INSIDER NEWS: Next project might be a little "morbid"...

With version 3.7 of WordPress, maintenance and security updates (usually where the 3rd number in the version is incremented, e.g. 3.7 to 3.7.1) have been applied automatically in the background with no intervention from the site administrator. Ensuring that WordPress installs with absent administrators don't become targets for malicious attacks being just one of many reasons for the WordPress devs to implement this.

However, there are good reasons why a WordPress administrator might not want updates installed automatically. Whenever WordPress releases a new version, I test that version with each of my client's websites on an offline and local copy to ensure that the update doesn't break any themes or plugins. While 90% of the time the update can be applied with no issues, it sure is nice when you catch a conflict that would have brought down your website before you apply the update to the live version.

WordPress doesn't provide a native and easy way to control how or if updates are automatically applied. In order to gain control of automatic updates, I have begun to include the Disable Updates Manager plugin as part of my standard list of plugins for all my client websites.

Disable Updates Manager

Disable Updates Manager

For my purposes, Disable Updates Manager is as easy to use as: install, tick one checkbox ("Disable Automatic Background Updates") and done. However, the plugin has several other features that may be of use to WordPress administrators:

  1. ability to disable all updates (i.e., prevent any updates from being installed)
  2. ability to disable plugin, theme or WordPress core updates individually or in combination
  3. ability to disable individual plugin updates
  4. ability to disable individual theme updates
  5. remove the Updates page from the Dashboard
  6. remove the WordPress version from the Dashboard footer

If you install Disable Updates Manager and disable background updating as I have done, make sure that you have a way to stay up-to-date on WordPress core, plugin and theme releases so you can apply needed updates in a timely fashion. In a future post I will describe one method of doing this.