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Disable WordPress auto updates

How to Disable WordPress Auto Updates 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

While auto-updates help keep your WordPress site secure and running smoothly, there may be times when you want to disable this feature.

Automatic updates can sometimes cause compatibility issues with plugins, themes, or custom code on your site. If an update breaks functionality or causes errors, it can be difficult to troubleshoot. 

In this tutorial, we’ll explore different methods for disabling automatic updates in WordPress!

Table of Contents

Does WordPress Automatically Update?

By default, WordPress automatically installs minor updates in the background. Minor releases usually contain security patches and bug fixes. These small but important updates help keep your site secure and running smoothly.

However, major new versions of WordPress are not installed automatically. 

You have to manually initiate major updates through your WordPress dashboard or via FTP/SFTP. This allows you to review the update details, make necessary preparations, and choose when to apply the update to your live site.

So, WordPress handles critical security and maintenance updates automatically. However, it leaves more substantial updates under your control.

Why You Might Want to Disable WordPress Auto Updates

The auto-update feature is generally safe and convenient for basic WordPress sites. However, there are several reasons why you may want to disable it. Let’s talk about a few!

Compatibility Testing

Even minor updates can sometimes break functionality with WordPress plugins, themes, or custom code on your site. If you rely heavily on third-party plugins or have a highly customized WordPress install, you’ll want to test updates on a staging site before pushing them live.

High Traffic Sites

For high-traffic websites that can’t afford any downtime, auto-updates can be risky. An update that causes even a minor hiccup could mean lost sales or visitors. Many sites like WooCommerce stores prefer to manually control the update process.

Development Sites

When developing themes, plugins, or other code, you want a standardized testing area that won’t change unexpectedly due to automatic updates. Many developers turn off auto-updates on their local development environments.

Multiple Installs

You might manage multiple WordPress installations for client sites or a WordPress multisite network. In this case, it’s tedious to track whether each auto-update was successful or not. Turning off auto-updates gives you centralized control.

Pros and Cons of Disabling Auto Updates

More control over when and how your website is updated.Outdated software has more security vulnerabilities.
Reduced downtime and errors, since you can test the update first.You’ll need to perform manual updates, which can slow down your workflow.
Prevents unexpected updates on development or staging environments.Outdated software can cause performance issues or lack important features.
Allows you to keep track of minor updates on your site. Keeps your website up to date.

How to Disable WordPress Auto Updates

If you decide to disable WordPress auto updates, you’re in the right place! We’ll show you three different methods you could use.

We don’t recommend disabling auto-updates because they often provide important security patches and bug fixes. But if you’re confident that you can handle updates yourself, feel free to continue.

Method 1. Disable WordPress Auto Updates Manually

One way to disable automatic background updates in WordPress is by adding a few lines of code to your site’s configuration file. 

First, connect your site to an FTP client using the credentials from your WordPress hosting provider. Alternatively, open the file manager specified by your web host (usually cPanel). 

Go to the root directory of your WordPress installation. 

Use a text editor to open the wp-config.php file. This file contains core configuration settings for your WordPress site.

Add the following code at the end of the wp-config.php file:

define('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false);

This disables all automatic WordPress core updates, including minor and major version releases.

Some of your themes and plugins might already automatically update. To disable this feature, add these API filters to your theme’s functions.php file:

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_false' );

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_false' );

Save these new lines of code and upload the files back to your server.

If you want an easier way to manually disable auto updates, consider using WPCode. This plugin allows you to add code snippets to your site without breaking anything!

WPCode plugin

To disable automatic updates, all you’ll need is the free version of WPCode. Go to Snippets » Library and use the Disable Automatic Updates snippet.

WPCode disable WordPress auto updates

WPCode will automatically give you a preview of the code. You’ll see filters that disable auto updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes. If you don’t want one of these filters, add // right before it.

Edit filters for disabling WordPress auto updates

When you’re done, activate the snippet and hit Update

Activate the disable auto updates code snippet

That’s it! You’ve now disabled the automatic update process for WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. From this point on, you’ll need to manually install any new updates through your WordPress admin dashboard or via FTP/SFTP.

Method 2. Disable WordPress Auto Updates With a Plugin

As a beginner, you might not want to disable WordPress auto updates with code. Luckily, there are plugins that can help you with this process.

One popular free option is Easy Updates Manager. This plugin gives you a simple dashboard to control all types of updates for your WordPress website. 

Easy Updates Manager plugin

To use the Easy Updates Manager plugin, find the Updates Options page under Dashboard. You’ll immediately see a way to disable all updates, but I don’t recommend it. It’ll hide your update notifications, so you could miss critical new versions.

Easy Updates Manager settings

Instead, configure the update settings for core software, themes, and plugins. You could choose to manually update plugins and themes, but have WordPress install minor versions. But this is up to you!

Disable WordPress auto updates with Easy Updates Manager

Make sure you don’t disable any updates because the notifications will disappear from your dashboard. The key is disabling auto updates.

That’s all there is to it! The plugin will now block the auto-update process for the components you selected.

After you update your WordPress site, Easy Updates Manager will keep track of what’s changed. You can see your previous updates on the Logs page.

Easy Updates Manager logs

Easy Updates Manager doesn’t make it easy to restore previous versions when you need to. If anything goes wrong after an update, here’s how to roll back your site

Method 3. Disable Auto Updates For Plugins or Themes

When you first set up your WordPress site, you might’ve activated auto-updates for specific plugins. To deactivate them, go to the Plugins page.

Make sure each plugin has an Enable Auto-Updates button. Disable any auto-updates that you see.

Disable auto updates for specific plugins

You can also select all of your plugins. In the Bulk Actions menu, choose Disable Auto-Updates.

Disable auto updates for all plugins

You might also need to disable automatic updates for your WordPress themes. Find Appearance » Themes. Click on a theme to see its details. If you’ve enabled auto-updates, disable it.

Disable WordPress auto updates for themes

Repeat this process for each of your themes. 

Now none of your plugins or themes will update automatically! Whenever an update is available, you can manually install it. 

FAQs About Disabling WordPress Auto Updates

How do I disable automatic updates in WordPress?

To disable automatic WordPress updates, you can use a code snippets plugin like WPCode to automatically add the right code for you. Otherwise, insert code into your wp-config.php file and API filters into your functions.php file. 

How do I handle WordPress updates?

If you disable auto-updates, you’ll need to regularly check for new releases with security updates and new features. You can find the latest versions on the Updates page. Here, you can perform plugin, theme, and core updates.

It’s also wise to create a staging environment to test updates before applying them to your live production site. This allows you to catch any potential conflicts safely.

What happens if you don’t update WordPress?

Not updating WordPress can leave your site vulnerable to hackers or other security risks. Out-of-date WordPress installations eventually become unsupported. Outdated sites may also experience functionality issues or compatibility problems with themes, plugins, or WordPress itself.

How do I uninstall a WordPress update?

If you run into issues after installing a core WordPress update, the best way to get your site back to normal is to restore a backup. With a plugin like Duplicator, find a recent backup and hit Restore.

Duplicator restore button

Your new WordPress version and plugin/theme updates will all be rolled back to how they were before the update. Crisis averted!


Disabling automatic updates in WordPress allows you to take full control of the update process for your site. While convenient, auto-updates can potentially cause compatibility issues or downtime you may want to avoid.

While you’re here, I think you’ll like these WordPress tutorials:

New updates could unexpectedly change your WordPress site. To instantly get your site back to normal, restore a backup in one click with Duplicator Pro!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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