Importance of WordPress Upgrades Verses Updates
After working on putting together, writing and publishing my 4-part affiliate success series that basically gave away the store, when working on anything afterwards seemed pointless to me until now. Even though not every affiliate marketer has their own website or blog, enough do!
And even those who do have websites, not all are self hosted WordPress based sites. So for those of you who don’t have WordPress or have no interest in it at all, then this article is not for you. You are more than welcome to check out my other helpful articles, however!
With that out of the way, lets dig in to the question at hand about WordPress upgrades verses updates, “What’s the difference”?
WordPress Upgrades Verses Updates
Whenever you hear that a new version of WordPress has been released, you probably just go ahead and update it without realizing that there are differences. In fact, if you have been working with WordPress for any time, whenever a new update is released, it automatically updates your version to the latest one.
However, if it is a new version or upgrade, it will not do it unless you update it yourself.
For example, WordPress 4.0 is an upgrade or new (major) release. Where as WordPress 4.0.1 is an update for version 4.0. Same goes for 4.1 (upgrade) vs 4.1.1(update) and so on.
By the way, each major release is named in honor of a selected jazz musician that WordPress core developers admire. For 4.0, the honored musician was Benny Goodman.
NEW (MAJOR) VERSION UPGRADES
New major version releases have added functions and features that further extend the operation and abilities of WordPress. Also no longer needed functions, formats, code, and other unnecessary elements of WordPress are removed and known security issues addressed.
Each new release has been beta tested for awhile to help flush out any issues that need to be corrected or addressed. But still, a new release can (and often does) contain “bugs”, I’ll cover more on that later.
Whenever changes in code and formats happen with WordPress, often require that changes be made in themes and plugins as well so they will continue to function with the newest WordPress (and need to continue to work with older versions).
But this doesn’t always happen or happen on time. And this, too, can cause issues when you update WordPress to the latest major version.
MINOR VERSION UPDATES
Whenever a minor update is released (like 4.1.1), it is to “fix” encountered issues that happened with the latest major release. This can be anything from minor code errors to open security holes that need plugged.
Remember, a team of developers are assigned to work on a particular section. It may not fully integrate with other parts that other developers are working on until problems are encountered. And it is nearly impossible to find them all during beta testing.
Once these issues are brought to light, developers work on correcting these issues often by making minor programming tweaks or adding a line or two of code here and there to better integrate WordPress. Once done, the update is issued which fixes these problems.
Oftentimes, it is more than once.
When to Update WordPress
During the time I’ve been working with WordPress since version 2.5, I’ve come to learn NOT TO upgrade whenever a new (major) version of WordPress is released (when I remember to do it). I wait until the first minor update is offered before upgrading (and it is still no guarantee)
There has been enough times I’ve encountered issues that has caused me to revert back to the older version. This is for several reasons that I hinted to earlier on.
First whenever a major new version is released, it has only been beta tested. Even though beta tests help, they are not all inclusive. There are “bugs” in it, sometimes enough to take down your website. This is why they STRONGLY encourage you to do a backup before running the update.
It’s impossible for WordPress developers to test every theme and plugin available to work with the latest version. And sadly, many developers of themes and plugins don’t keep up like they should until they run into issues with it.
This means as a user, you are a guinea pig. If you have issues, then it is up to you to find the problem. You either have to switch back to the last version (with possible security issues) or discover what is causing the problem (like plugin or theme or combination there of).
To me WordPress is the best option for creating and running a website or blog. But even the best of things doesn’t always work smoothly. When WordPress releases a major new version, there are unforeseen problems associated with it.
It is often better to wait until the first minor update is released for the newest version before updating. When you do this, most likely the major issues encountered have been corrected, reputable theme and plugin vendors have caught up correcting any compatibility issues.
And most importantly, major headaches have been avoided or minimized! Happy blogging 🙂