There are two types of WordPress updates released, at different intervals:
Minor updates – e.g. from v4.5.1 to v4.5.2. These are released on average once every couple of months.
Major updates – e.g. from v4.5 to v4.6. These are released roughly every 3-6 months.
Who Releases them?
Being free and open source, WordPress is constantly developed by a community of developers who put together and release the new versions.
What do the Updates Contain?
Generally, each new minor version of the WordPress software includes bug fixes and security patches.
Major updates tend to include new features and tweaks towards improving performance, as well as enhancing existing features where needed.
Why should I Update?
Security – Being so popular, WordPress is instantly a target for hackers. Because it’s open source, those looking to cause damage have full access to the code behind it to look for vulnerabilities. Every time a vulnerability is found in the code by WordPress’ developers they make sure to fix it in new releases. Not having the latest version of WordPress (or any plugins in use) leaves yourself open to be exploited.
New Features – Each major update of WordPress includes new features designed to improve it. Why would you want to miss out on these?
Speed and Bug Fixes – As well as new features, each WordPress update also looks to improve website speed (important for SEO) and correct any bugs found.
How do I Update my WordPress Installation?
When updating WordPress, it’s important to make sure your theme and plugins are compatible with the new version. Failure to do so can lead to parts of your website breaking.
For this reason, Somerset Web Services handle all WordPress updates for our customers who have a support agreement with us.