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WordPress 5.5 due out 11 August – a key change – automatic updates

The latest release of WordPress 5.5 is due out on 11 August 2020 – and there is a big key change that you need to be aware of.

Automatic update of plugins and themes

Yes that is correct you can now set any or all of your plugins and themes to automatically update when new versions are published…

good or bad … ?

The reasoning

So there is a good reason behind this latest change – security is a really big deal when it comes to WordPress website, the security of the actual WordPress code is usually pretty good – but in recent times there are more and more plugins or even themes that are not being updated and thus are security holes waiting to be found! When a vulnerability is found in a WordPress version – people go off and search for sites that are using that version – whether its 5 years out of date or just a few months – the danger is there.

That danger can effect the reputation of WordPress – and that is what needs to be protected.

WordPress has for a while now – self updated itself for minor versions, bug releases extra – but asks for permission to update a major release. So we are used to the idea of automatic updates. Wordfence a good security plugin as had an auto updated feature for a while too.

To auto update or not..

So the question is should you ….?

I think you should consider your website first – and then each plugin / theme second.

A small brochure style essentially static website that uses minimal plugins – no page builders etc – I would see no issue with having auto update switched on
An ecommerce website however .. that one I would maybe set auto update on some of the more minor plugins – but I would still manually test and update WooCommerce and any payment plugins

Somewhere in-between those two then I would still aim for caution

These changes have been more about getting the sites that are not updated regularly to get updated and to stay updated.. however a flaw – if they have not been updated in years why would they suddenly update to this latest version … which would enable auto update… ah well you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink!

If you are unsure – ask me I can make a good suggestion for you. Some plugins I know and use frequently and would be more confident in their stable and reliable releases. Having said that a plugin that I would have said was stable had a wobble not that long ago!

For now I think I will be sticking with my usually update routine

Check reviews
Check for date
Wait until some time has passed
BACKUP again
then update
Check site!!

Thank you and until next time


As a serial entrepreneur it is wonderful to have people in your team that you can rely on to get new ventures off the ground. Sarah’s ability to interpret my (often ill defined) ideas and design websites and other collateral is invaluable. I shall continue to work with her, and appreciate her feedback, for some time to come.

Caroline Billington –