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How to Disable Automatic Updates in WordPress (2 Ways Explained)

Are you aware of the fact that WordPress can update your website automatically? WordPress is capable of updating the themes and plugins for your site as well.

While updating your website automatically might provide additional security benefits, still there are chances that it might break your site’s performance.

In this post, we aim at helping you understand the process to disable WordPress theme updates automatically.

Why are WordPress Automatic Updates for Your Site Not a Good Idea?

The concept of background automatic updates for your site and its features were introduced with WordPress 3.7. This update was made towards promoting improved site security.

By default, WordPress automatic updates are limited only to minor releases. However, in some typical cases, WordPress might even update the plugins and themes on your site. This is when you need to be aware of how to disable WordPress theme updates.

If you also tend to use the highly sought-after Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, then there are higher chances that your site gets updated automatically in some weeks without any notification.

While automatic updates are regarded as great for ensuring WordPress security, it might break your site in some way or the other.

WordPress users are known to not receive any notification about the automatic updates of their themes or plugins. As such, an update can not only take your site down, but it might also incur a significant amount of time in troubleshooting the given issue.

How to Disable WordPress Auto Updates?

Unless you are working with a single WordPress theme or plugin developer who is capable of carefully coding as well as syncing each of the respective tools with another, there always stands a chance that the code present in a single piece of software might conflict with the other.

And, it might even come from a theme or a plugin that you have been using for several months or years. Just a single imbalance between the two essential elements of your site can take your site down in no time. In such a situation, disabling auto updates in WordPress can serve as the ultimate solution.

Once you have disabled the WordPress auto updates, you can achieve the full control of your site and its features. This implies that every process, including testing each & every code, theme, or plugin update, is carried out in a safe environment – away from the live WordPress site. If everything happens as expected, then it would take only a few clicks to push through the new update.

When you wish to disable WordPress theme updates, there are two options:

  • The manual approach that requires some kind of coding
  • Using a WordPress plugin – Easy Updates Manager Plugin (recommended)

With either option, you are provided with some form of flexibility while disabling the automatic update. Let us discuss each one of them in detail.

How to Manually Disable WordPress Auto Updates

When you wish to disable the WordPress auto updates manually for the Core files, you should first log into the control panel of your WordPress site.

For example, if you’re using GoDaddy to host your website and cPanel to manage the data and files, use these steps:

  1. Login to your GoDaddy account
  2. Go to My Account -> Web Hosting -> Manage
  3. Click on the button that says ‘cPanel Admin’

godaddy cpanel admin

Once you’ve logged into cPanel, you can follow the steps as:

  1. Navigate to the File Manager section and click on it for editing the existing files at the database’s root.
  2. Now, locate the file named “wp-config.php”godaddy wp-config file
  3. Highlight the file and select the Edit option from the top menu.
  4. Once you reach inside the file, you are expected to implement some lines of codes depending upon which aspect of your website do you wish to disable auto-updates for.

For disabling every auto update for the site, add this line at the end of the “wp-config.php” file:

define(‘automatic_updater_disabled’, true);

For disabling auto updates for only core files like “index.php”, “wp-config.php”, “wp-admin.php” and others, add this snippet at the end of “wp-config.php” file:

define(‘wp_auto_update_core’, false);

For disabling only major and development updates but leaving minor updates enabled, add this snippet at the end of “wp-config.php” file:

define( ‘wp_auto_update_core’, minor );

For disabling automatic plugin updates, add this line:

add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_false’ );

For disabling automatic theme updates, add this line:

add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_false’ );

While you can also disable WordPress automatic updates for minor updates, translation files, plugins, themes, and major updates, it would require making use of the “add_filter()” calls as shown above.

Theoretically, the “wp-config.php” file is not capable of handling the add_filter() calls. Therefore, the experts recommend that the users should make use of a high-end WordPress plugin for disabling the major updates, including themes and plugins.

However, if you have prior experience doing so, you can go ahead and use these calls as well.

If, you are looking for a more foolproof and easier approach, making use of a plugin is recommended.

How to Disable Auto WordPress Theme Update Using a Plugin

To show you how to disable WordPress Theme Update we will use Easy Updates Manager plugin for the task.

With this plugin, you can control the auto-update feature for your site as well as the theme.

The Easy Updates Manager plugin allows you to do this for a single site for the given Multisite network. Here are the steps to follow to use the Easy Updates Manager plugin:

  1. In the WordPress dashboard, go to the option “Plugins” and select the option “Add New.”
  2. In the search box, type the keyword “Easy Updates Manager” to direct select this plugin OR “disable auto-updates” to know other plugin options.Install-Plugin
  3. Click on the option “Install Now.” When the installation is complete, click on the option “Activate.”
  4. Now head to “Plugins” option from the left hand sidebar and click on “Installed Plugins”.
  5. From the available list of plugins, locate “Easy Updates Manager”, and select the option “Configure.”Configure-Plugin
  6. The “General” tab of the plugin would allow you to set the plugin conditions with respect to how you would like to manage as well as receive notifications about updates of themes and plugins for your WordPress site.Disable-Settings

The options for managing the WordPress auto updates are:

  • Enable/Disable all updates
  • Manage all WordPress automatic updates through a single button
  • Manage Plugin updates
  • Manage Theme updates
  • Manage Translation updates
  • Manage Notification e-mails
  • Other settings

Even if you select the “Enable All Updates” option (default) you need to configure the individual update settings listed below.

  1. For disabling the plugin or theme auto updates in WordPress, you can only enable or disable the updates. There is no option of automatic updates here.plugin-theme-disable-settings
  2. However, you can individually set the update options for each of your plugins and themes by clicking on their respective tabs on the Easy Updates Manager configuration screen.plugin-updates

theme-updates

When disabling the auto updates for your WordPress theme, it is suggested that you should be cautious while doing so because carelessness here would mess up with the site’s features or performance altogether.

If possible, you should consider getting services from a professional WordPress developer to do the same.

Conclusion

As seen, there are some valid reasons for you to opt for disabling auto updates on your WordPress site.

If you no longer rely on the automated updates for running in the site’s background, it implies that you are required to log into your site frequently in order to check for new updates. This holds specifically true when the updates are related to certain security releases. Then, you should test the updates on some staging server before you implement the same on your WordPress site.

Good luck with your WordPress Site!

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