How Plugin Updates Can Get You into Trouble

Do you regularly log into your WordPress dashboard and apply important updates? Good for you! Preventative maintenance is as vital for your website as it is for your car.

But what do you do when something goes wrong?

The Problem

A client recently emailed me because after updating her plugins, she got an error message and could no longer access her WordPress dashboard.

Plugin updates are important for the security of your WordPress site, but what do you do when something goes wrong?Click To Tweet

Upon investigation, I determined that one of her plugins wasn’t compatible with the old version of PHP that her site was running.

What is PHP and what’s it got to do with me?

WPBeginner explains that “PHP is a programming and scripting language to create dynamic interactive websites. WordPress is written using PHP as the scripting language.”

Your hosting company enables PHP on your hosting account, and most of the time, you don’t even need to think about it. Some web hosts periodically update your version of PHP. My clients’ apparently didn’t, leading to the problem described above.

The Short-Term Solution

  1. I installed WP Engine’s PHP 7 Compatibility Checker plugin.
  2. I ran some tests and discovered that her WordPress theme was likely to have problems with any of the newer versions of PHP.
  3. I updated her theme and then her PHP version, fully restoring site functionality.

Fortunately, this particular problem only affected the WordPress dashboard. Sometimes an incompatible plugin will cause your whole website to crash – which may drive potential clients right to your competition. Can you afford to have your website offline for even a few hours?

The Long-Term Solution

If you don’t have the time or technical expertise to look after your website, it may be time to sign up for a Yearly Maintenance Package.

Janet
Follow me

Janet

I'm a web designer and DIY marketing facilitator who loves helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.
Janet
Follow me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *