Yes – Leave WordPress Automatic Updates Switched On, It’s For Your Own Good

secure vaultSo I read with interest Marj Wyatt’s post recently on this very site where she spoke of her dislike of the WordPress Automatic Updates. For those of you who are unaware – WordPress as of 3.7 (which was launched at the end of October) now automatically upgrades WordPress should a release be available. The post highlighted a discussion topic featuring a number of viewpoints on this subject, many of them were against the opt-out format of automatic updates, and Marj herself was against it.

As a WordPress evangelist, and somebody fascinated by it’s ecosystem, I thought it’d be a good idea to post a rebuttal, clear up a few misconceptions, and also try to explain some functionality behind it. I should point out that – besides sharing the odd conference room and beers with the odd core contributor – I am an outsider looking in, so don’t know exactly why things are done that way.

Automatic Upgrades Are Only For Minor Releases

Here is the thing first of all. WordPress’ automatic updates are only activated for minor releases. Minor releases are when you go – for example – from 3.8 to 3.8.1 (which was the latest update). Major releases will be when WordPress goes from – say – 3.8.1 to 3.9. The minor releases – whilst minor – are important, as they often fix security issues and bugs that have arisen. These minor releases should not break any functionality of themes and plugins, as no functionality is ever removed or changed, but rather to fix bugs. Whilst Marj’s post did seem to suggest that minor updates had broken functionality, I cannot recall a time when such an issue arose (in fact, the only issue I could remember from my 8 years in using the software was when functionality changed that broke a lot of lazy coding – and yes, it broke some of my plugins too). The only issue I could see with minor upgrades causing grief would be when core files (everything that isn’t in the WP-Content folder) would be changed. Continue reading “Yes – Leave WordPress Automatic Updates Switched On, It’s For Your Own Good”