WordPress Automatic Updates? Yikes!


wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbI always look forward to the latest and greatest WordPress release. They add cool new features like the ability to easily embed videos, or improved revision control.

But this time, I think they may have dropped the ball. I just don’t think the world is ready for automatic updates.

Personally, I like to be around to watch an update happen. I like to read about the update first, so I know what to expect. I sometimes like to wait a few days to give plugin authors a chance to update their scripts. But most importantly, I want to know immediately if an update fails, or worse, breaks my site.

Automatic updates does not give me the option to do any of that, and worse, WordPress does not make it easy to turn automatic updates off.

That said, I think it might be a good idea for some site owners who tend not to update (or even visit their sites) at all, and whose sites are small and uncomplicated. That’s not me, so I’ll be installing this plugin on all my blogs to turn this feature off.

Want more details about this new feature? Lynette Chandler has a great write up over at TechBasedMarketing.com.


  1. says

    I’m awful about updates. My site is small and uncomplicated and I often have 20 updates needed to be performed, lol. I don’t do much when it happens, just click the button and boom it’s done. I hope I won’t be too confused by the newness of it, but I must admit when I did update to the latest and then I got an email not long after I made my update saying that WordPress automatically updated my site I was a little mad because quite frankly I had no idea that was a new feature, and I felt a little violated, lol. I mean it’s weird since I pay so little attention to it, but shoot, don’t be updating on me like that. I must have control ;). Honestly, I’ll probably just leave it because when it comes to that stuff I’m so eh whatever about it. Hopefully I’ll come to appreciate it and feel less violated by it.

    • Cindy says

      Monica, you’re the one blogger I *would* leave auto-updates running for, then. With a small, uncomplicated site that otherwise might not get updated at all, I think auto-updates might be a good choice. And the good news is, there isn’t anything to be confused about. It’s just on. The only confusing thing is if you want to turn it off. Then you have to get a little geeky. :)

  2. says

    I updated to 3.7 and then it did the automatic update to 3.7.1.

    I see what you’re saying but it doesn’t really worry me. Maybe because I think the plugins I have are pretty stable and for the most part I never RELY on plugins so I can easily turn them off if I have problems. I’d say the only ones I really rely on are the iThemes Style Manager and Backup Buddy, both of which I trust are kept up with while WordPress updates as I’ve used them for years and never had any issues when I update (and I’m a hold your breath and update kind of person, but lately I don’t even worry).

    Again, I guess because if anything breaks I can fix it quick so it’s not big deal.

    I think there are some things people CAN do if they have the updates enabled so that they don’t have to worry so much.

    And… you know it’s just the small updates, right, not the major ones? I think that’s why I’m not too worried either.

    • says

      Oh I should also say this was for my Marketers Mojo site where I’ve got over 400 posts, a bunch of pages, 16 plugins and the iThemes Builder theme. It worked like a charm :)

    • Cindy says

      Good point Angela. I try to avoid plugins as much as possible, and the ones I do use are generally well-documented and supported, and unlikely to cause a problem. That said, I do maintain a couple of client sites that are heavily reliant on BIG plugins – not to mention some custom jobs – so with those I’m not willing to take the chance.

  3. Lynette Chandler says

    Thanks for sharing my post Cindy! I remembered something yesterday that I left out in that post so I updated it. Here’s what I said,

    “From what I read and understand, the automated minor updates only replace the changed files not the entire WordPress core as you would a major update.”

    This was another reason I was willing to let it run on some site because replacing changed files only dramatically reduces the chances of breakage. All this time all updates minor or major changed everything (with the exception of wp-content folder and wp-config.php but this works a little differently.

    Even so… where membership sites are concerned or protected content sites – amember plugin, WishlistMember etc I’d be very very reluctant. Especially with WLM. It’s rather delicate with updates and it’s proprietary technology so it’s not like other plugins where I can just go in and hack it if something goes wrong.

    • Cindy says

      Thanks for the update Lynette. I’ll probably get over my apprehension eventually – at least for most of my sites – but for now, I agree with you that on small sites it’s likely fine. On membership sites, no way.

  4. says

    I read about that and it scared me a bit. But I’m going go let it ride and see what happens since I don’t have a membership site, or anything extra coded into my site. But, it does worry me a little. I’ve had updates break my WP sites before and then had to figure out which plugin was causing the problem. ugh. But, I knew this lady who built WP sites as her business, and when I had taken over as a VA for her client I noticed the site was very, very out of date.

    I told him he needed to get his web designer to do the update because I was a little afraid since it was so out of date. She told him to NEVER update it, that it would break his site. She then tried to tell me to never update any WP sites that they should stay the same from when built. I only knew (and know) enough to be dangerous, but I knew that was wrong. This new feature is going to at least prevent that type of thing from happening, right?

    • Cindy says

      I’ve occasionally run across this kind of “never update” mentality, Stephanie, and it always shocks me that a so-called developer could be so out of touch! But you’re right, this new feature will at the very least prevent that kind of thing. Unless the site designer turns it off, that is.

  5. Lynette Chandler says

    I have a suspicion why she told him to never update and I’d be very wary of such designers. Most times they are doing things that are incompatible with the way WordPress works like tweaking the core to make things work instead of learning to do it the right way.

    You’d be surprised how many plugins and themes do that. I find this prevalent in themes/plugins built by a certain portion of the IM community (sadly) and that really colors my opinion of their products. However, that’s a whole other ball of wax 😉

    Anyhow, not saying that is what’s happening in this case Stephanie but it makes me think so.

  6. says

    I heard about that and I was kind of nervous about it, too. I just took as another wait and see kind of thing. To see in the next few months, how people’s experience is with it. But! I didn’t know it was automatically on. I may have to get that plugin. Going to read some more and think about it.

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