Chapter 33. Keeping Up to Date
Like any software, WordPress is constantly being improved — more features, better speed, increased security, and so on — as are the themes and plugins. Fortunately, keeping them all up to date is pretty straightforward.
Why should you update? I've seen WordPress sites still happily running on Version 2.0. The only trouble is, some security holes have since been plugged and that's the number one reason for updating. Having access to new features and a better interface (there's no comparison between the admin screen of Version 2 and Version 2.8) are the other reasons for keeping up. Also, the longer you leave an update, the greater the chance of problems because over time the database structure can change significantly, and trying to make all those changes at one sitting may be impossible (at least with an automated update).
On the other hand, rushing to do a new update is not always advisable either. Despite vigorous testing, we all know that software can still come to market with minor or even major bugs that should be fixed. It isn't until they're released that these problems may present themselves, so it can be wise to wait a few weeks after a new update, unless of course the bug is so major that your site is at risk.
Even at its most difficult — a manual update — keeping WordPress current is a fairly simple task. Since Version 2.7, WordPress has featured a built-in automated update, and plugins that automate the process are available ...