You already know that through the use of “plug-ins” – small packages of code that can add a discreet and focused functionality to a WordPress website – it’s possible to take your websites to the next level.
But like WordPress itself, plug-ins get improved and updated over time. When you log into your WordPress admin area and you see Plugin Update notifications like the ones shown below you have plugin(s) that needed to be updated.
It may seem easy to just ignore the update notifications but it’s important that you make sure the WordPress plug-ins you’re using are always up-to-date. Here are three reasons to update your WordPress plugins.
- Outdated Plugins Can Break Your Site
- Outdated Plugins Can be a Security Risk
- Outdated Plugins Can Put You Behind Your Competition
Your website is the face of your business or organization on the Internet. It’s one thing to have a website that might look a little outdated or plain – that’s not ideal, but many customers will look past it. It’s completely another matter if your website is broken, doesn’t function the way people expect it to or has error pages that ruin your visitors’ experiences.
Unfortunately, a plug-in that is no longer compatible with an updated version of WordPress itself (particularly if the most recent WordPress upgrade was a major one) can cause a significant loss of functionality or, depending on what the plug-in does, make it so that the site won’t even load into a user’s browser.
Sometimes an outdated WordPress plug-in can cause an even bigger problem than a loss of functionality. Depending on how old it is, an out of date plug-in could even put your entire website at a security risk.
For example, some plug-ins (particularly those relating to e-commerce or subscription lists) interface with databases in your WordPress website that contain sensitive customer contact and financial information. An out of date plug-in that allows a hacker to gain access to any of this information is a significant liability to your website – in terms of both direct financial liability, as well as potential damage to your reputation if the information is ever compromised.
Even if an outdated plug-in on your website still functions, the current version might have improved functionality or additional features. This means that any other website that uses the updated version of that plug-in will be able to offer more to the people who come to their website.
Since the best plug-ins for a particular functionality are often used by a number of websites, running an out of date version will often be particularly noticeable to your customers and website visitors.
In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of WordPress, you need to stay current on all WordPress updates. This includes making sure that all of your website plug-ins are running on the most current and stable version. By avoiding outdated plug-ins, you can be confident that your website will function optimally.
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