When managing your WordPress site, you will occasionally notice that not only does the version of WordPress need to be updated, but also your plugins and themes. For security, functionality and compatibility reasons, it's important to stay updated.
- Make a full backup updating, just to be safe. A great free backup plugin is BackupWordpress. BackupWordpress backs up both files and database. Backing up to cloud storage requires a paid add-on. For users who want to backup, use cloud storage and have an easy restore option, check out premium plugin BackupBuddy.
- If possible use a staging area to test the updates. For example, you can use a service like WPStagecoach. That way you are not updating on your live site.
- If you are updating a WordPress version, and plugins or themes, it is suggest to start with updating your WordPress version first.
- Backups are important for security, functionality and compatibility reasons.
- WordPress now automatically updates your smaller version, eg 4.1 to 4.1.1 unless your hosting, the person that did your site, or you have turned it off via code or a plugin.
Important Side Notes:
Yes, updating anything can cause an issue; nothing is 100% guaranteed. But it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you have had your theme customized via code directly into the theme files, and a child theme was not created, an update of the theme will cause you to lose all your themes customizations.