Surprisingly, it’s not when you see the update button light up. Click on that button, update the plugins and you may find your blog dead. Out of order dead. Can’t even login dead. Fatal Error Dead. Won’t load for you or any visitor DEAD.
Yeah, all that just from updating a simple plugin. Sometimes technology really sucks.
So when should you update a plugin?
When should you add a new plugin?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
Backup, Backup, Backup!
The ONLY time to update or add a plugin is after you see this:
That’s my inbox. That’s a complete database backup file, sent once a week (automatically). If and when I see that email hit my inbox, only then will I consider any update.
How do you get that email? It’s a plugin! There are several plugins that’ll do the job. The one I use is called WP-DBManager and can be downloaded from WordPress at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-dbmanager/.
My suggestion is to set it up for a weekly zip file emailed to a Google email account. Should the worst possible thing happen, you’ll be able to salvage your blog.
BUT… Before you add any plugin (even this one) you should take one other step. Export all your posts. Go to your Dashboard then Tools, and you’ll see Export.
Export everything to your hard drive. This isn’t going to backup your database but should something catastrophic happen you’ll have all your posts back.
How do I know? I’ve lost everything. Every single post, comment, picture, and tag. A database malfunction wiped my entire site clean! Last week, I spent four hours working on restoring a clients blog. The culprit was just a simple plugin he added. Sadly it wasn’t a matter of just removing it.
Do yourself a favor. Add the plugin and start backing up your blog today, while you are thinking about it. Need help? Hire me. I can do it quickly.