WordPress 3.7 was released last week and it was not without incident. Some sites experienced immediate conflicts. That shook the faith in the new auto update feature in WordPress 3.7. But, you may want to think twice about turning it off completely. And, doing so requires changes to one of the core WordPress files. In this post I’ll give you details on the new update feature, plus ways to set it so that you get the configuration that works best for you and your site.
Stumbled Out of the Gate
Plugin conflicts seem to be the biggest issue with updating to WordPress 3.7. Some site owners got the white screen of death immediately. Others, like me, had no issues with the update, but experienced errors when other plugins were updated or installed. Chief among those were very popular plugins, such as the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, and then several Genesis related plugins.
So many popular plugins were affected that work on WordPress version 3.7.1 started immediately and the Beta version of it was released the next day.
One of the biggest feature changes to WordPress 3.7 is auto updates. But this release snag caused many folks to lose faith that lack of control for updates was going to work and has compelled many to simply want to shut them off completely. But that may not be the best approach.
The new auto update feature comes with filters so that you can control the type of updates that can be run automatically.
On the WordPress.org site, Andrew Nacin has written The Definitive Guide to Disabling Auto Updates in WordPress 3.7.
It’s rather technical and aimed at developers. A few of them have already chimed in with comments both for and against allowing auto updates.
But even if you’re not a developer, you should read this post if you’re considering turning auto updates off. It’s not just an all-or-nothing choice. And, it could affect updates on your plugins and theme too. The post details the filters that can be set for what gets updated or not.
Simplified How To
The code that needs to be changed is in the wp-config.php file. It’s mentioned in number 4 in Nacin’s Definitive Guide along with the other choices for filters you can set. I’ve included it below for you to see, along with what to change.
A Word of Caution
If you don’t understand the code below, you should take that as a clue that you don’t need to fool with it. You could mess up your WordPress installation if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a LOT cheaper to pay a qualified geek to do this than it is to pay them to fix the mess you made of it, not to mention the potential down time.
Minor Updates On
To set auto updates so that only minor updates are installed automatically, do nothing. It is set that way by default.
This will install security and bug fix releases, such as 3.7.1. But, it will not install major releases, such as the next full version of 3.8.
This is the setting I’m using on BlogAid.
The code in your wp-config.php file is shown below. Note the word minor at the end.
All Updates Off
To turn all auto updates off, change the word minor to false, as shown below.
All Updates On
If you’re feeling lucky, then turn the faucet wide open by setting the word minor to the word true, as shown below. The word true at the end sets the update function so that your site will receive all automatic updates on everything. Good luck with that! (And if you’re that brave, let me know in the comments, and why you’re doing it.)
There are plugins to filter updates or turn them off. Here’s one from Gary Pendergast called Automatic Updater For WordPress.
As good as it is, a plugin is my least recommended way to do this. Get this set in the code, the right way. Hire someone if you need to. Just know that you will likely need to give them access to your cPanel.
Your Only Real Safety Net
As with all updates, nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a solid backup strategy. Get my free report to see how the solution you’re using compares to what I use and recommend to all of my clients. In fact, I won’t launch a client site without it because I know who they are going to call first if there is ever a problem.