Automatic WordPress Updates?

Security is a top priority for us at WPX Hosting, and as WordPress specialists, protecting your WP websites is critical.

WPX Hosting is a Managed WordPress hosting company, this means that the lion’s share of technical work and maintenance is done by us, so you don’t have to. 

As a standard, your WordPress website updates regularly for greater security.

What should I do if I’ve disabled Updates?

If you have chosen to disable our automatic WordPress updates, then regularly updating WordPress installations (core, themes,
and plugins) yourself is crucial to keeping your website secure.

We strongly recommend that you follow each of these steps:

  1. Back up your files and database tables,
  2. Disable unused or out-of-date Plugins,
  3. Update WordPress itself,
  4. Enable Plugins one by one,
  5. Check your website regularly for updates.

Checking one website frequently can be a tedious task, keeping track of multiple websites is downright annoying.

To promote better security, and to streamline the updating process overall, automatic background updates were introduced in WordPress 3.7. Normally, only minor releases – such as maintenance and security – and translation file updates are enabled by default.

In special cases, plugins and themes may also be updated, though this mainly applies to premium themes and plugins, which may have
automatic update functions enabled as standard.

How do Automatic Updates work?

Automatic updates mean that, if you had WordPress 4.7.0 and version 4.7.1 was released, your WP website would update itself automatically. Conversely, if WordPress 4.8 was released (a major version), you would have to update to it manually.

In WordPress, automatic background updates are divided into four types:

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

Core updates are subdivided into three types:

  1. Core development updates, known as the “bleeding edge” (beta test versions of WP)
  2. Minor core updates, such as maintenance and security releases
  3. Major core release updates

Every WP website on WPX has automatic updates enabled by default for minor core releases and translation files.

What if I want to control my Updates?

For beginners, we recommend the Easy Updates Manager plugin. It is a lightweight yet powerful plugin which enables you to manage all types of updates on one website install or in WordPress Multisite.

Easy Updates Manager grants you a great amount of control and oversight over your WordPress updates.

Note: If you are not interested in coding and wp-config.php files, please skip to the end of this article!

If I’m a technical person, how else can I control my Updates?

For those of you who are not afraid of editing the wp-config.php file of their websites, there are multiple ways to enable/disable different parts of the auto-update system of WordPress.

To access the wp-config.php file, you must go to your File Manager, located in your hosting Dashboard. To find our more about your File Manager, click here.

Important: To completely disable all types of automatic updates, core or otherwise, add the following code to your wp-config.php file, above the Authentication Unique Keys and Salts (as seen in the screenshot below):

You can also control the WordPress auto-update system with


  • Disable all core updates, this means only the core updates:

       define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, false );

  • Enable all core updates, including minor and major:

       define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true );

  • Enable minor updates; this means all other updates, except the minor ones, will be
    disabled (this is how WordPress is set by default):

       define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, minor );

Configuration constants allow you to enable or disable auto-updates however, deeper control over updates is not possible.

You can make changes to auto-updates with ‘filters’ (the following code must be added to the functions.php of the active theme or child theme:

Disable all automatic updates:
add_filter( ‘automatic_updater_disabled’, ‘__return_true’ );

  • To enable all core-type updates only, use the following filter:
    add_filter( ‘auto_update_core’, ‘__return_true’ );
  • To enable automatic updates for themes, plugins, and translations, use:
    add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );
    add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );

    add_filter( ‘auto_update_translation’, ‘__return_true’ );
  • To enable major and minor updates, use:
    add_filter( ‘allow_minor_auto_core_updates’, ‘__return_true’ );
    [to disable minor updates, you can change “__return_true” to __return_false”]
    add_filter ( ‘allow_major_auto_core_updates’, ‘__return_true’ );

    [to disable major updates, you can change the “__return_true” to __return_false”]

In short, we recommend – but don’t enforce for the above reasons – keeping Automatic Updates enabled to maintain your website’s security and let us do the work for you. If you wish to control your site’s updates yourself, that’s perfectly fine too.

If you get stuck with any function discussed here, please contact WPX Support via live chat (use the bottom right hand widget!) and they will usually respond and help within 30 seconds or less.