WordPress & its plugin / theme developers often come up with various updates on regular basis. Many a times, you extend the functionality of the plugins by customizing it. Updating such plugins can often make you lose all the customizations that you’ve worked on. But it’s really important to update your plugins as soon as their developers release an update because, the longer you wait to update, the harder it will be!
More importantly, updates are critical for security purpose. So, waiting for a few days for upgrading will put your site at high risk because, outdated plugins are open gates for hackers to gain access to your site.
Many companies offers WordPress Maintenance Plans to keep your WordPress core , it’s plugins and theme up to date, but the problem with these kind of plans are that they offer monthly, weekly, or quarterly updates. However, timely updates are must to avoiding a breach in security.
Well, there is not an official way to update WordPress plugin without losing your customizations. But, you can try some non-official ways listed below to make sure that your customizations are update safe.
1. Approaching the Plugin Developer Directly
First technique is to get in touch with the plugin developer and let them know changes that you would like see. If a developer is open to it, then you can send your changes to him. You know this technique is great as many people who uses the plugin will benefit from your work and most important you get a satisfaction that you did contribute to someone whose work has benefited you.
2. Avoid editing the core directly
Another technique is to broaden the plugin without tweaking its core. Functionality plugin will help you to achieve this. Plugin dependencies allow you to specify and deactivate the plugin dependent upon it.
3.Using Hooks to extend your plugin’s functionality
Using hooks is one way to interact with and reshape a piece of code. WordPress offers hooks to allow customizations to plugins and easily upgrade them. Some plugins even provide hooks to allow other plugin to contact them and exchang data. If you have plugin that provide hooks then you can use them to extend it’s functionality.
4.Developing Customized Hooks
Instead of replacing all changes directly into the plugin, you can add customized hook to put rest of the functionality changes into it. After this process, submit a patch to the developer and ask them to add up customized hook.
5. Using Code Snippets Plugin
Use of code snippets is another way to upgrade plugins. Code Snippets adds a nice GUI to create and manage code snippets. Using code snippets to upgrade plugins instead of putting a custom code in theme’s functions.php puts a stop to the changes from being lost when the user swap themes.
These are some of the industry best practices to make sure that your customizations are not lost while updating your plugins. If you are not sure about how to update your plugin safely, then take a look at our WordPress Maintenance Service. With out start up plan, we offer plugin, theme & core update check on daily basis.2
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