By default, WordPress will manage version updates for you. Its default behavior depends on the version you used when you first installed WordPress.
- If your site was first-created using a version prior to WordPress 5.6, it will automatically update when minor releases become available, but does not automatically update to major releases.
- Otherwise, if you first created your site using WordPress 5.6 or higher, it will automatically apply all new version updates, both minor and major.
For example, if you first created your WordPress site at version 5.4, you are currently using 5.7.2, and 5.7.3 is released, WordPress will auto-update to 5.7.3, since it's a minor release. However, it will not update to 5.8, since that's a major release.
However, if you created a brand-new WordPress site at version 5.6, you are currently using 5.7.2, and 5.8 is released, WordPress will auto-update, since any new sites from 5.6 and beyond will apply all version updates by default.
If you are using WordPress 5.5 or higher you can make changes to this behavior from your WordPress Dashboard. Choose the "Updates" option from the sidebar:
You'll see information that tells you how WordPress currently handles updates. For example, if your site currently has all updates enabled, you'll see text indicating so, and a link to change the behavior. In this example, this WordPress site running version 5.8 has all updates (minor and major) enabled:
To switch to minor updates, click the link that says "Switch to automatic updates for maintenance and security released only", and WordPress will change its behavior for future versions:
We know that new major WordPress versions have the possibility of introducing functionality or features that your plugins or themes might not quite be ready for. This setting will allow you to keep critical security and maintenance updates enabled, while allowing you to update to major versions on your own schedule.
If you're wondering if you can opt out of all automatic updates entirely, the answer is "yes". We do not recommend this approach, and instead recommend keeping security and maintenance updates enabled.
Disabling all WordPress updates needs to be done manually, and is not an option from within the dashboard. You'll need to be able to edit your
wp-config.php file, which you can do via SFTP.
If you don't want WordPress to ever automatically update its core for any release (major or minor), add the following line in your
define( 'wp_auto_update_core', false );
A good place to add it is near the bottom of the file, above the line that says
/* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */ Add the code above on its own, save the file, and upload it via SFTP.
Note that this file, like a plugin or theme file, requires PHP syntax, and any syntax errors will make your site nonfunctional. We are happy to assist with editing this file; please contact us if you need a hand.
- All about WordPress' automatic updates
- Plugin and Theme auto-updates
- A deeper dive into automatic updates in WordPress