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Tech & Trends

Essential WordPress Website Updates

30 March 2020


There are three types of website updates that are regularly required to keep your hotel’s WordPress site running smoothly. This article will explain what these updates are, what you should look out for before you update and how your hosting provider can/should help you with that.

WordPress is the most used CMS (Content Management System) on the internet. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers at least ⅓ of ALL websites and ⅔ of all CMS based websites. The very first version of WordPress launched in 2003, so about 17 years ago! That makes it older than Twitter or Facebook. What started out as a very basic blogging platform has grown into a complex CMS that can carry fully bespoke websites for your hotel and integrate with powerful marketing tools. No wonder, various versions have been released since, adding more features and keeping it secure. This also means that there is more to keeping your hotel website running and working smoothly than just a server.

WordPress updates

One question we get asked quite frequently is “Should I make sure that my website is updated to the latest WordPress version as soon as it is released?”. The answer is “it depends”. It is good to check what an update includes before you do and if it is a big change to the previous version or a minor one. A good example of this is Gutenberg. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it is one of the biggest updates we have had in a while. A lot of older websites weren’t compatible with it and pages weren’t editable after the update. When something like this happens, reach out to your web hosting provider for support. It might just be a quick fix like adding a plugin (in this case the Classic Editor plugin helped with a lot of sites) or it could be a developer job to get to the bottom of things. However, another reason to delay a WordPress update is the use of plugins which we will get into next.

Plugin updates

Every WordPress site will run with at least a few plugins. Plugins are little software extensions that add functionality to a website and are one of the main reasons why WordPress became so widely used. While we try to keep the usage of plugins to a minimum (we like our custom-builds) there are a few essential ones that will make your site even better. Apart from adding new features, providers have to make sure their plugin is compatible with the new WordPress version but also with other plugins that are commonly used with it (to avoid plugin conflicts). It might be worth delaying the WordPress update slightly to give plugin developers a chance to catch up (this again depends on how big the update is).

PHP updates

PHP is a programming and scripting language that can be used to create dynamic interactive websites – like WordPress sites. It now stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” (it’s a recursive acronym) but initially stood for “Personal Home Page”. You don’t need to understand what it is exactly but just know that PHP also gets updated and because it is a language, new versions can affect:

It’s basically like updating the vocabulary and/or grammar of the server and your site hasn’t heard the news yet and won’t be able to talk to it any more….

Sounds complicated?

Luckily, if you invest in a good hosting package you won’t have to worry about any of the above because you will have a digital marketing expert on your side that updates your hotel website for you and will know how to fix any issues that arise as a result of it.

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