WordPress is now working towards auto-update of plugins and themes automatically in the upcoming version of WordPress 5.5, and this will enable a much and sort-after feature to be integrated in WordPress core system and enhance server security as it would auto patch security issues and bring feature updates on all installations in an one-click setup.

The feature feels long overdue. Hosting companies and plugins like Jetpack have taken up the load over the years, offering automatic updates for millions of users. However, it is time for the core platform to take the reins and make this a feature available and readily accessible to all users. This would also provide a standardized path for 3rd-party plugins to extend the feature with more controls for end-users.

Work toward bringing the feature into core WordPress originally began in the plugin auto-updates and theme auto-updates Trac tickets. The code contributed to those tickets are now in the feature plugin. “WordPress contributors did a lot of work on the two related tickets during WP 5.4 development cycle, but decided to give it more time for testing as it’s an important feature,” wrote Jean-Baptiste Audras in the announcement – CTO of Whodunit WordPress Agency.

Development is currently taking place on Audras’s GitHub repository, but it may be moved to the official WordPress GitHub account.

Among the primary goals of the project is to create an admin UI, which would give users the capability to manage how automatic updates work. Users will have the ability to enable or disable auto-updates on a plugin-by-plugin and theme-by-theme basis. This degree of fine-grain control is usually welcome. While I generally favour to auto-update everything, I have been burned by specific plugins and themes in time past. For all those, I often prefer to update within a test environment first to stay on the safe side. Definitely, other users could find themselves in an identical situation. It really is nice to consider this being factored in as an objective of the project.

The project plans to create email notifications for site administrators, which will summarize any auto-updates that happen on the website. There will also be hooks and PHP constants to permit plugin developers to manage the update settings.

As always, the majority of the completed work towards the automatic updates roadmap has truly gone toward plugins. Only once, it will be nice to view a feature that crosses into both theme and plugin territory end up being completed for themes first. I just hope that themes tend not to end up going for a backseat because of time constraints, development hurdles, or other things.