Recently we have been looking at ways to improve upon our core services. One of the things we have been wanting to do for quite some time now is to investigate the possibility of providing automatic WordPress updates and upgrades. We know that managing WordPress installations can be a very time consuming activity; trying to ensure that the WordPress core and all of your plugins are up to date. Failing to do this can result in performance issues or even, as a worst case scenario, a site being hacked or compromised. Since WordPress is by far the most commonly installed script on our servers, we felt that there must be something we can do as a hosting provider to help make the process easier for our customers.
Over the last few weeks we have been developing a script (based on WP-CLI) that checks for out of date WordPress installations and updates them, along with any out of date installed plugins. To our surprise, we found that on every one of our hosting servers, at least 80% of WordPress installations were out of date. Some of these were extremely out of date (even by years) and were vulnerable to many publicly known exploits and vulnerabilities. It was clear to us that keeping WordPress up to date and secure was a big problem that needed addressing.
Having a script automatically update WordPress and its plugins may seem like a scary thought, but it needn’t be. WordPress has included a “one click upgrade” process for quite some time now and even its plugins can be updated automatically from within the dashboard. The script we’ve developed does very much the same thing as this but from a command-line level instead of accessing the WordPress installation via login.
Going forward we will be implementing and running this script across all of our servers to keep WordPress installations up to date on a regular basis. Please be advised that this does not guarantee your WordPress installations will be secure, as every installation is different, but we do hope that it will help to further protect our customers against insecure versions of both WordPress and plugins that they may have installed – as well as ease the management and maintenance required.
Please let us know your thoughts or provide any feedback in the comments below.