WordPress is terrific. There is no shortage of ambassadors for the platform largely due to its accessible nature, adaptability and most importantly, its free! It has grown over the years from a simple blogging tool to powering some of the biggest website in the world, with some estimates as high as 30% of websites around the world being built on the platform. With this large install base comes a lot of misinformation. One of the biggest myths is that it is a set and forget type platform, build your website and let the money come in right? When in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.
WordPress is essentially a piece of software, and like all software ranging from windows to your Xbox operating system, it requires updates. Whilst it was initially developed as a platform for bloggers, it has grown over its 16-year history to be a versatile tool in developing content for both web and internal business systems. The parent company who develops the platform is called ‘Automatic’ and every year they release a large update, the current version of WordPress is 5, colloquially called Gutenberg. Throughout the year, as more and more people begin to use the newer version of the software, ‘Automatic’ will release patches for bugs and/or feature improvements. These generally take the form of a sub-number, so a website may be running WordPress 5.4.2 for instance.
WordPress is famous for its extendibility through a myriad of plugins ranging from complete page builders to simpler cosmetic additions. Required updates also extends to these very plugins so the website administrator is now responsible for not only updating WordPress core, but also associated plugins which can number upwards of 30 per site! Ultimately this means there is ongoing maintenance required to keep your website core software up to date in order to maximise features and plug any security gaps.
To alleviate the pressure associated with constantly keeping all of this up to date, as well as the recourse if any of these updates do not apply seamlessly, many businesses are turning to hosting and maintenance services. These can range in scope, but it’s recommended to look for a service that offers weekly checks and updates for software as well as frequent backups of the site, ideally to multiple locations. Further, if your website is both hosted and managed, ideally there is a staging facility available so you can run updates and test features without effecting the live site.
At ONGC we love all things about WordPress and can help your business with both hosting and managing your site. For more information about our services reach to us.