Forgetting to Update Your Plugins Can Become an “Oh Shat!” Moment

~This was originally posted in April 2017~

One of the things I find when I’m working with clients is that they fail to remember to update their WordPress Plugins. I try to explain during the whole migrating to WordPress.org process that it’s not as easy as the free platform they were using. Moving to self-hosted WordPress.org means not only do you have to write great content and create visually appealing images but maintain the backend of your website.

This is why I like to mention my Blog Management service that can help them stay out of trouble with their sites.

Forgetting to Update Your Plugins Can Become an “Oh Shat!” Moment

Case and point: You’re creating a new post and you see the little-circled number next to your “Plugins” in your WordPress Dashboard. Either you don’t know what it means and don’t pursue it further or you do know what it means and just don’t feel it necessary. You continue to work on adding images to your new blog post, editing the content, and eventually publish.

We all know how exciting it can be to publish a new post. Especially if you think it’s a great one! You can wait to start pushing it out to all your social media networks so you hop over to the live post and start clicking those Share buttons!

[clickToTweet tweet=”We all know how exciting it can be to publish a new post. Especially if you think it’s a great one!” quote=”We all know how exciting it can be to publish a new post. Especially if you think it’s a great one!”]

Almost instantaneously after you start sharing it, you begin receiving feedback on social media. You get involved with chit-chat over your post and lose all track of time. Don’t Beat Yourself Up! We all do it!

However, several hours later or even the next day, you come back to the website to begin responding to comments and find you cannot access your website!

You frantically start thinking about what could have gone wrong! You quite possibly could even have a meltdown right there in front of your laptop! You cry out for help on social media! You just want someone to tell you “It’s going to be alright!”

You get asked, “Do you have a backup?” Of course, you

Of course, you do don’t! You’ve been too busy writing and sharing content! Who backs up their sites?

You are then asked, “Did you make any changes to your site?” “Have you contacted your web host?” “Do you have a security plugin?”

And then it hits you like a ton of bricks! 

FAIL

The Plugins!

You failed to update your plugins and now one or several of them have been breached and your site has been taken over by HACKERS!

You may think this is a bit extreme…..

But, I’ve seen it happen. Unfortunately, as a Web Designer, there isn’t much I can help you with except suggest you reach out to your web host and pray that you are using a reputable one like SiteGround or GreenGeeks {afflink}.

What happens from here can be totally dependent on the hacked, the web host, and anyone else who chooses to try to assist the hacked.

Security Breaches are only One Reason Why We Should Update Our Plugins

There are many other reasons why to include:

  • to fix any quirks or bugs in that version
  • to add additional features and/or functionalities
  • to Strengthen Security

You may think it can never happen to you if you don’t update your plugins.

Would you like to bet on that?

Do you Know the Rule about WordPress Plugins?

Yeah, I know. I really don’t like rules but when it comes to the Security and Functionality of my website, I abide by them.

  • Don’t install a plugin if it hasn’t been updated in a year. I sometimes even go by the 8-month mark.
  • Research the DevelopersIf you can’t find a lot about them, chances are you might not want to install that plugin.
  • Ask other Bloggers for recommendations. There are a lot of Bloggers out there that have a great list of Resources available.
  • Don’t install more than what you really need. Too many plugins can bog down your site speed.
  • If you’re not using it, Delete it! I’ve seen many sites with oodles of deactivated plugins. Get rid of them!

Sometimes, Life Happens

I’ve said it many times. Life can happen at any moment and take us away from our passions online.

Pinit Forgetting to Update Your Plugins Can Become an Oh Shat Moment

 

CommentLuv

CommentLuv is was a great tool for our blogs. But let me clear this one thing up. CommentLuv is not a WordPress Commenting System. I see this said so many times on Blogs. They talk about Disqus, IntenseDebate, and CommentLuv.

Guess What?

CommentLuv is not a commenting system! CommentLuv works along with the native WordPress.org comment system.

Shew! Felt good to clear up that misconception.

Updated March 2019

Thanks to my girlfriend, Debbie of The Doglady’s Den for informing me that CommentLuv is now under new management and has been updated! I’m including a link to the plugin and a video for your enjoyment! I personally have not used the updated version but please see Debbie’s comments below who has been using it. 😉

Thanks again, Debbie!

Still, many thanks to Andy Bailey for the original CommentLuv!

That said, how many of you will be heading back to your websites to check your plugins? 😉

In closing

Keeping our websites secure should be our number one priority. If you have blogging friends that are just starting out, please be sure to guide them and inform them about the importance of:

  1. Having a reputable Security Plugin
  2. Updating their plugins when updates roll-out
  3. Don’t install any that haven’t been updated in a year
  4. Not using it, get rid of it
  5. Research, research, research

I would love to hear from you! Have you run into any issues with un-updated plugins? What about those who haven’t been updated in over a year?

 

 

P.S. My heart goes out to Andy Bailey in hopes that someday he will be well enough to continue with his passion.

17 thoughts on “Forgetting to Update Your Plugins Can Become an “Oh Shat!” Moment

  1. Hi Bren,
    To be in such a mess is scary, especially for me who does not have any technical skills. As a result, I make sure to check and update my plugins regularly whenever there is an update. Thanks for sharing, Bren. Good job!

    1. Oh indeed it can be very scary, Moss. But some bloggers just don’t understand the importance even if you tell them. I’m happy you are staying on top of yours. Thanks for sharing with us!

      1. My pleasure, Bren. While some bloggers may not see the need to update always, it creates an avenue for you to dish out a series of content on the subject.

  2. Good morning Brenda, oh yes I have some old plugins on mine I need to delete. I keep thinking I may use them again but then I don’t. Thanks for that warning. I am noticing more spam and I wonder if it is from CommentLuv. What other ones would you recommend? I need to keep my eyes open on that one for sure. I loved the CommentLuv and I wonder how much is he selling it for? It would be cool to own that one and have it updated.
    Another thing I learned is not to update the WordPress updates immediately, sometimes they come with bugs and I got burned once when I updated the same day it came out. I let a few days go by now and let others test the waters with it.
    Thanks for sharing on this Brenda and have a Happy Monday!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Oh, girl! You better get to it! I have yet to find a plugin like CommentLuv. However, I’m thinking as long as a person has a Gravatar account, we can always click their image and go to their website fairly easily. I’m hoping at some point there will be a similar plugin.

      As for Andy (bless his heart), I don’t even know if CLuv is for sale. The website has been taken down with no further information. Very sad indeed as CLuv was such a great tool for us.

      I am still seeking an alternative to it but until I can find one suitable, I’ll have to go without. Possibly could be part of your spam issue like I found out when I removed CLuv from my site.

      Thanks for sharing with us! Happy Monday!

      Bren

  3. Hi Brenda,
    I had many frustrating problems with my site that literally cost me sleep. I did have plugin updates but the plugins had nothing to do with the functionality of my site. I updated them anyway, and everything was fine. Do you think it’s coincidence?
    Janice

    1. Oh boy, Janice. Been there, done that with the sleep. Ugh….. I’m a firm believer in updating when the new version rolls out. But sometimes that update can cause conflicts with other plugins or themes. It’s a toss up but as long as I’m keeping a backup, I’ll continue to update those plugins. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

      Great to see you here! Thanks for sharing!

      Bren

  4. I had my website go down a few months ago and didn’t even notice it for several hours (goodbye traffic!). When I finally did, I panicked and called my hosting company. I was so very kindly and patiently helped and told that it was a plugin I had updated the night before. They helped me fix the problem and from now on each time I update a plugin (which I do as soon as they are available) I check my website to make sure the update didn’t hurt my site. This post is a great reminder, thank you!

    1. Hi Monica,

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m glad that your web host was able to help you out and get your site functional again. Have you tried using JetPack Monitor? It will alert you when your site goes down or is unable to be reached. Just a thought.

      Thanks for your comment. Have a fab day!

      Bren

  5. Hi Bren,

    This is so true. I have gotten more than just one emergency call from a client that their site is not working – and sure enough outdated plugins and themes were most likely the culprits.

    I feel like a naysayer but I always warn people that self hosted WordPress is not set it and forget it, if they are thinking of switching.

    Really nice article!

    1. Hi Neena,

      I like how you warn your clients. I too like to make sure they know what they are getting into. However, as you know, we can’t do it all for them and it is ultimately up to them…. unless they hire us to manage their blog for them.

      Outdated and unupdated plugins can certainly be a real booger!

      Thanks for sharing with us!

      Bren

  6. Hi Bren,

    I agree with you updating plugins is a must. I also don’t use any plugins unless they are from reputable developers. People don’t realize how important it is to keep their plugins updated. Glad to know that you got them covered with your blog management program 🙂

    This is the first time I’ve heard about the CommentLuv plugin not being updated. I was actually just wondering if I should add it to my blog. I purchased a premium license awhile ago with my last blog.

    I am not using it on my new blog. After reading this, I won’t be installing it. Like you, I don’t like to use plugins that haven’t been updated in a while.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and I know that they will definitely help remind people to take a look at their plugins.

    Have a great day 🙂

    1. Hi Susan,

      I’m glad to hear that you play it safe with your plugins. I’m not trying to deter people away from CommentLuv, I just want to bring awareness to the situation with the plugin itself. I did notice a decrease in spammy comments when I removed it from my sites.

      One can never be too cautious when it comes to the security of our sites. Just one unupdated plugin could cause major disaster for us.

      Glad to see you here again. Have an awesome week ahead!

      Bren

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