What happens to a WordPress website if you don’t maintain it?

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What happens to a WordPress website if you don’t maintain it?

WordPress security updates - what happens if a wordpress website is not maintained

WordPress is a platform for developing websites. It is updated frequently, and is maintained through an Open Source structure. 

You should always update WordPress to the latest version.


Short term concerns when you don’t maintain a WordPress website

When you allow your WordPress websites to become outdated, you’re inviting open risk into your organization. The WordPress community issues updates to address security vulnerabilities and to improve the platform. In most cases, updates make no change to the function of your website.

What updates will do, however, are make available patches to security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are taken advantage of by attackers and your website could be compromised! Security plugins for WordPress aren’t enough, you really have to keep your software up to date.

Updating WordPress to the latest core version is essential! WordPress should be kept updated at all times.

What happens if I don’t update WordPress? 

If you don’t update your WordPress website’s software, your organization’s website will become vulnerable to attackers. These rogue-actors will hack your website and steal your critical data including web hosted files, email, email attachments, and other confidential information. Not only that, but the hackers will compromise your website hosting, often using your account to sell elicit drugs or advertise explicit adult content. 

Your organization’s website is like a living, breathing creature; supporting, caring, and maintaining it is essential to its continued existence.

Photo showing an open gate at a suburban house in the United States - the standing open gate symbolizes the open-nature of lack security on the web and how businesses should give careful consideration to securing their website.
You wouldn’t leave the gate open, would you?

This is generally what happens to WordPress websites if they aren’t updated regularly:

  1. You fail to install WordPress updates:
  2. Your website becomes vulnerable to attack.
  3. A hacker finds your outdated website
  4. Your website is compromised and your site hacked!
  5. The attacker uses your website to sell illegal products…
  6. The attacker uses your e-mail to send spam
  7. This vulnerability costs you reputation and lost business.

Recovering your hacked, broken, or ransom-wared website is more expensive than maintaining it.

What is a WordPress update?

WordPress updates allows WordPress to inform users when a new version of WordPress software is available. It is HIGHLY recommended that you download these updates as soon as they are available to ensure the security of your WordPress website. 

Graphic about WordPress security Updates, it reads: WORDPRESS (above) SECURITY UPDATES (below) in white letters with fingerprints and locks symbolizing security and protection as relevant to security and maintenance of a WordPress website.

Should you install WordPress updates?

Yes, absolutely! WordPress updates should be installed on any website! 

It is essential to regularly update your WordPress website, as doing so will help keep it secure from attackers. If you fail to install updates, the vulnerability of your website increases and can lead to hacking or even ransomware. Not updating a WordPress website also exposes your company’s confidential data and can cost you reputation and lost business. It is always better to maintain your site than pay for recovery after being hacked or compromised.

How soon should you install WordPress updates?

WordPress updates should be installed as they are released.

Websites that depend on specific functionality should employ someone with the expertise to handle the updates. For many websites, it is as simple as clicking “Update”.

What if the developer told us not to update it?

If a WordPress developer has told you explicitly not to update your WordPress, we strongly encourage you to seek additional advice from other experts. In other words: fire your developer! 

WordPress should be updated and kept up to date.

It should never be allowed to “get left behind”. If your organization has been asked ‘not to update’, reach out to us immediately so we can help secure your website. We encourage you to explore services available for WordPress maintenance and management that may include a new peace-of-mind and a comprehensive service.

If you’re unsure if your organization needs support for your WordPress website, explore other topics and learn what solutions could benefit your team.

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About the Author

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina is a developer, designer, author, and thought leader on topics including Security and WordPress. For more from Katrina, find her on twitter and follow her on medium.

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Matt Blalock

Matt Blalock

Matt Blalock is an accomplished Creative Director and Marketing Consultant, known for pioneering BIG vision and brand direction for leading organizations.

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