How To Update WordPress Automatically The Easy Way

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Automatic WordPress Updates Header Image Of Laptop On Desk With Lots Of Green Objects

Wondering if there is an easier way to handle updating WordPress. That is more hands-off?

Well, what if I told you how to update WordPress automatically?

If being able to automate some or even all your WordPress updates is something you are interested in. Then you’ll find the perfect solutions below in this WordPress guide.

Just keep on reading to find out more. As below, I’ll explain how you too can set up WordPress to:

  • Automatically handle your updates for you.
  • How to customize the settings.
  • How to turn off automatic updates if you need to.
  • + When automatic updates should be used. Since they are not always ideal in every situation.
Table Of Contents

How Do I Update My WordPress Website?

Okay, so before. I’ve talked about the importance of keeping your WordPress blog updated. As well as the exact steps to take. Whenever you want to update your themes, plugins or WordPress core with the manual method.

If you are just looking to get your WordPress updates done manually. Then I recommend following this step-by-step guide first.

How To Update WordPress Automatically The Easy Way

How Do I Turn On Automatic Updates In WordPress?

Sometimes you might find that WordPress does some updates automatically. As by default new installations of WordPress. Are set to automatically update to any minor WordPress core versions.

However, to enable automatic updates for major core updates, plugins and themes. There is a little more configuration involved. That I’ll cover in the following sections.

How To Turn On Automatic Updates Using Functions.php

Okay, so the first method on how to update WordPress automatically. Is by editing your functions.php file.

This might sound a little scary if you are not confident in dealing with coding. But all we are going to do is copy a line of text and paste it into a file from within the WordPress dashboard.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you step-by-step so there is no confusion!

First, you’ll want to take a WordPress backup using a tool like UpdraftPlus.

Then to find the functions.php file. Navigate from your WordPress dashboard into Appearance > Theme Editor.

Under the list of Theme files on the right. You’ll want to make sure you can see the child theme message. (Make sure you have one setup.) And then select the functions.php file from the list.

There will already be lots of code in this file but don’t worry as you don’t need to understand any of it. In fact, you can scroll straight to the bottom of the file and create a few new lines using your enter key.

How To Update WordPress Automatically By Adding Code To The Functions.php File

The Code Snippets To Enable Automatic WordPress Updates

Here you’ll want to copy one of the code snippets from below.

To allow all WordPress dates to process automatically paste this code:

# Allows all core updates, including minor and major to automatically trigger:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );

If you would prefer for only minor WordPress core updates to happen automatically. (These usually contain the security and bug fixes.) Then paste into your functions.php file below:

# Allows all WordPress core minor updates to automatically trigger:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );

How Do I Stop WordPress From Automatically Updating?

But what if how to update WordPress automatically doesn’t work for you? And, you would prefer to turn off automatic updates in WordPress instead.

Well then, you can always use one of the below snippets instead. As they will stop WordPress from doing automatic updates on your blog. (I do not recommend doing this unless you have a specific reason to do so.)

Disable all types of automatic updates (plugins, themes, core) for WordPress using this code:

# Disables all WordPress automatic updates:
define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

Disable all WordPress core updates, such as minor and major use this code snippet instead:

# Disables all WordPress core updates:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

Once you’ve pasted your selected code remember to click the Update File button to save your changes.

All of these options are basic. As it can start to get complicated if you want to use code for more complicated situations. Such as only enabling auto updates for some of your plugins.

This is why I recommend using the second method listed here. As an all-in-one solution that doesn’t require editing files like your functions.php.

How To Use A WordPress Auto-Update Plugin For Your WordPress Updates

If you are comfortable with setting up plugins. Then this second method of how to update WordPress automatically should be a breeze in comparison.

All you need to do is go and install the Easy Updates Manager plugin by UpdraftPlus. You can do this by going into your WordPress dashboard. Then from the menu clicking Plugins > Add New.

Search for ‘easy updates’ and it should show as one of the top options.

How To Update WordPress Automatically Using The Easy Updates Manager Plugin Install Screen

Click Install Now and then Activate when ready.

This will add an Updates button onto the top toolbar in your WordPress dashboard. If you hover over this and then click on General. It will take you to the settings page.

Disable All Updates

This setting is a master button, in a way. Because if you switch it from the default Enable All Updates. It will prevent any updates happening in WordPress. Similar to the code mentioned earlier that you could add to the functions.php file.

Wordpress Easy Updates Manager Plugin Setting To Disable All Updates

If you leave this option enabled. You will still need to configure on an individual basis which updates will trigger automatically. (You can even set up automatic updates for specific plugins.)

Automatic Updates

Next up, you have Automatic updates. Here you can select 4 options.

Easy Updates Manager Update WordPress Automatically Settings

Default – Only minor WordPress version updates will be installed

Everything – All updates will be installed automatically. Including plugins and themes.

Nothing – Disables all automatic updating so that they have to be done using the manual method. Including minor versions of the WordPress core.

Custom – This will open up a new set of options for you to select your custom preferences. Here you can either enable or disable the following:

  • Major WordPress releases & version updates
  • Minor WordPress releases
  • Development Updates (should only be enabled by developers)
  • Translation updates
Wordpress Easy Updates Manager Additional Settings For Each Type Of Update Including Major And Minor

You then have a further two options for automatically updating plugins and themes.

These two have a few more options. As you can currently toggle these updates to default, everything, nothing. Or even use the Select Individually button to pick the items you want to update automatically.

All in all, you have some serious control over how to update WordPress automatically using the options here.

Note that if you do pick the Select Individually option. You will then need to set your options in the Plugins or Themes tab. Which can be accessed back at the top of the screen. But more on that later.

Wordpress Easy Updates Manager Plugin Settings To Automatically Update Plugins And Themes

The following sections are more master switches. So you can disable all updates and any automatic updates with a single click if needed. Again, any options that are enabled. Still have to be configured on an individual basis.

These include:

  • WordPress Core Updates
  • Plugin Updates
  • Theme Updates
  • + Translation Updates

Notifications

The next vital section allows you to set a Core notification email. That can get email reports when WordPress does any updates.

By default, it is enabled. And will be sent to the email setup in the Settings > General area of the WordPress dashboard. However, if you wanted the email to go elsewhere you could set it here using a different email.

Core Notification Emails Setting Inside The Easy Updates Manager Plugin

Others Update Settings

Last but not least, you’ll have two more options you can set. You can enable or disable the Browser nag. I would leave it enabled though. So you know when WordPress is asking for you to do important updates.

The second toggles the Display of the WordPress version. That shows in your dashboard footer. Again, you can leave this enabled as well. (This does not show the WordPress version anywhere on your live blog.)

Once you have everything set up on the General tab. You can move onto the settings on the Plugins and Themes tab.

You may have noticed that there is no save button at the bottom of this setting screen. This is because each change you make is automatically saved!

Automatic Plugin Update Options

The Plugins tab will list all your plugins installed on your blog.

Each plugin will be listed with its own individual settings. Allowing you to set separate updates and automatic updates.

For example, if you wanted to toggle on the automatic updates for a plugin. You could set it from Off to On.

How To Enable Or Disable The Updates For Each WordPress Plugin Using The Easy Updates Manager Plugin For WordPress

It is also possible to apply settings in bulk. As you can tick multiple plugins using the tick box to the left of each plugin. Or even use the tick box in the header of the table to select all your plugins at once.

Once you’ve made your selection. You can then click on the Bulk Actions dropdown list. Where you can enable or disable the options available on each plugin.

You can then click Apply to make the changes.

How To Use Bulk Actions To Set The Automatic Updates For Plugins In WordPress

When deciding which options to use. Take into consideration how reliable updates are from the plugin developer. You will know this from either experience. Or checking the plugin reviews left on WordPress.org.

Automatic Theme Options

As you can see from the image below. The Themes tab looks identical to the plugins page. But this time any themes you have installed on your blog will be listed instead.

Easy Updates Manager Individual Theme Update Settings

WordPress Update Logs

Have you ever wanted to check to see what automatic updates have been applied to your blog recently? Or even see a log of the last update that WordPress installed?

Well, with the Easy Updates Manager’s logs you can! As all updates are kept within the log table unless you decided to disable the logs.

Where To See The Logs For WordPress Updates Inside The Easy Updates Manager Plugin

Advanced & Premium Tabs

The last two tabs don’t have many options for you. As they contain limited options only available to the Premium version of the plugin. In fact, the only thing you can do on the Advanced tab. Is prevent users from making changes to the Easy Updates Manager plugin. So, unless you have a multi-author blog. You can ignore this.

That’s pretty much it for setting up the plugin. Once you’ve got the settings the way you like it should all work in the background for you. And any updates that require your attention will appear in your dashboard’s toolbar.

SiteGround & Automatic Updates

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When considering how to update WordPress automatically. There are other settings you need to consider from your website hosting. As some of them will have their own tools or plugins that might be influencing your blog.

So, if you set up your automatic WordPress updates using one of the methods above. But find that things aren’t quite working the way you expected.

Then it is worth noting that SiteGround is one of those web hosts. That has some of its own inbuilt updating tools. In fact, if your blog is hosted on one of their Cloud or Shared hosting plans. Then their Autoupdate tool is likely overriding any automatic update settings you have.

To change the settings for the SiteGround auto-update tool. You will need to login to your cPanel account. Where you should be able to find the WP Auto Update tool under the section for WordPress tools.

From there you should be able to find the Autoupdate Settings for your blog. Which only has the option to change the time interval for major and minor updates. As well as the option to check for plugin updates at the same time.

It’s not clear if these settings will take priority over the Easy Updates Manager plugin. So keep this in mind if your blog is hosted on SiteGround.

If you want to read more about the SiteGround auto-update settings. Then you can find more information in their tutorials here.

Bluehost & Automatic Updates

Did you also know? That if your blog is hosted with Bluehost. Then there will be a Bluehost plugin that is installed on your WordPress blog by default. I’ve explained here how this plugin can be used to set up a staging site.

But, here’s the thing. This plugin also has some settings for WordPress updates. So, depending on what setup you want to have. You may need to adjust these to reflect changes you have made elsewhere. Just in case there are conflicts.

As it can be a little tricky to tell which of these settings will take priority. Out of Bluehost or the other method you’ve used from this post.

So, to find these settings you’ll need to go to Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard. Then on this next screen scroll down to the bottom. And try adjusting the settings if you find things aren’t working as expected.

Remember to click Save Changes when done!

Bluehost Automatic Update Settings Inside The Settings And General Menu Of The WordPress Dashboard

Should Automatic Updates Be Turned On?

Did you know? That if you wanted to. You could completely automate the process of updating your WordPress blog.

But when it comes to automating WordPress updates. Often the common question that comes up is, “Should I update WordPress automatically?”

Which is a pretty legitimate question. Since WordPress updates can break and affect your blog in undesirable ways.

Which can be one of the major problems of automatically updating WordPress. As if the updates break your website. You might not be around to fix it.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question can vary from blog to blog. But here are some things to consider:

  • Blogs with a small number of plugins. Are less likely to conflict and have issues with automatic updating.
  • The quality of your plugins can also have a big impact. As plugins that are well-maintained and updated often. Will be less likely to break your blog.
  • If you use Easy Updates Manager to set up email notifications in case an update breaks your blog. Then it is more practical to enable auto-updates. Since you’ll know in a short amount of time if an automatic update has failed. So you can use manual intervention if required.
  • When you update your blog through manual methods. If you find you rarely or never have any issues with your blog breaking. Then switching to automatic updates should be just as reliable.

If saving time and keeping your blog updated is a priority. While the rare occasion of your blog breaking and needing to be restored from a backup isn’t an issue. Then automatic updates can help reduce your WordPress maintenance workload.

Also, you should try to schedule automatic updates if you can. For when you know you’ll be near to a computer. Just in case things do go wrong. Though this might not always be possible.

Extra Tools To Make Automatically Updating WordPress Even Easier

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For minimal time spent managing your WordPress updates. Consider whether investing in the premium version of the Easy Updates Manager plugin might be worth it. As the pro features include:

  • Scheduling – So you can automatically update WordPress when you are near a computer. Just in case something fails.
  • Safe mode – Which is designed to prevent incompatible updates by checking for issues before updating anything.
  • Automatic backups – That run before every update. So you always have the latest version of your blog to restore in case of problems.

Recap Of How To Automatically Update WordPress & The Pros vs Cons

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Overall, how to set up automatic updates in WordPress is a simple process. Especially with the use of an auto-update plugin such as Easy Updates Manager.

Automatic updates can save you a lot of time and work. Which can be used to get other things done. And whilst for the most part, automatic updates are safe. It is always a good idea to ensure:

  • Backups are completed on a regular basis
  • You get notifications from updates to ensure there aren’t any issues
  • You are mindful that updates can break your blog
  • + That you take careful consideration to what you automatically update. By using the WordPress Easy Updates Manager plugin. To pick exactly what to auto update.

In summary, you should consider the pros and cons of automatically updating WordPress.

Pros Of Automatic Updates For WordPress

  • Save time by having less WordPress maintenance tasks to deal with
  • Minor WordPress core updates are a must-have for security and bug fixes.
  • Reasonably safe providing you have proper backups in place.
  • Can boost security as you’ll get patches straight away without any delays.
  • Powerful WordPress plugins like Easy Updates Manager. Allow you to select exactly what gets automatically updated. So you can automate only the tasks that are beneficial to your website.

Cons Of Automatically Updating WordPress

  • Updates can break your blog.
  • Without monitoring or scheduling in place. Automatic updates could leave your blog down for several hours.
  • Blog with many plugins could be more likely to increase the chances of potential update errors.
  • Some automatic updating might be a little tricky to set up. If your blog hosting settings conflict with the settings you’ve set up.

What’s your biggest challenge with updating your WordPress blog? Do you think setting up automatic updates will be beneficial to you? Are there any plugins you would want to avoid automatically updating?

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Automate your WordPress updates using this one simple plugin

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