Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress Plugins and Themes

Enable Automatic Updates for WordPress

Many users, including me, find it annoying to find plugins and theme updates almost every other day on WordPress.

For the people who run multiple websites, updating themes and plugins manually could take a large chunk of time out of their schedule.

In this article, I will show you how to enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes. You will also be able to update the selected plugins automatically.

Why update WordPress plugins and themes?

WordPress is an open-source project and powers over 40% of the web. The CMS continuously gets updates and upgrades to keep it secure and adaptable to the modern web.

Sometimes the updates are only to patch security issues. However, significant upgrades add and remove functionalities, revamp UI and sometimes create substantial changes such as introducing Gutenberg editor.

Moreover, technologies supporting WordPress keep upgrading, and the app has to keep up with them. MySQL, PHP, Apache — are the leading technologies supporting WordPress.

As the WordPress team updates the application, the theme and plugin developers must upgrade to be compatible with the new WordPress version.

If you don’t update the WordPress themes and plugin, it could lead to security breaches, hacking attacks, and site breaking.

Outdated themes and plugins are the primary reason for WordPress hacking. 

  • Outdated WordPress sites caused 44% of hacking
  • 52% of WordPress vulnerabilities relate to WordPress plugins

Keeping the WordPress themes and plugins updated is critical from a security perspective.

How to enable automatic updates for selected WordPress plugins?

WordPress 5.5 comes with automatic updates for WordPress plugins and theme options.

You can select the WordPress plugins that you want to update automatically.

Simply log in to your websites, and find the Installed Plugin page. Here you will see the list of all the plugins installed on the website.

Enable Automatic Updates for Plugins

Click on Enable auto-updates for the plugins you want to get automatically updated. That’s it.

How to enable automatic updates for WordPress themes?

The process is similar for the WordPress themes. First, log in to your WordPress website and open the Theme page.

On the page, you will find all the themes installed on the website. Select anyone to open its setting box.

Enable Automatic Updates for Themes

You can see the Enable auto-updates link. Click on it to enable auto-update for this theme.

That’s it. You have enabled the automatic update for selected WordPress themes and plugins.

But what if you want to enable automatic updates for all WordPress plugins at once?

Enable Automatic Update for All WordPress Plugins and Themes

You can enable automatic updates for all WordPress plugins by adding the following code to the theme’s functions.php file.

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' );

The filter enables the WordPress automatic updater to update any install plugin whenever there is an update available.

For the WordPress themes, add the below code to the functions.php file.

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );

Should I enable the Automatic Update for Plugins and Themes?

If an automatic update for plugins and themes is important, then why is it off by default. Would not it make more sense if WordPress came out with it turned on already?

Well, every coin has two sides.

The automatic updates are unattended. There is no human interaction involved during the update. It means the updated code is deployed to the website without the webmaster’s or owner’s participation. 

If there is some critical process going on the website, then the process would halt, and the update will disrupt the work. Also, the update may start when the website has many visitors and can cause downtime.

Small blogs and websites can use the automatic update feature for their benefit. Because the website goes unattended for a long time, and outdated plugins and themes can make the website unsecure.

On the other hand, the large website cannot take the risk of deploying code unattended.

  • Concurrent auto-updates can fail: Multiple plugins may start updating at the same time and fail the website.
  • New issues: Each new update brings new issues while resolving the old ones. The latest issue may hurt the website’s functionality, and you would not notice it till you open the website.
  • What’s new: It might be difficult to conclude what the plugin has changed on the website and how it affects visitors’ experience. Most of the updates have tiny changes.
  • Compatibility problem: The updated plugin and themes may have compatibility issues with other plugins.

Despite being helpful, you should evaluate your website whether it is okay to keep the automatic updates on. The advantage-disadvantage ratio should be calculated to make a wise decision.

Also Read:

Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins for Event Registration
Automatically Log out Idle Users in WordPress
How to Reduce HTTP Requests in WordPress?

Wrap Up

If you are confused about whether to enable automatic updates of the plugins, the best solution is to select few plugins.

Don’t turn on automatic updates for all the plugins. Find out the plugins that require a consistent update, and automate the update for them.

After this tutorial, you know how you can enable automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes. 

If you encounter any troubles while doing this, please post it in the comments.

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