If you have been using WordPress for some time, you’ll have noticed a link on your admin dashboard prompting you to update to a new version. It is a common thing for webmaster that engages in constant website maintenance.

When WordPress updated her software to 3.7, they included automatic update (i.e, they help you update your website to WordPress current version automatically) and also send a mail to the default email address on the website when the update is concluded.

This they do probably to reduce the effect of hacker and other security threats. I personally give kudos to them for this laudable and unbeatable effort.WordPress Update link

However, the inclusion of this automatic update effected on site pulled along certain inherent problems for site owners. This is so because when you fail to update your theme and plugins especially those that are not installed from WordPress repository before updating WordPress to current version, you might be in for unpleasant surprises in the rendering of your website. Your theme especially may lost it potency and that may distort general performance of the site.

This automatic update could be done anytime which means you might not be aware on time to quickly update your theme. In an event where you do not have access to update the theme, what happens? Plugins are better because the developers always almost immediately update their plugins to conform with WordPress current version especially the ones that are maintained properly. All you need do is to update along side or discard or replace those that do not function properly.

For this reason that hinges on site performance, you might want to consider disabling WordPress automatic update in order to have control as to when to update.

It is worthy of note to say here that it is expedient if not compulsory to quickly update a WordPress powered website to new version so that your site will not suffer any security issues rather it will enjoy new features that could bring about dynamic functionality.

Ensure you backup your files before embarking on any update or file alterations in case of any eventualities which does happen though in rare cases.WordPress Update Page

The process of stopping WordPress automatic update

There are several options available to do this using two major methods- plugin and Code.

Plugin Method

This method is the best choice for WordPress beginners or people who do not want to get their hand dirty with code or better still, webmaster who does not really care about installing another plugin.

All you need to do is to head on to WordPress plugin repository and search for Advanced Automatic Updates plugin. Download it and install on your website.

You can also install it within your admin dashboard under plugin, click Add New. Type the name of the plugin into the search box and hit enter. Then follow the installation process. Activate it and go to the plugin setting page. You’ll find several update options. Set it the way you’d like your site to be updated.

Note: Too many plugins can hamper the performance of your website especially the load time. So, it is advisable to use less plugin. Less is more here.

Should you don’t want to install another plugin may be for this purpose, be ready to fiddle with code. You’ll find it very easy the way I’ll walk you through it.

Code Method

1. If you want to disable automatic update on WordPress, but still want to be notified when new version is released so as to do the update at a more convenient time, follow the procedure below:

– Go to the back-end of your hosting package through the Cpanel or whatever the name it’s called on your web hosting company. Alternatively, you can access it through Filezilla installed on your computer.
– If you access it through cpanel, go to File Manager and open the file called wp-config.php. Add the code below to the bottom of the file content.

 define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

– Save it and you’re done.
If you go through filezilla, just look for where you installed WordPress. Open wp-config.php and add the code as explained above.

2. You might want to update plugins and themes installed from WordPress repository automatically. This is better if you have not performed any customization on them. For the theme, you could install child theme of the active theme.

NOTE: Any theme installed outside WordPress repository, you’ll be responsible for the update and not WordPress. Most of the time, the premium theme company where you bought the theme will provide update which would reflect on your admin dashboard under items that need to be updated.

So, how do we set automatic update for plugin and theme? To do this, you’ll have to add filter and set the specific function to true within the wp-config.php.

Plugin automatic update setting:
Go to wp-config.php and add the code below to it.

 add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' );

Click save and you’re done.

Theme automatic update setting:
Still within the wp-config.php, add the code below to it and save.

 add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_true' );

This will only update themes and plugins you installed within WordPress repository. The premium themes and plugins you bought from other sources will not be updated automatically.

3. If you want to stop WordPress update completely, add the code below to the bottom of wp-config.php and save.


You won’t be notified of any core update neither will your site experience any automatic update.

There could be reasons best known to you why you might want to opt for this option. This is not the best advice on long term basis. Please, thread with caution.

4. Email notification setting
You might want to stop receiving email notification WordPress use to send to the website default email regarding updates.

To do this, go to the active theme Functions.php file and add the code below to the bottom of the file.

 apply_filters( 'auto_core_update_send_email', false, $type, $core_update, $result );

Ensure this sign ‘}’ is the last on that file.

If you find these things difficult to do or you do not have the time to do it, we can help you because we offer website maintenance services that ensure your site is up and running effectively at all times.

These are the available WordPress update options I know. You can combine these options in a way suitable to what you want. Just make sure you carry out updates when your traffic level is at the lowest. I give this suggestion should something go wrong, the loses associated with the time it will take to put things back in proper shape in relation to the incoming traffic and cost of acquisition would be minimal.

Always backup your website before performing an update whether minor or major. Any other ideas or suggestions?

Francis 'Toke
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