Why you shouldn't auto-update plugins on your WordPress website

While the convenience of auto-updating plugins on your WordPress website might seem enticing, there are serious considerations that caution against this practice. Unforeseen compatibility issues, potential disruptions to site functionality, and the risk of losing customisations are just a few drawbacks.

In this blog post, we delve into the reasons why auto-updating your WordPress plugins may not always be the best route to take for the longevity and functionality of your site.

The Appeal of Automatic Updates of WordPress Site

the appeal ofautomatic software updates of wordpress site

The allure of automatic updates is predominantly hinged on their convenience and efficiency. For busy business owners and web administrators, automatic updates can seem like an ideal solution. These updates are typically designed to run in the background, alleviating the need for manual intervention and oversight. This means that the latest security patches and bug fixes can be implemented promptly, potentially safeguarding the website against potential threats and security vulnerabilities further.

Especially with the growing number of plugins modern websites require to function optimally, manually keeping up can be time-consuming. Therefore, automatic updates can significantly streamline the process, saving valuable time and resources. This efficiency, coupled with the ease of management, makes automatic updates an attractive feature for many.

The Potential Pitfalls of Automatic Software Updates

problems of automated website maintenance update

Automatic updates, while designed to keep systems secure and up-to-date, can at times pose challenges and create serious disruptions, particularly for businesses that heavily rely on the seamless functionality of their websites and applications.

Here, we delve into some of the potential pitfalls of automatic updates.

1. Lack of Control:

Automatic updates are typically scheduled and implemented by software developers or providers without the end user's intervention. This lack of control and access can be problematic, as updates might occur at inconvenient times, causing disruptions in service and operations.

2. Unforeseen Consequences:

Due to the unpredictability of when updates are made, there may be unintended consequences, such as compatibility issues with existing software or systems, or technical issues, which can cause disruptions and require additional time and resources to resolve or fix.

3. Unexpected Downtime:

The implementation of automatic updates can, at times, cause websites to go offline, impacting both the users and the owners. For businesses, any period of downtime can translate to a loss of revenue and customer trust.

4. Loss of Data:

If the maintenance plan not executed properly, automatic updates might result in loss of important data, particularly if the updates involve significant changes or overhauls to the existing system. This may necessitate time-consuming and costly data recovery efforts.

5. Extended Recovery Time:

extended recovery time

While some updates are seamless, others may result in longer-than-anticipated periods of downtime due to unforeseen complications, like software bugs or conflicts. The time spent on troubleshooting and rectifying such issues can further extend the downtime period.

6. Resource Intensive:

A longer period of downtime means more resources are spent to bring the system back online. This involves not only the financial costs but also the manpower required to resolve and manage the issues, which might divert attention from other critical tasks.

7. Customer Dissatisfaction and Loss:

Prolonged periods of downtime can lead to increased customer dissatisfaction and potential loss of clients as they may perceive the service as unreliable. Repairing such damage to a company's reputation can be a lengthy and challenging process.

The Role of Plugins in Update Issues

the role of plugins in update issues

Plugins play a vital role in enhancing the functionality and user experience of a website. However, they can also be the source of potential update problems. The crux of the issue lies in the unpredictable nature of plugin behaviour post-update. The landscape of WordPress plugins is massive, with up to date system of thousands of plugins available, each developed by different teams, following their unique coding standards and practices.

As such, while some plugins may continue to function seamlessly post-update, others may not, leading to a wide array of potential issues, such as broken website features, slow website performance, or even total website failure. The fact that any one of these plugins could be the culprit adds a layer of uncertainty and complexity to the situation.

Furthermore, pinpointing the problematic plugin can be a daunting task, particularly when a website utilises numerous plugins. This uncertainty security vulnerability and potential for disruption underscore the need for caution in opting for automatic updates for WordPress plugins. As much as updates are essential for security and functionality, the potential for plugin-related issues necessitates a careful, considered approach to updates.

Why you should do Manual Software Updates

why you should do manual software updates

Manual updating offers numerous benefits over automatic updates, with the key advantage being the element of control and oversight.

When updates are performed manually, website administrators can decide when the process will take place, thereby mitigating any potential downtime during business-critical hours. This scheduling flexibility can ensure that any disruptions caused by the updating process are minimised, and any necessary troubleshooting can be carried out without significantly impacting regular website operations.

Manual updates also permit website administrators to install and test updates on a staging site before implementing them on the live site. This step can serve as a safeguard against any potential incompatibility issues or bugs that an update might introduce, as these can be identified and addressed before the update is deployed on the live site.

Moreover, control over updates allows for selective updating, where the administrator can choose to update only those plugins or services that are deemed necessary or safe to update at a given time. This can be especially beneficial in situations where a specific plugin update is known to cause issues.

In essence, while manual updates may require more time and effort compared to their automatic counterparts, the control and oversight they provide can result in a more stable and reliable website, ultimately enhancing the user experience and maintaining the integrity of the site.

For business owners seeking a smooth, hassle-free web page update process, we offer concise website maintenance packages. These full maintenance plans are designed to alleviate the challenges of manual updates, allowing owners to focus on their core business activities.

Our expert support team manages the intricacies of manual updates to ensure we maintain the reliability and user-friendliness of your site, delivering peace of mind and a seamless experience.


In conclusion, both automatic and manual updates come with their own sets of advantages and challenges. Automatic updates ensure your website stays updated with the current version and the latest features and security patches without any intervention. However, they may also lead to unforeseen consequences, unexpected downtime, loss of data, extended recovery time, and potential customer dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, manual updates grant you control over the update process, mitigate potential downtime, can save time, and allow for selective updating. Yet, they require more time and effort. It is essential to weigh these pros and cons as per your business needs and available resources.

Consider your specific situation: the nature of your site's performance and business, the availability of technical support know-how, and the extent of your website's reliance on plugins. An informed decision about your preferred update method can significantly impact your website's reliability, user experience, and overall success. Remember, a smooth, fully functioning website is key to upholding customer trust and maintaining your online presence.

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