If you’ve followed our blog here for any length of time you know how militant I am about keeping your WordPress installation including your themes and plugins updated.
This is the number one cause of websites getting exploited and injected with Malware.
Imagine leaving a bag full of cash in your car with the doors opened and the windows down.
That’s what it is like leaving your WordPress website out-of-date.
Hackers, spammers, and evil-doers are constantly searching for vulnerable websites to carry out their attacks and this puts a target right on your website.
The Problem With Updating
Most people don’t like to update their WordPress software because there is a chance it will “break” their website.
Since most software is coded using the newest version of PHP, there is always a chance a new update isn’t going to “agree” with your current configuration.
Therefore a lot of people just don’t update their website because they don’t want to hassle with a broken website.
I couldn’t agree more; hassling with a broken website is a HUGE pain in the butt, but if you’ve ever hassled with a hacked one you know just how troublesome it is.
It’s either really expensive to have a WordPress developer fix it or it’s a huge time-consuming process to delete your cPanel account and rebuild the account from scratch (we see this multiple times each week).
Bottom line: Keep your WordPress installation including your plugins and themes updated regularly!
How I Broke The NameHero Blog
Now that you know how I feel about keeping things updated; here’s what happened to me.
On my “daily update run” (yes I check daily for updates) I noticed a couple of plugins needed updated.
Therefore I began installing them and didn’t think much about it.
An hour later I went to edit a blog post and I noticed the visual editor was broken. It didn’t show any post content.
I tried to make a test post and it created a 404 file not found error…
Immediately my trouble-shooting took over and I started going through possible causes.
Finally, it dawned on me I had recently updated some plugins and that could be the cause.
Going back to my list of updates, I narrowed the list down to two and deactivated them both.
With the process of elimination I found that one of the plugin updates had broke the site.
With the problem found I was faced with a dilemma.
Keep the plugin disabled to keep WordPress working, but lose my social buttons (the offending plugin was Social Warfare).
I immediately sent a support request, but noticed a note in their client area:
Thinking it was going to take a few days to get their response I debated on reverting back to my latest backup.
While this was certainly an option, I really didn’t want to waste an hour or two restoring files.
This is a plugin that allows you to automatically roll back plugins or themes to previous versions right inside of wp-admin.
I had previously used the plugin but had un-installed it. I was curious if it would still “roll back” if I installed it again.
It did! I rolled back to the previous version of Social Warfare and my problem was fixed within five minutes.
As luck would have it, their support answered me within a couple of hours with the permanent fix.
I was then able to update everything and go about blogging.
Lesson: Don’t Risk Not Updating There Is A Solution
If you get nothing else out of this post, I want you to remember that it’s much more important to update WordPress including your plugins and themes and risk breaking your site than letting things run outdated.
There is most always a fast and easy solution to solve these issues whereas if you run outdated and the site gets compromised, you’re going to end up paying much more (in time and money).
I’ve filmed a video tutorial where I show how fast and easy using the WP Rollback plugin is:
Let me know if you have any questions!