Auto Update or Not? WordPress auto-updates or MainWP auto-updates?

I am just getting started with MainWP. I’ve gotten to the point where I am managing enough sites that it became a real pain to manually update every site when new plugin versions are available. Before I found MainWP, I enabled automatic updates (the builtin WordPress feature) for most of my sites. I still knew I wanted to verify that the updates didn’t break anything, but I found that it was easier just to verify than to manually update and then verify.

My question for the community: does anyone else use auto updates or do you click the update button manually? Is there a preference to use the WordPress “enable automatic updates” or the MainWP “Auto Updates”? I’m inclined to think that MainWP could give me more control and structure for automatically performing updates, but I’m not sure what method is going to be the easiest to use on a day-to-day basis.

Thanks for your advice.

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I always disable auto-updates, because I want to read the changelog before updating, decide if I need to hold an update, because of changes with big impact on the child sites and I want to be certain that I’m available to troubleshoot after an update if necessary.

In my opinion auto-updates should only be used for non-critical websites that have no scheduled maintenance, like test, development or demo sites.

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Hello @kgourlay,

Like @josklever mentioned, we also turned off auto-updates because we want 100% control when those updates are done. In our case (managing +150 websites), we are doing the maintenance over the weekend. We have some rules in place regarding specific plugins or themes like DIVI, we wait at least 2 weeks before updating the same for WP core. For minor updates, we click the little button update all and for major, we read the log file to see the changes see if there is big impact.
Also, we are using Hexowatch for visual testing after each update and done automatically at a specific hour so we receive an email with all sites with a potential issue. It is not accurate 100% but better than visually check +150 websites. In parallel, we have our own uptime monitoring tool same for SSL and domain name with automatic notification to the clients.
MainWP is very flexible and can connect with other apps like our own app.

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Thanks for these ideas. I like the idea of a scheduled time for updates (maybe weekly, maybe otherwise depending on the update). I think I was feeling pressure to roll out updates the same day whenever possible, but understanding that most updates are not at all critical, this kind of scheduling makes a lot of sense. It also makes things a lot more manageable because I can deal with multiple updates simultaneously instead of individually.

When doing updates manually, MainWP is a huge improvement in efficiency and organization. I can identify which plugins to update, and then make those updates across multiple sites simultaneously. While I may still want to check sites individually (or rely on an automated tool), this is definitely easier to stay on top of updates. I can see how it is even better than automated updates which may not all happen at the same time, so verifying that the site is still working after an automated update is not as convenient. Finally, I can focus my attention on critical updates or on the few more critical websites I have when there are things that need to be done more urgently or with more care.

I’m still not clear whether there is a benefit one way or the other with WordPress native auto-updates versus MainWP auto-updates. But it sounds like using MainWP in coordination with manual updates (ideally in batches) is a better approach than either method of automatic updates.


We are currently working through a few options to give you an in-between between auto-updates and completely manual.

In addition to the current update options we’re leaning towards a color-coded system such as:

Green - These are plugins you are comfortable with not making any breaking changes. The “I want to make some quick plugin updates without too much stress” mode.

Yellow - These are plugins you want to leave more time on your schedule to double-check after an update.

Red - These are the problem plugins that you need to check every single time.

You would then be able to update only your selected level instead of having to choose all or one at a time.

~ edited to add info and correct thoughts


Hi @dennis, I really like this idea. It will be time saver for our team!

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