Testing Plugin/Theme Updates – What to Look For

This post deals with the human aspect of testing plugin/theme updates on a WordPress site. For the technical side of testing, please read Testing Updates & New Features for Your Clients.

When testing updates to WordPress, plugins, or themes, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the site look the same for users? Does it look the same for admins/other roles?
  • Does the site operate differently for users? Admins/other roles?
  • Does the update affect how people will use the site?
  • Were there any big bug fixes?

Something helpful you may want to do is keep a list of plugins that others’ interact with on a regular basis. For example, if you have a memberships-based site and someone dedicated to making changes to users/administrating password resets, you’d want to contact them any time an update is run on the membership plugin.

If an update/change will require approval from anyone outside your team, please try to:

  • Give them 1 week to review the changes.
  • Communicate about the timeframe and changes via email (or your project management system) so they have all the information in one place and you have timestamps on the conversations.

Read the changelog and send any pertinant information to groups that it affects.
For example:

  • Bug fixes to anyone who has been complaining about a particular issue.
  • Vulnerability fixes to those interested (IT, tech support, security team, etc).
  • Appearance/usability changes to anyone who would be affected.