The newest version of WordPress just came out and it got me thinking about WordPress automatic updates.
Someone in a group I belong to asked how to prevent WordPress from automatically updating, and that made me realize that a lot of people who use WordPress probably don’t understand how the automatic updates work.
Starting with version 3.7, WordPress allows certain kinds of automatic updates to core files without you having to approve them.
These updates that happen in the background are minor core updates. WordPress says such updates include things such as maintenance and security releases.
Another core background update that happens automatically is a core development update. These updates are for people who are using development versions of WordPress. (They get all the fancy new updates before everyone else… and all the problems that are still being worked out.) So, your average WordPress user isn’t going to be affected by these updates. And I would hope that someone who has chosen to use the development version at least understands what that means.
The other kind of core update that occurs with WordPress is not automatic. This kind of update is called a major core release update, and that’s the type of update that just happened.
As you can see from the list of WordPress versions, a major update happens when the digit after the first period changes. For example, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 and 4.0 were all major core release updates. But, 3.7.1, 3.7.2, 3.7.3 and 3.7.4 were only minor core updates.
Some people don’t want to have even the minor core updates happen automatically.
And if that’s you, it’s possible to turn them off, but WordPress really discourages it. In all reality, the chance that a minor core update is going to break your site is extremely low. In my opinion, the benefits of knowing that your site is updating itself to fix security problems far outweighs the remote chance that something could go wrong. And if you won’t take my word for it, go see why WordPress thinks that keeping the automatic minor core updates is important.
But, if you’re still sure you want to turn off the automatic updates, you can. There is a plugin called Disable Automatic Updates that allows you to control what updates automatically. I haven’t used it myself so I can’t vouch for how it works, but it exists. And you can also edit your wp-config.php file to disable the automatic updates. All the instructions on how to do that can be found in the WordPress Codex.
So how about you? Are you glad that there are automatic minor core updates? Does the idea of relinquishing any control over your website make you break out in hives? Let me know below.