How to enable, disable & manage WordPress Automatic Updates

Updating WordPress sites was a hassle with older versions, but with the release of WordPress 3.7, automatic updates for security releases and other minor amendments have become standard.

Automatic updates are good because they let you do all security improvements, bug fixes, and performance boosts on sites without the involvement of the site administrator. But they can also break your site sometimes, so you must have a backup to avoid any inconveniences.

But, here’s the catch. There’s an easy and safe way to update your site automatically and be worry-free about any site crashes, and, i.e., via SafeUpdates.

SafeUpdates creates automatic backups and lets you easily revert to the previous versions in case you don’t want to proceed with the changes.

This blog demonstrates how to manage WordPress automatic updates and use SafeUpdates to automate the plugin, theme, and core updates once and for all.

What Are Automatic Updates in WordPress?

WordPress 3.7 introduced automatic updates to improve security and ease site administration. These automatic updates in WordPress are enabled for all minor releases, and streamline the maintenance and security releases to ensure your sites remain updated.

Automatic updates are enabled on most sites by default, but you can customize them as per your requirements.

Different Types of WordPress Automatic Updates

WordPress automatic updates are mainly divided into four types:

The core updates can be subdivided into three categories:

How to Manage WordPress Automatic Updates (4 Methods)

You can manage WordPress automatic updates in several ways, but here I’ll cover the four easily implemented methods preferred by professionals. These methods require some coding knowledge, but to make it easy for non-technical users, I have attached the code below that you can copy. Let’s get started.

Method 1: Using WordPress Dashboard

You can directly manage WordPress automatic updates from the WP-admin dashboard.

WordPress minor updates (security and maintenance releases) are enabled by default, and you can’t disable them from the dashboard. However, you may enable updates for major releases by following the steps below:

(Core Updates)

(Plugin Updates)

(Themes Updates)

WordPress Auto Updates

Automatic Security and maintenance

Method 2: Using the wp-config.php File

You can also manage WordPress updates using the wp-config.php file. However, you must be extra careful and correctly include the line of code. I’ll use the FileZilla FTP Client to access the wp-config.php file. Follow the steps below:

Public html folder FileZilla

wp config php file

Note: The wp-config.php file is among your site’s primary and critical core files containing database connections and passwords. Even a single change can crash your site, so be careful when editing.

Method 3: Using API Filters

Another method to enable WordPress automatic updates that are useful for developers is via API filters. WordPress provides several filters that lets users control the updates.

We can automate the core, plugins, themes, and translation file by returning true through the auto_update_core, auto_update_theme, auto_update_plugin, and auto_update_translation filters.

The best practice is to add the API Filters in the Must-Use plugin folder, which is located in public_html > wp-content. These plugins do not appear on the WordPress Plugins screen, so they can not be accidentally disabled or removed by the site admins.

Let’s have a look at the filters:

To disable all automatic updates.

To update the core of your WordPress.

To allow the automatic WordPress plugin updates.

To allow the automatic WordPress theme updates.

Method 4: Using Plugins

Many WordPress plugins let you enable auto-updates on your WordPress sites, like Easy Update Manager, Updater, Companion, Auto Updater, and more. Let’s explore one plugin – Easy Update Manager, and see how it works.

Easy Updates Manager can disable and enable all the updates with one click. You can deeply customize your automatic update settings, configure email notification settings, and do a lot more.

SafeUpdates for Hassle-Free Automatic WordPress Updates

Tired of manually updating your WordPress site and want an automatic system that requires zero attention and performs updates free of any risks or errors? SafeUpdates is the answer to all your site update problems.

SafeUpdates automates the WordPress update process, streamlining the maintenance process and letting you detect, test, and deploy updates. And on Cloudways, you can have this revolutionary feature for as low as $2/month per application.

Using SafeUpdates on Cloudways helps you carry on-demand and schedule automatic updates with zero effort.

How Does SafeUpdates Work?

Once you activate SafeUpdates on your application, it actively monitors your WordPress application to detect updates. Once updates are triggered, SafeUpdates follows the below steps to ensure updates are safe and bug-free:

Why Should We Use SafeUpdates?

Using SafeUpdates for your WordPress and WooCommerce sites can prove to be beneficial in many ways, including:

How to Automate Your WordPress Updates via SafeUpdates

Activating and configuring SafeUpdates is a breeze for Cloudways users. Here’s how you can easily automate your WordPress updates via SafeUpdates in minutes:

Activate SafeUpdates

Cloudways SafeUpdates

Activate SafeUpdates

Now, it’s time to configure SafeUpates. Let’s see how you can do that.

Configure SafeUpdates

You can configure SafeUpdates in two ways: On-Demand and Scheduled. Let’s learn more about both options.

On-Demand

The on-demand SafeUpdates option lets you update your WordPress application’s core, themes, and plugins manually on-the-go.

The update process will start, but you can leave the page as they’ll run in the background and wouldn’t require any intervention.

Scheduling your application updates removes the hassle of manually updating anything, displaying the true potential of SafeUpdates. Here’s how you can schedule the automatic updates.

Enable Automatic Updates on SafeUpdates

The third and last tab under SafeUpdates is History, which displays the history of updates (successful/aborted) executed by the SafeUpdates.

So, with SafeUpdates, you can easily schedule or perform on-demand updates and check the update history.

You can also disable or deactivate SafeUpdates via the Cloudways platform at any point. Follow the steps below:

Clicking the deactivate button will disable SafeUpdates on your application.

How to Disable Automatic Updates for WordPress

Disabling Automatic Updates happens with a single click on the Cloudways Platform with SafeUpdates. But, if you don’t use SafeUpdates, you can still disable the automatic updates on your WordPress sites in two ways, i.e., via plugins or using code.

Despite the security benefits of WordPress automatic updates, these updates can break your running site. So, you must know how to disable automatic updates on WordPress to save your site from breaking.

Disabling Automatic WordPress Updates Using Code

Earlier, I demonstrated using the wp-config.php file to activate automatic updates. You can disable the auto updates using the same steps and making the code changes as mentioned below:

You can also disable the updates by using Filters. If you want to disable theme and plugin updates, simply add the following filters in your theme’s functions.php file:

That’s it. You’ve now disabled the automatic updates on your WordPress site.

Disabling Automatic WordPress Updates Using a Plugin

Another way to disable the automatic WordPress updates is by using a plugin. I’ll use the same plugin I previously used to automate the updates: The Easy Updates Manager plugin.

Note: It is not recommended to disable all updates. Instead, explore each option, like WordPress core updates, Plugin updates, and Theme updates, and configure each accordingly.

Pros and Cons of WordPress Auto Updates

Pros Cons
They keep your websites up-to-date and relevant You can lose track of the changes and minor updates on your website
Reduces workload You can lose traffic
Respond faster to updates Your site could crash
Saves time Risk of data loss
Secures your website

You can save yourself from all the hectic manual steps of updating your WordPress site and use SafeUpdates to automatically update your site’s core, themes, and plugins. SafeUpdates on Cloudways is affordable, fast, and secure. Have any questions in mind? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Q: Does WordPress have automatic updates?

Yes. WordPress automatically installs new minor releases on your site to improve its security. However, you need to set up options for automatic major updates.

Q: How do I stop WordPress from automatically updating?

You can stop the WordPress auto-update by adding the following code in your wp-config.php file:

You can also use plugins like the Easy Updates Manager plugin that allow you to disable automatic updates.

Q: How often should WordPress be updated?

You should update your WordPress site at least twice a month to prevent security breaches.

Q: How do you check for WordPress updates?

Follow the steps below to check for WordPress updates.

You can also click the check again button to manually check for WordPress updates.

Q: Should I enable auto updates on WordPress?

Yes. Enabling auto updates will address crucial security issues and vulnerabilities on your website.

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Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]

This content was originally published here.