Tested WordPress Updates

Regular updates included in all plans

All of our hosting and upkeep plans include regular updates for WordPress, including plugins and themes. Old software versions are vulnerable for security breaches so it’s important to keep everything properly updated at all times. Seravo makes sure that your website is always secure to use.

Peace of mind for our customers

It’s not uncommon that site owners avoid updating their site because they are afraid that an update might break the site. Even minor updates, such as updating a plugin, might cause some functionalities to stop working. Seravo customers don’t have to worry about these side effects as our updates include comprehensive testing.

There is no bulletproof system to eliminate all issues concerning updates but our solution will considerably reduce the number of them. What’s more important, Seravo will own the responsibility of keeping the website functional so that our customer can focus on the essential: running their business.

Updates are tested in a shadow

Seravo updates websites regularly. In each update the following steps are taken:

  1. The website functionality is tested before launching the update process to ensure that there are no pre-existing errors on the site.
  2. A shadow copy of the production site is created.
  3. Minor updates are done against the shadow copy first. For example, updating WordPress core from 4.9.8 to 4.9.9 or a plugin from version 1.1 to 1.2. The shadow copy is tested after the update to make sure everything works properly and that the site is visually identical to how it was before.
  4. If there are any issues, the updates will be interrupted and the process will be attempted again later. Most issues will be solved with time as new versions for plugins are released.
  5. If no issues are found, the same minor updates will be run on the production site.
  6. After a successful run with the minor updates, these same steps will be repeated with any available major updates, such as updating WordPress core from 4.9.8 to 5.0.3 or a plugin from version 1.1 to a version 2.0.

It is more likely that the update contains unwanted changes if the leap between the version numbers is large. By making the small and large updates separately we can ensure that at least minor updates will be applied even if we are not able to conclude the major updates.

A graph of tested WordPress updates by Seravo
WordPress update process, the Seravo way.

Comprehensive testing keeps sites functional

We test the customer sites with our own testing tool based on Codeception and headless Chrome. Tests will spot for example PHP, CSS, and JavaScript errors, as well as HTTPS warnings. Furthermore, the process does visual regression testing that can help detect possible changes in the site appearance.

Comparison of screenshots in the Seravo admin panel
Visual comparison of the different states in the WordPress admin panel.

We’ll let you know if the updates require changes

It’s worth pointing out that Seravo upkeep plans don’t include any site development. If we notice an issue that seriously damages the functionality of a website and prevents us from updating it, we will notify the customer so they can make a decision on how to proceed to solve the issue. Sometimes the solution might simply be to delete an old unused plugin or make minor code adjustments to the theme in use. It’s often a good idea to use the same developer that made the theme or website in the first place.

To get real-time information on updates it’s possible to set up a Slack webhook through the Seravo plugin in the WordPress admin panel. For checking how the updates have succeeded in the past we log them in update.log, accessible through the WP Admin or over SSH.

We also update themes and plugins

Seravo does all updates with the WP-CLI tool. We update everything that possibly can be updated using it, including any paid plugins the customer might have, as long as they have their license keys set correctly and the update can be made with the wp plugin update command.

Security Updates

The natural state of software is to be constantly evolving. Doing regular updates is not merely a smart thing to do but a necessity, especially regarding security updates. Seravo makes sure that both WordPress core and plugins are updated immediately a vulnerability is found. For example, Seravo customers got the WordPress core updates 4.9.9 and 5.0.1 in less than 24 hours of their release.

Seravo shares information concerning important updates on Twitter with the account @Seravo. More information about our security measures can be found on our security page.

We let our customers decide

Updates are a standard feature in the Seravo service to ensure the security and functionality of our customer’s websites. However, sometimes there are situations where a customer wants to have complete control of the updates. In these cases the customer can choose to opt out of Seravo’s updates.

However, if it is absolutely necessary to update something in order to keep a customer’s website secure, Seravo will take care of it even if the customer has chosen to disable updates by Seravo.

If the customer wants Seravo to take care of the updates in general, but at the same time wants to prevent updates to a certain plugin, the easiest way to do this is to change the version number of the plugin in question to something large. This way, Seravo’s update system assumes that there won’t be any updates available and won’t try to update it.

Developers can write their own tests

Besides running our own tests as part of the update process, we also run tests written by the customer themselves. To ensure the functionality of the most critical business processes the customers can develop their own custom tests to be used on their site. More information on how to develop these tests can be found from Seravo’s developer documentation. Alternatively, it is also possible to order custom tests that have been specifically designed for your website’s needs from our experts.

Tired of your site breaking after an update? Give yourself peace of mind and ensure your website’s functionality by using Seravo’s premium hosting and upkeep.

More reading

Articles tagged: wordpress-test, wordpress-updates, testing, managed-wordpress-hosting, update, version

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