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Introducing: ThisWebHost WAU (WordPress Automatic Updater) BETA

January 27th, 2018

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It’s no surprise that WordPress is the most popular script that our customers run on their websites. Unfortunately it’s also the most targeted script when it comes to brute-force hack attempts, vulnerability scanning and other malicious attacks. Not keeping your WordPress installation(s) and plugins up to date is the most common cause of compromised websites that we see, and yet over 90% of our customers don’t regularly update these! We want to change that.

Introducing ThisWebHost WAU (WordPress Automatic Updater)

Some time ago now we began working on a system that will automatically find all WordPress installations on our servers and update them to the latest version, along with any plugins that are installed. We’re pleased to announce that we’re now ready for this system to hit public beta release!

ThisWebHost WAU is a two part system. The first component is a set of scripts that we’ve developed that will automatically, and with no input needed from yourselves, update your WordPress core version(s) and all plugins that are installed. This is something that runs in the background on our servers, and not something our customers will see or be able to interact with. The second part is a cPanel plugin that we’ve developed which will allow you to “opt-out” of either updating the core WordPress version, or any plugins that are installed in that specific WordPress folder. Here are some screenshots to demonstrate the system.

You can find ThisWebHost WAU in the ‘Software’ section of cPanel:

ThisWebHost WAU Icon

On the ThisWebHost WAU main page, you can view your currently detected WordPress installations. If you add a new installation, or modify the plugins on an existing installation, you may click the ‘Re-scan’ button for the plugin to instantly detect these changes:

ThisWebHost WAU Main Screen

On clicking ‘Manage Install’ you will be taken to a page that allows you to enable/disable the automatic updating of the WordPress core version:

ThisWebHost WAU Core

At the bottom of this same page is a list of plugins that are currently installed on the WordPress installation. All are checked by default, but unchecking a plugin will ensure that our systems do not automatically update it:

ThisWebHost WAU Plugins

That’s all there is to it! It’s a very simple plugin, but we have plans to extend the functionality and improve the interface in the near future.

What does this mean for you?
We have developed this system in mind to keep your WordPress installations and plugins up to date in order to help minimise the attacks that you may face. An out of date plugin, for example, may have security issues which could lead to your site being compromised. The system is also designed to help those who are not familiar with WordPress keep their systems up to date and running healthily. At the same time, we recognise and acknowledge that some of you may not want these features, or have specific custom versions of plugins that you would like left alone. That’s why we’ve developed the accompanying cPanel plugin – so you have full control over how the system operates!

Please be advised that this system is currently considered to be beta. While we have tested it extensively to try and eliminate the possibility of bugs or issues, there is the chance that you experience a bug or two. If this happens to you, please open a support ticket from our client area and let us know what trouble you are having and we’ll try and resolve them as soon as we can.

Thank you for your time, and we hope that you enjoy this new service!

What do you think?