WordPress automatic background updates have landed

Love it or hate it, this week saw the introduction of WordPress automatic background updates with the release of¬†WordPress 3.7 – it can be disabled but why would you want to do that? If a theme or plugin breaks after an update then I’d be concerned about how it complies to WordPress Standards.

There are a few settings that can configure what and what isn’t updates. Auto updates can be enabled, disabled or set to only update minor updates between patches or security releases eg; 3.7 > 3.7.1 which makes perfect sense to have enabled and potentially reduce hours of manual maintenance updating.

You can also fine tune updates to include Plugins & Themes, which is another handy security measure if a disused Theme manages to go unnoticed, as security patches get released for Themes too.  You can even add a filter for notification so site owners can at least know when there has been an update and prompt testing of the site in question. For core updates an email is sent by default.

The WordPress team have already created a plugin to test if your site is compatible with auto updates with the Background Update Tester

Setting up the auto updating is simple enough by adding one of the following to your wp-config.php file:


# Disables all core updates:
define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, false );
# Enables all core updates, including minor and major:
define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true );
# Enables core updates forminor releases (default):
define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, ‘minor’);

For Plugins or Themes you can add the following filter in to your functions.php file or for more efficiency drop them in to a plugin:
# Enable Plugin updates:
add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );
# Enable Theme updates:
add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );


It’s probably a good idea to get an email notification and log for Plugin and Theme updates too, simply use the following:

add_filter( ‘automatic_updates_send_debug_email’, ‘__return_true’ );

Codex source

Definitive Guide