Announcing Safe Updates - a new way to update your websites - ManageWP

Announcing Safe Updates – a new way to update your websites

If there’s one thing I really hate doing, it’s updates. It’s important to keep everything up to date, but it also eats up a lot of your time: if the update itself does not fail, you still need to make sure the website did not break in so many wonderful ways. So for the past several months we’ve been working on a better way to update WordPress websites. We call it Safe Updates.

 

Safe Update featured image

 

Right now, the update process is straightforward: you see an update, you click it, wait for it to finish, and then check the website to confirm that everything is OK. If you’re using ManageWP, you get a few benefits of having all updates on one screen, seeing which versions have a known vulnerability, plus you’ve got backups in case something goes wrong. But this is not enough.

Safe Updates is a new take on the core, plugin & theme update process. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a restore point: if something goes wrong, you can roll back the update
  2. Send an HTTP request to the website: if it’s not 200 OK, we stop the process
  3. Grab a “before” home page screenshot: we can later compare it with the after screenshot to spot inconsistencies
  4. Update plugin/theme/core
  5. Send another HTTP request to the website: if the response is not 200 OK, we let you know
  6. Grab an “after” home page screenshot
  7. Show the screenshot comparison: You’ll see the before/after screenshots of the home page, and you’ll have the option to roll back if you see something fishy
Safe Update in progress

The idea is to cut down the time you spend on updates by doing some of the steps for you, and by making sure you’re better equipped to do the updates.

Key features

Creating the restore point

This is something you’ve requested for a long time. Instead of having to click the Backup now for each and every website, you now click Safe Update and the system provides an up-to-date restore point. Of course, you need to have a premium Backup add-on activated.

Comparing the screenshots

Instead of having to visit the site and hoping that you remember how it looked like an hour ago, you get a before/after screenshot comparison. Move the slider left-right to quickly spot the difference.
Safe Update image comparison

The cost

We did several surveys where we talked to you about the feature set and the price, and the overwhelming feedback was that we could charge a pretty penny for it. But we wanted this feature to be our contribution to the WordPress community, so we decided that Safe Updates will be free, for an unlimited number of websites! The only condition is that you need a premium Backup add-on for that website, so you could create a restore point, and roll back if needed. And if your website is on GoDaddy hosting, you get the premium Backup for free.

Release date

Safe Updates will be rolled out in stages, and the features I talked about will be improved and expanded over time, because you need a more reliable and efficient update process.

The initial Safe Updates version will feature everything I mentioned in the article, with 2 caveats:

Don’t worry, we plan to cover both of these in later versions. We also plan on automating some steps and adding new steps to improve reliability.

Safe Updates will be live in the next 7 days for all ManageWP users. In the meantime let’s talk functionality: is there something we can do to make your update process faster and stress free?

Nemanja Aleksic

Head of Growth at ManageWP. Marketing Manager at GoDaddy. WordCamp Belgrade organizer. But first and foremost, a father, a husband and a puck stopper.

20 Comments

  1. MARK

    has this been rolled out yet? According to the Post it would’ve rolled out on the 14th. We’ll see a button for safe update yet. Could you update this?

    1. MARK

      actually, nevermind. I see it now. The button is only visible on each individual website that has premium backup turned on.

      1. Nemanja Aleksic

        Yep. The bulk Safe Update option is coming soon :)

  2. Marius Vetrici

    Hey, team, that’s an absolutely great addition! :)
    We do heavily use ManageWP to provide a monthly WordPress Update service to our customers and we have been already doing some image comparison using various tools. But having this integrated into ManageWP is a great addition and integration to our flow.

    Now one thing that’s still different is that we do our image comparison on various browsers and devices, have a look here

    Are you planning to add this to your service anytime soon?

    Thanks.

    1. Nemanja Aleksic

      No plans for now, but I wouldn’t rule this out as a premium addition down the line since it’s resource intensive.

  3. Luis Alberto

    It will be interesting if I will can select differents pages to make screenshots to compare later de diferents critical sections of my websites, not only my home page. Regards

  4. jocelyn

    Love this! An auto diff of a list of url we provide would be great!

  5. filewatcher

    I love this development. What I would like to see is a configurable URL to check. In my experience website break there where there a custom builds or plugins ad work (like forms for example).

    1. Nemanja Aleksic

      Makes sense. And sometimes your home page has dynamic content, so you’ll get a mismatch even when everything is OK.

      1. Carl Taylor

        +1 for custom URLs for the screenshot check.

        This is a great start, but yeah really need to be able to configure multiple pages that get compared as before & after and on a per site basis what pages to check.

  6. manu

    What a nice product but I have already some backup with my host so I can’t buy a premium backup here. What a pitty :(

    1. Vladimir Prelovac

      You would be paying for safe updates, not the backup, think about it that way.

  7. Amy

    Awesome job! I would love to tweet out this news! Is there a way to do that via the article link?

    1. Nemanja Aleksic

      We’ll be putting in social media sharing buttons in a few weeks. We did some redesign a while back, and never got around to finishing the social media part. Thanks for pointing this out!

  8. natebald

    I like the screenshots, is any of this going to be added to the client reports?

    1. Nemanja Aleksic

      We haven’t considered it, tho I’m curious to hear what value would your client get from the screenshots in the report.

      1. natebald

        Just providing one more level of service to the client they can visually see. I dont think that I would want all screenshots included in the client report, maybe just the first and last one of the given time period for the report.

  9. ibon

    This is great! I always do an on-demand backup before and this will do it automatically :)

  10. Kai

    Great News!

    Regarding the premium back-up addon, which is needed, let’s say I have a daily backup activated for a site and the daily backup was already done when I want to safe update, will this work?

    Thanks!

    1. Nemanja Aleksic

      Another on-demand backup will be made, because you might have made a bunch of changes since the last daily backup.

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Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!

Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!

Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!