How to Disable WordPress Automatic Updates?

WordPress updates its core files to add new features or enhance the functionality of already present features. There is no second opinion about the importance of using the latest versions of WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins. Updated websites have fewer security risks as compared to the ones who are not updated with time.

WordPress updates are also important for your website’s performance. If you are still using an older version, you may have to face both security and performance issues. While talking about the importance of updates in WordPress, there may be scenarios when you may not want to update your version of WordPress core files, themes, or plugins.

In this article, we will try to discuss the following:

Types of Updates

There are four types of updates when it comes to WordPress. But, by default, not all of them are enabled. Following are four types of updates in WordPress:

  1. Core Updates
  2. Plugin Updates
  3. Theme Updates
  4. Translation file Updates

WordPress has categorized Core updates, into three different types:

  • Core Development Updates: Latest version of WordPress
  • Minor Core Updates: Security release or maintenance update for core updates
  • Major Core Updates: Major release like version 5.0.

How do WordPress Updates work by default?

By default, WordPress enables two types of updates. One being the Minor Core Updates and the other one is Translation file Updates. When your website is updated after a major update, that might have some compatibility or security issue. To overcome, this situation, WordPress has the ability to automatically update your website with a minor update containing the security patch. This can prevent your website from breaking down.

Why do you need to disable Automatic Updates for WordPress?

By default all the major updates are disabled by WordPress, you need to do this manually when a major update is released. Major Updates are disabled because it is likely to happen when you are not around. If there is any conflict between WordPress core files and any of your plugins or theme files, this can cause a problem. Your website may break down and you may lose leads. Imagine this happening to a website with high traffic.

Although minor update releases are more secure than major ones, there is still a probability of conflict between core files and any plugins or themes files. So, you may need to disable all automatic updates for WordPress. There is no denial of the importance of using the latest versions of WordPress, Plugins, and Theme. Therefore, you should disable automatic updates only if you can handle the manual updates with time. You need to be more active when your website’s automatic updates are disabled.

Now let’s discuss how we can disable automatic updates for WordPress. There are two possible ways to do this. One is by using a plugin and other is by disabling automatic updates manually.

Disable WordPress Automatic Updates using a Plugin

There are multiple plugins available to disable automatic updates on WordPress repository. You can use either one of them to achieve your goal. As for this article, we will discuss the Easy Updates Manager. To disable WordPress automatic updates by using Easy Updates Manager, follow these steps:

  1. Download and activate Plugin
  2. Navigate to Dashboard -> Updates Options. There are options on this screen, giving you the opportunity to choose whether you want to enable or disable updates. You will see:

    Easy Updates Manager Options
    Easy Updates Manager Options
  3. For Automatic Updates, scroll down to Automatic Updates.

    Automatic Updates
    Automatic Updates
  4. You can choose if you want to enable Automatic Updates for everything or nothing, You can also opt for some features to update automatically by clicking on Custom’.

    Custom Selection for Automatic Updates
    Custom Selection for Automatic Updates
  5. You can choose what you want to update automatically and what you don’t want to update automatically.
  6. You can also choose if you want to update some plugins and don’t want some plugins to update by clicking on Select individually under Automatic Plugin Updates. Same can be done for theme under Automatic Theme Updates.

    Individual Selection for Plugin Updates
    Individual Selection for Plugin Updates
  7. Once you choose Select Individually option for plugins, you can navigate to the Plugin tab and you will see:

    Choose Plugin to Update Automatically
    Choose Plugin to Update Automatically
  8. Here you can choose if you want to update a particular plugin automatically or not.
  9. You can do these same steps for themes also.

    Choose Theme to update Automatically
    Choose Theme to update Automatically

Disable WordPress Automatic Updates Manually

Although, Easy Updates Manager is very easy to use and beginner-friendly plugin but there are some developers, who do not prefer using a plugin when they can achieve what is needed by inserting only a few lines of code. But we recommend disabling automatic updates manually only if you are sound in technical aspects of WordPress.

While you choose the manual method to disable automatic updates for WordPress, you still get control over which updates to disable and which do not. You need to have access to your wp-config.phpfile to disable Core updates and the functions.php file to disable automatic updates for your theme and plugins. Now let’s discuss how to disable updates for core, plugins, and theme one by one.

Disable Core Updates

To disable every type of automatic update, you need to add the following code snippet into your wp-config.php file.

define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

If you want to disable just the Core updates, instead of disabling all the updates, add the following code into wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

What if you want to update all the minor updates automatically but you are hesitant to update the major releases automatically? In this situation, you need to insert the following code snippet in your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', minor );

This will allow every minor WordPress update to be installed automatically and prevent the major updates of WordPress from installing.

Disable Automatic Updates for Plugins and Themes

Till now, we have discussed how to disable WordPress Core automatic updates. Now we will look into how can we disable automatic updates for Plugins and Themes. For this, you need to have access to the functions.php file.

In WordPress, automatic updates for plugins and themes are disabled by default. WordPress updates these two automatically only if there is a serious kind of security vulnerability in plugin or theme and this situation very rarely arrives. So, you need to be very careful when you want to disable automatic updates for plugins and themes.

In case, you want to do so, add this code snippet in function.php file to disable automatic updates for plugins:

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_false' );

Add the following code to disable automatic updates for themes:

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_false' );

Note: Remember that our experts do not recommend to disable automatic updates for plugins and themes.

Why you should not Disable WordPress Automatic Updates?

Keeping your website updated is very important because it directly impacts the up-time and performance of your website. Using an older version is not recommended at all because it can contain some security vulnerabilities and can affect your website’s performance.

WordPress does not update major changes in core files automatically, it allows only minor releases to be updated automatically which are often just for security patches of major updates. Therefore, if you already have control over the major updates and minor updates are useful then you should consider not to disable automatic updates.

Final Words:

In the WordPress community, it is a hot topic, whether to disable or enable automatic updates. Some are in favor of disabling it keeping control over everything. And some are more than happy to keep automatic updates enabled. While we have discussed the pros and cons of automatic updates and the methods you can use to disable automatic updates in a WordPress project. It is totally up to you to choose the way you want.

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