WordPress 5.5, released on August 11, 2020, introduced a new feature: enabling automatic plugin and theme updates. Like most agencies that manage multiple sites and clients, we have always manually updated our sites then tested the results. We felt the risk of breaking client sites was not worth the reward.
However, most of the standard themes that are bundled with WordPress, and many plugins, can be safely updated without concern. On the flip side, there are many plugins and websites that should not be auto-updated. WooCommerce sites are a good example, since an update could potentially occur when a client is ordering online.
Another concern is WordPress sends out “howdy” emails every time a plugin, core or theme update occurs. This can be incredibly annoying for clients.
The Web242 Utility Plugin
We wanted to address these issues and provide a more streamlined and automated process as part of our WordPress Managed plans. In December, we actively worked on our inhouse utility plugin and have been testing it thoroughly on several of our staging and company sites. So far, the results are excellent.
What does the plugin do?
- Allows the inclusion of header and footer scripts (such as Google Analytics or Facebook pixels)
- Suppresses those annoying “howdy” update emails
- Provides direct information to contact Web242 support
Starting in March 2022, we will be installing the Web242 Utility Plugin V2.1.5 on WP Hosting and WP Managed sites (unless we hear otherwise from you). Please note the plugin does not monitor your site, nor is it connected to or send any information back to us.
What We Are Auto-Updating
- Standard WordPress themes that are not the active theme (2020, 2019, etc.)
- Akismet, WordPress Importer, etc.
- Most caching plugins
What We Are NOT Auto-Updating
- WP Core
- Elementor or Elementor Pro
- Any WooCommerce plugins
- Membership plugins
- Non-standard WordPress plugins
Note that if you have a WooCommerce, high-traffic, or other essential site, auto-updates will NOT be enabled. We will continue to update your site manually.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us!