Did you upgrade to WordPress 4.6 already? And do you use automated WordPress updates?
I upgraded my entire WordPress multisite network tonight, and there was just one issue. That issue is my inspiration for this article - so I hope you like it!
WordPress introduced automatic updates to make our lives easier. The intention was to take work off the shoulders of the WordPress users.
However, sometimes automated WordPress updates can actually create problems instead of avoiding them.
Let me share three situations I came across so far:
1. Don't run automated WordPress updates on heavily customized websites
If you're running a heavily customized site, you definitely should deactivate automatic updates.
Stuart from TipsterHQ is a great example. He runs a sports-betting website and all the betting functionality has been a custom development from me and another developer.
With automated updates, his site would break down - as they'd conflict with some of the custom development.
Specifically, those automated updates might change functions in his theme and plugins which the custom development relies on. If those functions change in an unexpected way (or even get removed entirely), the custom coding wouldn't work anymore.
2. Don't automatically update websites you manage for clients
If you manage WordPress sites for clients, this probably sounds familiar: The website updated automatically and suddenly the client calls, saying "something is wrong with the site".
The thing with clients is, that sometimes they install new plugins themselves or modify settings of the existing clients.
WooCommerce was a good example recently, as with version 2.6 they change the shipping rates. If that plugin updated and the client didn't update the configuration for the newly introduced "shipping zones", the shop wouldn't have shipping configured properly.
I think you get the idea.
3. Avoid automated WordPress updates in WP multisite installations
As I said earlier, my websites are managed in a multisite installation. This means every plugin and theme is installed once - and then made accessible to the other pages.
However, these multisite installations can grow rapidly. And with growth comes complexity.
Running automated updates in a multisite is something I've never been a fan of. I like to know that I've tested the compatibility of all plugins and themes to a recent update, especially if it's a WordPress core update.
So, please meet Easy Updates Manager.
The free plugin "Easy Updates Manager" is one of the best plugins for managing automated updates I've ever used.
We use it on Stuart's TipsterHQ and ensures the site is running stable.
You can specify exactly what type of automatic updates you want to allow or block, e.g. for themes, plugins or WordPress itself.
Also, their support is outstanding. Just check out this recent support thread about the new WordPress version: https://wordpress.org/support/topic/love-this-plugin-great-support#post-
If you want to manage automatic updates properly, especially if you are on a managed host and your site would break from automated updates, this plugin might be worth giving a try.
Let me know what you think about it!