Sunday, September 25, 2022
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How to disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates

WordPress is an open source software that you can download for free from their official website. However, to start a WordPress site, you need to install a theme that helps create a specific layout for your content. Also, you may need to install some plugins to add additional functionality.

The problem comes when you have to manage all this stuff and keep it up to date. To solve this problem, WordPress provides an automatic update feature, and in this article, we will explain how to disable or enable WordPress automatic updates.

Updates in WordPress

Like any other software, WordPress sites need to be updated for the following reasons:

  • Security Patches to Fix Vulnerabilities
  • Learn about the latest design trends in website building
  • Add additional features and remove obsolete features


As mentioned earlier, the update consists of three parts – WordPress core, themes and plugins. You can choose to manage them independently as needed.

Enable or disable automatic updates of themes

Themes are the backbone of a WordPress site and need to work seamlessly with core WordPress files. Although you use one theme at a time, you can install multiple themes on your site. Whether you have a single theme or multiple themes, you need to enable or disable automatic updates one by one.

  1. Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to the Appearance > Themes section.
  2. Here you can view all installed themes on your site and hover over the active theme.
  3. You will see a “Subject Details” button and click it.
disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

4. In the next pop-up window, click the “Enable Automatic Updates” link to turn on the feature.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

You can do this for each topic, or use the back/forward arrows in the top right corner of the topic details popup to navigate to each topic and turn on automatic updates. Remember, you can always go to the theme details section and disable automatic updates. In this way, you can disable or enable WordPress automatic updates for themes

Disable or enable WordPress automatic updates of Plugins

Unlike themes, you can enable plugin auto-updates in bulk or only for selected items. This makes sense since a single site often uses multiple plugins at once.

1, Go to the Plugins > Installed Plugins section. Here you will see a list of all installed plugins on your website.
2, You can see the “auto-update” status of each plugin in the last column of the layout.
3, By default, automatic updates for plugins are disabled, you can click the “Enable Automatic Updates” link to turn it on. You can do this for every installed plugin without leaving the page.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

4, If you don’t see the “Auto Update” column, click the “Screen Options” button and enable it from the available columns.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

5, Once enabled, you can click the “Disable Auto-Updates” link to turn off the feature at any time.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

If you want to enable automatic updates for multiple plugins, use the check boxes in front of each plugin to select the plugins at first, and then click on the “Bulk Actions” drop-down menu and select the option to enable/disable automatic updates. At last, click the Apply button to turn the feature on or off for the selected plugin.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

All right, now you know how to disable or enable WordPress automatic updates for themes for plugins

Manage WordPress Core updates

Unlike themes and plugins, WordPress enables automatic updates for the core version by default. There are two types of core releases available – major and minor. Major releases usually bring many new features, while minor releases are released for security/maintenance purposes. As of WordPress 5.6, automatic updates for minor versions are enabled by default. You can change the settings under the Dashboard > Updates section to get automatic updates for major or minor versions. While you can switch between major and minor version updates, there’s no way to completely disable core updates from the settings page.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

Some hosting providers also help manage the auto-update feature in WordPress. This may be different from one to another. For example, you can turn on automatic updates in SiteGround by navigating to the site tools section. This option is available under the “WordPress > Autoupdate” menu. You can manage settings for major and minor WordPress versions and choose a schedule for automatically installing updates. SiteGround also offers the option to automatically update all installed plugins in this section (we strongly recommend disabling this option to avoid problems).

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

While you can delay updates for up to 72 hours, there’s no way to disable automatic WordPress updates entirely in SiteGround. Whenever an automatic update is installed, you will receive an email notification to keep you informed. Also, if you foresee problems with the next update, you can skip specific updates available in the hosting panel.

Disable core WordPress updates

By any reason, if you want to disable automatic core updates for WordPress, add the following line of code to your wp-config.php file.

define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

Sometimes, all automatic updates on your site could have been disabled, especially when you manually install WordPress on your site. In this case, you can enable the automatic feature by adding the following code in the wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );

You can change the value “true” to “minor” to receive only minor updates (this is the default). Or set the value to “false” to completely disable all core updates on your site.

Why my themes and plugins don’t show automatic updates?

All free themes and plugins available in the WordPress repository come with automatic updates. However, third-party themes and plugins may or may not provide such functionality. Third-party projects integrate with other plugins and require thorough testing. So it makes sense that the developer doesn’t provide an automatic update feature. Otherwise, your site layout will be broken when the theme or plugin is updated. The bigger problem will be finding which plugin or theme got updated as there is no update history available in the admin dashboard.

After disabling automatic plugin updates, you will either see no status under the “Automatic Updates” column, or a specific message mentioning that the developer disabled this feature. Plugins like WP Rocket intentionally disable automatic updates because it can break your site layout if you don’t test after updating the plugin.

Regardless of whether you’re using automatic updates, you’ll see notifications in the Dashboard > Updates section whenever updates are available for core, themes, and plugins. You can manually update projects at your own convenience. Remember that developers can force push security updates regardless of the automatic update setting in the dashboard. For example, recently WooCommerce pushed a security update for its PayPal integration to automatically update the version to the latest version. In this case, you will see a notification in the dashboard notifying you that the item has been updated.

disable or enable WordPress Automatic Updates.

Should I disable or enable WordPress automatic updates for themes for plugins?

While there is no certain answer to this question.

WordPress Core Updates – Leave this as default to get automatic minor updates, you can do major updates manually. Since WordPress displays the version number in the header section, it is easy for hackers to target sites with vulnerable versions. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep core WordPress files up to date to avoid security issues.
However, when it comes to themes and plugins, you should disable auto-updates.

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