WordPress Software Sees Its First Auto-Update – Thoughts & Notes

wordpress logoHello Automatic 

You may have noticed that WordPress 3.8.1 has arrived this week!

It brought with it 31 important bug fixes and security updates. You can see those here .

This is what’s known as an minor update (meaning small but not unimportant) and you can identify that by seeing that it is the third number in the sequence.

You MAY have gotten an email from your WordPress installation that it auto-updated to 3.8.1 for you!

Cool beans!

This auto-update for minor/incremental updates became a feature back in version 3.7 but this is the first time we’ve seen them occur.

Some people do not like this feature – but all in all you will find that minor updates rarely break stuff – and most of the time they contain big security patches that are needed “right now”.

Once you get the email – go over to your site and ensure that everything is still operational.

auto-upgrade-happyhomemagIt’s highly recommended that you use an automatic/scheduled backup tool so that your backups are occuring regularly since now your minor updates are occurring regularly too. I highly recommend BackupBuddy

If your website has not yet updated itself automatically – don’t panic! Many sites are still lagging behind and we are not sure why. (This includes a couple of mine.) Dev team will probably comment soon.  You can either wait a week and see if it sorts itself out automatically or go ahead and update. (Always wait a week with major releases though, they are more likely to cause conflicts than minor releases are.)

If yours does not autoupdate and you want to be sure it’s not your configurations, check out the background update tester . 

background-update-testerThere are many – mostly personal – reasons that you may not want the minor updates to automatically update. 

For most of my readers – disabling this is a bad idea – but if it’s right for you you may want to investigate it. 

If you want to disable WP auto-updates using code or plugins, click here to learn more. However, remember that you must continue staying vigilant about getting the updates applied in a timely manner in the “old fashioned” way then. 

It’s this focus on needing-code that has some WordPress pros upset over this move towards automatic updates .  The system is not-only an opt-out system but an opt-out that is perhaps more complicated than necessary.

So many of my readers are (to some degree rightly) scared of doing updates and that means that they leave their sites sitting vulnerable for way too long. While this will not get them through the more risky major updates (like a jump from 3.8.1 to 3.9), it will help them get needed security patches for the current version they are on as long as they are on the most recent major update. 

Has your WordPress site auto-updated yet? 

Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments below!

~ Kim ~
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20 Comments on "WordPress Software Sees Its First Auto-Update – Thoughts & Notes"

1 year 3 months ago

I had to manually update mine… Lucky me!

1 year 3 months ago

I love that it automatically updated! Cause I’m one of those people you talk about who aren’t so comfortable doing them… So for me it’s a bonus… however we’ll see if I run into issues….

1 year 3 months ago


For me it was a relief to have all my blogs update automatically. That saved me a lot of time and it is making all my blogs more secure. There are a few that I have not visited in quite awhile because it was set up for a specific purpose awhile ago. But if I don’t update those, and they are add on domains, they may affect the other domains that are connected. This was a nice surprise and a relief.


Dr. Erica

1 year 3 months ago

Done! Looks like it’s working fine. It’s good to have one less thing to be concerned about. :)


1 year 3 months ago

I’m all for it – because like you I find that clients don’t update because they’re scared to do so – and that does leave their site’s very vulnerable. But it does have a rather “big brother” feel to the whole thing