How to Automatically Update WordPress Themes and Plugins


One of the best features released by WordPress recently has been automatic updates. Introduced in version 3.7, WordPress can now install minor and major updates without the user even realizing. No action is required (other than the opening of an email providing confirmation of the latest installation) and the feature provides a much smoother experience for users, with bug fixes and security issues within the WP core fixed immediately.

Now, along with the WordPress core updates, it also possible to set plugins and themes to update automatically, ensuring your full site is running the latest releases. In this tutorial, we will show you how you can make this happen.

Backing Up your Website

Before we get started, we recommend that you ensure you have a scheduled backup in place. While the likelihood of encountering a problem is slim, any update carries a risk and you should not leave anything to chance.

If you do not currently have a backup plan in place, we have a couple of tutorials that can guide you through the process easily.

Installing Advanced Automatic Updates

Automatically updating themes and plugins is not a core feature of WordPress and instead requires the use of a plugin. The plugin in question is called Advanced Automatic Updates and is simple to use.

To install this plugin, login to your WordPress admin panel and go to Plugins > Add New from the sidebar menu. In the search filed enter “Advanced Automatic Updates” and click on Install Now when it appears in the search results.

Once WordPress has successfully installed the plugin, click on Activate Plugin to complete the installation.

Configuring the Plugin

Now that Advanced Automatic Updates is installed, you can configure the settings to suit your requirements. These can be accessed by going to Plugins > Installed Plugins and clicking on the Settings link below the plugin title.

In settings, you will be provided with a number of options, the most important being:

  • Update WordPress Core automatically? – Major versions – Minor and security versions
  • Update your plugins automatically?
  • Update your themes automatically?

Check the box next to each of these options to enable the feature.

Next is the Notification Email option, which allows you to set an override email address or choose to disable email notifications, and Debug Information, which gives three options as to how WordPress will provide information:

  • Always
  • Only when upgrading development versions (Recommended)
  • Never

When you have configured the settings, click on Save Changes to confirm the set up.

WordPress will now automatically update your themes and plugins and provide notifications to your registered or override email address. Upon receiving these emails, make sure to check your website to ensure an update has worked correctly.

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