Anyone who has used the WordPress CMS will have seen WordPress upgrade alerts. Be it for WordPress itself, or for WordPress plugins. Even after a short amount of time, alerts can stack up. These alerts can be daunting. This post is a guide to understanding the information behind those alerts.


This article provides some background information to support our guide to WordPress upgrades.  


Analysing WordPress upgrade alerts

You may have seen something a WordPress upgrade alert in your CMS like this:

WordPress upgrade alerts: Message in WordPress CMS to upgrade plugins


These are two WordPress plugins that have updates available. But is it worth upgrading? Let’s take a closer look at the first alert.

WordPress upgrade alerts: Close up of an incremental upgrade


This update for the ‘Contact Form Maker’ would take you from version 1.8.35 to 1.8.37. Doesn’t sound like much of an update, does it? Let’s deconstruct these numbers:

  • The first number (1. in this case) denotes major changes which will likely include new features or sometimes a completely re-write of the code. These updates should be considered.
  • The second number (8. in this example) are incremental improvements. New features are unlikely, but improvements to existing features are common.
  • The last number (35 changing to 37) typically points to very minor amends and bug fixes to the plugin.

In this instance, while you can certainly run an update, it should only be considered vital if you are experiencing specific issues with the plugin. If in doubt, each upgrade will include a link to see what’s new in the update.


There is one more instance where updating is strongly advised.

Security update – Your website is at risk if you do not keep it secure. Unfortunately, security is an issue that affects both WordPress and WordPress plugins.  Our advice is you can never be too safe. So if security updates are highlighted, run that update.



Updating any technical element of your WordPress community can result in a loss of service. Always back up your data. And if in doubt, contact a professional. If you are looking for help with any aspect of your WordPress community, talk to our team.