Why You Can’t Set It and Forget It With WordPress Plugins

A Ronco Rotisserie Oven with the WordPress logo pasted on the right side.

Just set it and forget it. This phrase might work well for rotisserie ovens, but it doesn’t apply to everything. For instance, if you run your website on WordPress, you’ll know that plugins are a crucial feature.

Plugins are akin to apps on your smartphone. They enhance the functionality of your WordPress site, much like apps do for your phone. A well-designed WordPress plugin can add functionality to your website without the need for coding. It can assist with design, security, analytics, SEO, and much more.

However, using plugins on your WordPress site means you need to update them periodically. This could be due to various reasons, including security and design issues. Keeping track of all the plugins that need updating can be challenging. WordPress offers a feature that allows you to enable automatic plugin updates, meaning the server will update them for you.

While this might seem like a convenient solution, we advise against it. Plugin updates are one of those things that you can’t set and forget.

Your Site Could Crash

The most significant reason to avoid automatically updating your plugins is that it could crash your website. Your site could go offline due to updating the WordPress plugins. While occasional downtime is inevitable, the problem arises when everything updates automatically, and there’s no way to track what gets updated and when. You won’t know which plugin caused the crash.

Why would a plugin crash your website? It might seem unlikely, but there are several reasons:

  • The plugin could be poorly coded.
  • The plugin could cause a conflict with another plugin on your WordPress website.
  • It could cause a conflict with the theme you use for your WordPress site.
  • There could even be a conflict with the WordPress version you use for your site.

Any one of these scenarios could happen to your website. And if you’re updating your plugins automatically, it can be impossible to know what the culprit is.

Having your website down for any period can be costly. You want your site to be running 24/7/365. If it’s not, it can hurt your reputation. The average website is down an average of 3 hours per month. Nobody is going to want to visit your site if it’s down that often.

If you’re a business that makes money through your site, this can cost you revenue. You can determine that through the formula of (Average Hourly Revenue / 60) x Minutes of Downtime.

If you run a retail website, for example, you’ll feel those costs directly. When Amazon’s website went down in 2021, the site estimated they lost $34 million in revenue.

The biggest issue is that you’re losing opportunities to gain new customers. You have a product or service that is incredible. But if your site goes down, how will people find it?

Depending on your provider, it should be easy to restore your website to how it looked before it went down.

Let Webster Digital Marketing Handle Your WordPress Updates

If you need help keeping your WordPress website up to date on everything, including plugins, then contact us today.