Should I Update WordPress Core or Plugins First? 4 Steps and Done


Are you in a dilemma, which one you should update first- WordPress core or plugins? Though “updating order” totally depends on you yet you need to know the proper updating order to prevent any issues. Then you’ll have the answer, should I update WordPress core or plugins first?

There are times when a WordPress newbie is not likely to go with any updates because of the fear of breaking the side down. But once you know how to update a WordPress site in an orderly manner, preventing errors would be easy and troubleshooting is a gift.

So, if you’re a WordPress site owner, you need to update many things every now and then. So, here’s the guide for you about whether should you update WordPress core or plugins first.

Why is regular WordPress updating needed?

Maintaining WordPress’s latest version is very important. Keeping your website up-to-date will ensure you have the most recent security patches, the newest features, and the fastest performance.

It is unfortunate that updating WordPress or a plugin sometimes causes your website to be broken. When the update introduces some conflict with a theme or plugin, it may cause a problem due to a bug in the code.

In order to ensure that your updates are successful, you should always create a complete backup of your WordPress installation before making any changes. A staging site is also a good way to test updates and catch problems without risking your live site.

Using the right update order for WordPress is also helpful. It’s possible that you’ve wondered whether you should update WordPress core or your plugins first.

So have a backup of your site. and follow the below order in which we recommend updating WordPress:

  • Updating WordPress’ core should be the next step
  • After that, let’s update your plugins
  • Finally, update your theme.

So, let’s get started.

Step 1: First things first, back your WordPress site up completely

A full backup of your WordPress website is essential before you make any updates. Not only should you store the backup on your hosting server, but also on your computer or in cloud storage.

Regardless of how careful you are or in which order you perform the updates, there will always be some risk that an update will break your site.

Backups of WordPress include everything you need:

  • Database for WordPress
  • Media uploads and images
  • Themes and plugins for WordPress
  • The core files of WordPress

There are more than 3 million websites using UpdraftPlus as a backup plugin for WordPress. Your WordPress site can be backed up completely with it and stored in the cloud or downloaded to your computer.


Step 2: Update your WordPress core

Once you backed up everything you need to update to the latest version of WordPress. To do so, you need to navigate Dashboard > Updates from the admin dashboard.

As you know, the plugins and themes of WordPress always keep in updated by the developers. So it’s very obvious that you will not face any conflict after updating WordPress and then plugins and themes. So update the WordPress to the latest version.


After navigating the Dashboard > Updates page, click on Update Now. Once you click on it, you will go under maintenance automatically. All the new updates will be updated on your WordPress, you can see the progress on your screen.


Is the update done? Let’s troubleshoot

Once the update completes, troubleshoot before moving into further steps of updating plugins and themes. And to check that your site is running great, and everything is in the right place, open a new window in your browser and see thoroughly. Plus, you can check from the WordPress admin area.

If you find any issues then search for the WordPress troubleshooting guide. Know how to fix and apply accordingly. And, finally, move forward to the next steps.

Step 3: Now is the time to update your WordPress plugins

After updating WordPress to its latest version, you’re okay to go with plugin updates. To do so, navigate to Dashboard > Updates page and then click on the Plugins section.

This is the list of plugins you’ve installed on your WordPress site. Now select the plugin that you want to upgrade by clicking it and then the Update plugins button. However, you can select multiple plugins at once. And, to do that you need to check the Select All box from the top.


You may encounter a red number beside any plugins on your dashboard. And once you click on it, you may notice a yellow number there. These numbers indicate the area that needs to be fixed, All you have to do is click on Update now without leaving the particular page.


Is the plugin update done? Let’s troubleshoot

After the WordPress core update, the way you check whether everything is working okay or not, you need to do the same once the plugin is updated. You may face errors or issues. It’s because your plugins are not perfectly compatible with WordPress’s latest update. Then what to do?

Now, troubleshooting is the answer. But if this also goes in vain then you need to contact the plugin developer to know if are they planning to update their plugin.

Where to find them? Using the site’s support is one way if you purchased the plugin from WordPress Plugin Directory. Alternatively, you need to contact the official website in order to get the support information.


After contacting developers if you’re informed that they are not planning any update whatsoever then switching the plugin to another one is the only option for you. So, research and get the plugin that performs the same task and which is obviously compatible with the latest WordPress update.

What if you don’t need to update or switch the plugin? Then all you have left is to switch back to the old WordPress version that you backed up before starting the updating process.

Step 4: Finally, update your WordPress theme

After completion of the WordPress core and plugins update you can move to WordPress theme update (if available) if you wish. While updating the theme, the new update overwrites all the previous theme files. In simple words, you’ll lose any changes that you’ve made to your previous theme.

Well, you’re ready to update the theme? Navigate Dashboard > Update page and scroll down to find the Themes section at the bottom. Now select the theme you want to update and click on the Update Themes button. Additionally, if you want to update themes in bulk, the Select All checkbox is there for you to do that.


Is the theme update done? Let’s troubleshoot

In the same way that you troubleshoot plugin updates, you can troubleshoot theme updates. Whenever you encounter an error message or other problem on your website, it is best to open it in a new browser window.

You can contact the developer if the theme is from the WordPress Theme Directory. Alternatively, you can find information on support on the official website.

In conclusion, which should you update WordPress core or plugins first?

To conclude, here are the proper steps for updating your WordPress site:

  • Backing up your website is the first step
  • After that, you should update the core files of WordPress
  • Updating your plugins is the next step
  • Last but not least, update your theme

Prior to moving on to the next step, ensure your website is working properly.

You can always update your plugins or theme whenever there is a new version if there is no WordPress core update.

Hopefully, this tutorial has helped you understand the correct order in which to update WordPress core and plugins.

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