It has been a busy winter when it comes to updates for WordPress users. Not only did we finally get the long awaited 5.0 update to WordPress, many users were also asked to update PHP (the programming language on which WordPress is based) to version 7.2.
As is often the case with a major software update, the months following these changes have been filled with a plethora of incremental update releases, starting with 5.0.1 up to version 5.1.1 (as of this writing). It seems like we get an email from our hosting partner every other day with information about an incoming update.
Why so many updates? Currently there are about 20 million websites on the internet using WordPress. To provide functionality and flexibility to all of those websites, there are roughly 50,000 WordPress plugins, and they have been downloaded more than 1 billion times.
Simply put, it isn’t easy to predict how all of those plugins are going to work with all of those websites once they are using a new version of WordPress. The WordPress development group does their best, but inevitably it takes a little bit of experimentation to fine tune things. And it’s not just fine tuning by the folks at WordPress, mind you. All of those app developers need to make updates to accommodate the new version of the platform as well.
It is a team effort, but the rewards are already worth the work. The new content management system is much easier to use for novices. The new API helps developers create more feature-rich apps. Custom themes are easier. And without the security updates provided by these new versions, hackers would find WordPress websites to be much easier targets.
As they say, the only constant is change. As our mobile devices change, websites need to adapt in order to keep up. As websites change, WordPress needs to evolve as well. To do our part, we’ve worked with the majority of our customers to update their versions of WordPress and PHP, as well as the apps used by their websites – and we’ve made arrangements do so on an ongoing basis. So far, the results have been very encouraging, with few problems and lots of advances.
It’s in all of our best interest to look at this new spate of WordPress updates as the “new normal.” After WP5, updates won’t just happen a couple of times a year, they’ll be smaller but happen much more frequently (a method pioneered by Google with Chrome and Microsoft with Windows). Thankfully, most of these updates won’t be disruptive to apps or websites.
Remember, your website is a living thing. Unless it evolves based on the changing environment it lives in, it cannot thrive. If you haven’t already, contact Code Roadies / Anchor Marketing today, and let’s talk about how we can keep your website up to date and on top.