In a recent beta test announcement, WordPress highlighted the upcoming release of its 5.7 update. Unfortunately, many businesses will ignore the prompt to update their websites to the latest and greatest WordPress version. By dodging the latest updates, you will miss out on the new features, and you could even be putting your data at risk!
According to research, 49% of the world’s top websites were not using the most up-to-date WordPress version. 33% of sites were at least two updates behind. Currently, the most up-to-date WordPress installation is WordPress 5.6 “Simone”, released in December 2020 – but many businesses still run WordPress 5.0 or below.
For many people, this may not seem to be an issue. It’s a ‘back-end’, unseen attribute of your website and it’s easy to adopt an ‘‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. However, those using WordPress must be aware of the issues caused by old versions – especially those that could lead to dangerous security breaches or other critical errors.
Like all things digital, by failing to stay up to date, you’re also falling behind your competitors or general business growth by missing out on some of the great features offered by updates.
So, let’s cover what the most recent WordPress update means for your website – and why it’s vital that you, or your web designer, clicks the all-important ‘update now’ button.
What is the latest update?
The latest WordPress update, WordPress 5.6 “Simone” was released in December 2020 – but it’s the next one, version 5.7 targetted for release in March 2021, that we are excited about.
The new release will include vital security features such as making it easier to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, an essential step for all businesses who want a secure website.
But realistically, it’s the extensive list of bug-fixes that will be released when the main update drops which are the most important (and often ignored) changes. It’s these small bug fixes and security updates that, over releases, become more and more important until those using old installations are running websites that are vulnerable to all manner of digital threats. If you don’t run the latest version of WordPress, you’re missing out on these recent changes.
In short, the changes available from version 5.0 to the current 5.6 (soon to be 5.7) include:
- Performance improvements in the block editor feature
- Site health checker
- PHP error protection
- An easy way to amend Group and Column elements on your site
- Enhanced privacy tools – a must in 2021
- ‘Lazy loading’ images which only load when a visitor scrolls to them, increasing page speed
- A built-in accessibility statement generator
What WordPress 5.0 and below means for your business
If you’re still running a sub 5.0 version of WordPress on your site, you risk exposing your website to some critical issues that can cause havoc. These were reported on WordPress’ official site and include:
- Log-in pages could be exposed to search engines, divulging sensitive email addresses and even passwords.
- Authors without admin permission may be able to access posts they shouldn’t by exploiting meta-data bugs.
- Authors could also use metadata to inject PHP objects into a site, potentially leading to critical issues and data breaches.
To make all of this clear, we have a definitive statement: if you’re on a version of WordPress which is below 5.01, you’re not only missing out on the great features and reduced loading speeds of the latest releases, you’re also exposing your website and as a result, your customers, to critical issues that can spell disaster for your data.
Updating is fairly simple, but for those who aren’t confident with development, the process can be a little bit intimidating, as problems can lead to data loss. You should always back-up your site before performing the update.
Don’t take risks: let’s get up-to-date
If your website uses WordPress, it’s time to get yourself up to date. Don’t worry – we can help you make the change and ensure that you don’t lose any data during the transition.
Get in touch today if you’d like to get your site updated. Remember: it’s no longer just an inconvenience you can ignore. Updating means vital security improvements that will keep your site and your customers safe.