WordPress 3.7 is here (doesn’t seem like 5 mins ago 3.6 was released!) Named “Basie” after jazz musician Count Basie (yes, I had to go look up who he was…) WordPress state that version 3.7 contains “some of the most important architectural updates we’ve made to date .”
It wasn’t a totally smooth update to 3.7, with what appears to be mainly plugin issues – notably for me the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin that I highly recommend and install on client sites. Fortunately, I usually wait for the screams to settle down before updating clients sites, so no-one directly affected (other than here on MLBO and a test site!)
WordPress 3.7 Key Features
1. Updates while you sleep…
While the automatic update feature of WordPress 3.7 has been tested to death with no reported issues, I’m still sat here with buttocks clenched and eyes closed! More about the auto-update feature in a mo.
2. Stronger password prompts…
Hurrah! Hopefully, that will end the inadequate password problems (fingers crossed). Yes, people DO still use passwords like “password123” or “letmein”.
3. Better global support…
For those who use WordPress in languages other than English – now you have faster and better translation support.
WordPress 3.7 Automatic Update Feature
The automatic update feature is set to minor updates by default (e.g. from 3.7 to 3.7.1 not 3.8). I think this is a good option. As you can see with the issues above, a major update (e.g. 3.6.x to 3.7) tends to be when plugins or themes start falling over and conflicts become apparent.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your WordPress install regularly updated. You may not care for the new fancy bells and whistles of new features. Security is the main reason I recommend updating. WP Beginner state that 84% of hacked WordPress sites have not been updated…
Before updating your WordPress website or blog – do not forget to backup!
With the number of issues related to out of date WordPress installs, automatic updates would appear to be the way forward.
So, why am I sat here cringing at the thought?
From experience, the same business owners who do not update WordPress are often
- the same ones who do not log into the dashboard
- using the default email address of whoever set up the site and they no longer work with the company.
While problems with minor updates are quite rare, it does depend on your set up. Those who don’t log in or have the right email address in settings won’t see issues they may have (for a while at least!)
You can turn off WordPress automatic updates, but there is no simple OFF button. It requires some changes to your WordPress files.
How to turn off WordPress 3.7 automatic updates
Before you make any changes at all, do BACK UP your site. I use The Backup Creator, which makes it really simple to restore sites too.
Adjusting the automatic update settings does require to make changes to the wp-config file, so you need access to the files on your server. Make a copy of the file before you start as mistakes here can break your site.
For those who want a more in-depth guide, not this simple version check out the post over on WordPress.org where you’ll find everything you want to know (and stuff you don’t!) including the full filters for automatic updates. Be warned, it is very geeky and technical!
Minor Updates Only
This will update from 3.7 to 3.7.1 etc. It is set by default so you need do nothing.
Automatic Updates OFF
This will completely turn off all automatic upgrades. Add the following line to your wp-config file:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );
Automatic Updates ON
If you are feeling brave you can turn on all automatic upgrades (not recommended!) Add the following line to your wp-config file:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
Automatic updates will not be available for everyone, even with the new update. It depends on your host and settings. WordPress state that around 80% of installs will have automatic updates available.
What do you need to do now?
Always back up your site before making any changes or updating!
If the update button strikes you down with fear, do check out my WordPress Services
Over to you…
Have you upgraded to WordPress 3.7 yet? What are your thoughts on the automatic updates feature?WordPress 3.7 Automatic Update Feature (Should You Use It?) by Jan Kearney