WordPress Toolkit handle the process with Smart Updates! WordPress Toolkit Smart Updates works for both manual and automatic updates. Before committing these updates, you can view a side-by-side preview of your current site and the updated site to decide if you want to commit the updates. 

wptk_sm_2020

Smart Updates uses artificial intelligence to analyze updates and learn which are beneficial or not and then offers recommendations. It also creates easy rollbacks via Restore Points and Backups to make sure you never lose your site or data.

You can also disable plugins and themes even if you do not have access to your website. Since WordPress Toolkit runs at the server level inside of cPanel, you won’t be locked out of plugin and theme administration.

wptk_plugins2020

Find out more about Smart Updates and WordPress Toolkit for cPanel at: http://cpanel.net/wp-toolkit

The bottom line about WordPress auto-updates

Auto-updates for Themes and Plugins are a welcome update to WordPress, and as Matt Mullenweg revealed in his 2020 State of the Word, this is just the beginning of an install it, set it and forget it approach for updates. We look forward to the upcoming auto-updates and security enhancements in WordPress. No matter how advanced WordPress updates and security get, there will still be a need for server-level security and administration. cPanel and WordPress Toolkit are here to keep your websites secure and updated.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please let us know. We are here to help in the best ways we can. You’ll find us on Discord, the cPanel forums, and Reddit. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins and Themes

Last updated on February 1st, 2021 by Editorial Staff | Reader DisclosureDisclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

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Recently one of our readers asked how they can automatically update WordPress plugins. Many users find it annoying that almost every other day they have to update a plugin. In this article, we will show you how to enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins. We will also show you how to exclude some plugins from automatic updates.

How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins

When and Why You Should Automatically Update WordPress Plugins?

By default WordPress can automatically update itself when a security or minor release is available. For major releases, you have to initiate the update yourself. You also have to install plugin and theme updates yourself.

Keeping your WordPress site updated is crucial for security and stability of your site. See our guide on why you should always use the latest version of WordPress.

Same goes for all plugins and themes installed on your website. You need to install updates for themes and plugins to get new features and fixes.

However, you may have noticed that some of them are updated more frequently than others. A lot of popular plugins are updated almost weekly.

WordPress updates wordpress updates

Some users find it a bit distracting, that whenever they login there is an update available for one or more plugins.

What if you could allow trusted developers to auto-update plugins similar to WordPress.

Let’s take a look at how you can automatically update plugins in WordPress.

How to Automatically Install Updates for Some Plugins in WordPress

WordPress introduces automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes in WordPress 5.5. This allows you to enable automatic updates for individual WordPress plugins and themes directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Enabling Auto Updates for Individual Plugins

Simply visit the Plugins » Installed Plugins page inside WordPress admin area. Here you’ll see the list of all your installed plugins with a link to ‘Enable auto-updates’ next to each plugin.

Enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins Enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins

You need to click on the ‘Enable auto-updates’ link to turn on automatic updates for individual plugins.

Enabling Auto Updates for WordPress Themes

For WordPress themes, you need visit Appearance » Themes and click on the theme you want to automatically update.

This will bring up the theme information pop-up. From here, you can click on the ‘Enable auto-updates’ link to turn on automatic updates for that theme.

Automatic theme updates Automatic theme updates

That’s all. WordPress will now automatically update these plugins and themes whenever a new version is available. You’ll also get an email notification whenever a new update is installed on your website.

Setting up Automatic Update for All WordPress Plugins

You can set WordPress to automatically install all plugin updates by simply adding this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

1

add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’ , ‘__return_true’ );

This filter tells WordPress automatic updater to automatically install plugin updates when they’re available.

If you also want to automatically update your themes, then you can add another code like this:

1

add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’ , ‘__return_true’ );

How to Rollback to a Previous Version of Plugin After Update?

Plugin or theme incompatibilities can cause trouble for your website. Even though most good developers thoroughly test their plugins, there are always rare bugs that can cause your site to break.

The first step you should take to protect your website is to install a WordPress backup solution.

However, restoring your WordPress site from a backup seems like a lot of work. If you know what plugin or theme update caused the problem, then it would be easier to just rollback the update.

Here is how you can easily rollback plugin or theme updates. Simply install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.

Upon activation, go back to the plugins page on your WordPress site. You will notice a new Rollback option below each plugin installed on your site.

Restore plugins Restore to previous versions plugin

Clicking on Rollback will allow you to rollback your plugin to any previous version you want. It can also rollback theme updates. For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to rollback WordPress plugins.

We hope this article helped you setup automatic updates for plugins in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to enable automatic updates in WordPress for major releases.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins and Themes

Last updated on February 1st, 2021 by Editorial Staff | Reader DisclosureDisclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

Shares 260 Share Tweet Share Facebook Messenger WhatsApp Email

Recently one of our readers asked how they can automatically update WordPress plugins. Many users find it annoying that almost every other day they have to update a plugin. In this article, we will show you how to enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins. We will also show you how to exclude some plugins from automatic updates.

How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins How to Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins

When and Why You Should Automatically Update WordPress Plugins?

By default WordPress can automatically update itself when a security or minor release is available. For major releases, you have to initiate the update yourself. You also have to install plugin and theme updates yourself.

Keeping your WordPress site updated is crucial for security and stability of your site. See our guide on why you should always use the latest version of WordPress.

Same goes for all plugins and themes installed on your website. You need to install updates for themes and plugins to get new features and fixes.

However, you may have noticed that some of them are updated more frequently than others. A lot of popular plugins are updated almost weekly.

WordPress updates wordpress updates

Some users find it a bit distracting, that whenever they login there is an update available for one or more plugins.

What if you could allow trusted developers to auto-update plugins similar to WordPress.

Let’s take a look at how you can automatically update plugins in WordPress.

How to Automatically Install Updates for Some Plugins in WordPress

WordPress introduces automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes in WordPress 5.5. This allows you to enable automatic updates for individual WordPress plugins and themes directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Enabling Auto Updates for Individual Plugins

Simply visit the Plugins » Installed Plugins page inside WordPress admin area. Here you’ll see the list of all your installed plugins with a link to ‘Enable auto-updates’ next to each plugin.

Enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins Enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins

You need to click on the ‘Enable auto-updates’ link to turn on automatic updates for individual plugins.

Enable automatic updates for WordPress themes

For WordPress themes, you need to visit Appearance » Themes and click on the theme you want to auto-update.

This will open the theme information popup. From there, you can click on the “Enable automatic updates” link to enable automatic updates for this theme.

Automatic theme updates Automatic theme updates

That’s all. WordPress will now automatically update these plugins and themes whenever a new version becomes available. You will also receive an email notification whenever a new update is installed on your website.

Auto-update setting for all WordPress plugins

You can configure WordPress to automatically install all plugin updates simply by adding this code to your theme’s functions.php file or to a site-specific plugin.

1

add_filter(‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’);

This filter tells the WordPress auto-updater to automatically install plugin updates when available.

If you also want to automatically update your themes, you can add another code like this:

1

add_filter(‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’);

How to revert to a previous version of the plugin after upgrading?

Plugin or theme incompatibilities can cause problems on your website. Although most good developers thoroughly test their plugins, there are still rare bugs that can cause your site to crash.

The first step in protecting your website is to install a WordPress backup solution.

However, restoring your WordPress site from a backup seems like a lot of work. If you know which plugin or theme update caused the problem, it would be easier to roll back the update.

This is how you can easily undo plugin or theme updates. Simply install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.

Upon activation, return to the plugins page on your WordPress site. You will notice a new restore option under each plugin installed on your site.

Restore plugins Restore to previous versions plugin

Clicking Revert will allow you to revert your plugin to the previous version of your choice. You can also cancel theme updates. For more detailed instructions, see our guide on how to reset WordPress plugins.

We hope this article helped you set up automatic updates for plugins in WordPress. You can also check out our guide on how to enable automatic updates in WordPress for major releases.

If you liked this article, please subscribe to our YouTube channel for WordPress tutorial videos. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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