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Automated WordPress Updates Done Right: A Deeper Look Into Cloudways’ SafeUpdates

Updated on January 26, 2023

6 Min Read
SafeUpdates WordPress

One thing that ties digital agencies, developers & e-commerce store managers together is keeping their WordPress websites updated and secure. Because, one, it’s what brings them business, and second, they want to be at the leading edge of technology.

Business owners want to spend more time growing their businesses than on maintenance work.

Our customers reported they were spending hours upon hours on WordPress maintenance. They hunted for plugins that might automate the WordPress update process to save them the hassle and time.


But standalone plugins come with their limitations. Additional dashboards, separate billings, and lack of features, with a few even lacking scheduling and testing.

Meanwhile, we carefully considered all the features important to our customers, went to the drawing board, and made SafeUpdates.

We packed:

  • Visual Regression Testing to improve the accuracy of visual testing beyond what is possible with the human eye alone
  • A temporary Staging Environment to safely test all updates
  • Backup so there is always a point of return
  • Performance tests to ensure speed isn’t affected
  • Logs & HTML checks

all in a single tool.

The result? Our users save 42 hours on average of WordPress maintenance monthly with SafeUpdates.

In this blog, we’re diving deep into how SafeUpdates does its job so you can automate confidently and focus on what really matters – growing your business.

Automate Your Site Updates With SafeUpdates

Get all plugin, theme, and core updates automatically on your WordPress sites for as low as $2/month, saving you hours of manual work.

Breaking Down the Workflow

With SafeUpdates on the job, you can sit back and relax while it handles all the heavy lifting for you. Once activated, SafeUpdates actively monitors your WordPress application for any pending updates, including core, themes, free & premium plugins. But it doesn’t just blindly execute updates; it takes every precaution to ensure your site stays safe and bug-free.

Here’s how:

  1. First, it takes a backup of your production application, just in case it needs to roll back.
  2. Next, it creates a staging environment, which is a replica of your production site. This is where it executes all the updates.
  3. Before making any changes, it takes snapshots and performs unit testing to ensure the application works smoothly.
  4. Next, it executes all the selected updates in the staging environment.
  5. Once updates are completed, it takes new snapshots and performs unit testing. Testing involves performance tests, WordPress updates, HTML testing, browser console, network errors, and even visual regression testing to compare screenshots before and after the updates.
  6. Only once everything checks out it proceeds to update your live site.

And if, for any reason, updates are aborted or the outcome is not as expected, SafeUpdates will abort updating of the production application as well.

But what happens if an error occurs after the live application is updated?

SafeUpdates will roll back changes and restore your application to its previous state, so you can rest assured your site is in good hands.

Diving Deeper Into the Testing Workflows

Testing is where SafeUpdates gets its robotic fingers all greasy, like a mechanic working on a car! It performs rigorous tests to ensure your WordPress site is running like a well-oiled machine. And only then determines if an update is successful.

Let’s get deeper into what each test does:

  • Visual Regression Testing: The VRT process compares the website before and after a WordPress update, giving a clear picture of any visual changes or issues caused by an update, allowing you to detect such issues beforehand. The AI captures screenshots while freezing animations, resulting in precise testing for pages with animated elements.
  • HTML Testing: Automated HTML testing helps identify code structure and formatting issues that might not be immediately visible to the human eye. This can include missing tags, incorrect nesting of elements, and code that does not conform to web standards.
  • Performance Testing: SafeUpdates automated performance testing ensures that your WordPress website speed is not affected by the updates. It tests the load time before and after, so the website handles traffic like before.
  • Logs Checking: Finally, SafeUpdates looks for issues within the browser console and network errors caused by any update, such as failed HTTP requests, DNS errors, or SSL certificate issues, ensuring your site works without any errors.

A Guide to Aborted Updates

Think of SafeUpdates as the trusty sidekick of the WordPress-update world, always there to save the day and keep your website running smoothly. Just like Batman and Robin! It swoops in and saves your site from any updates that could potentially turn it into a hot mess.

It tests out updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes in a staging environment before they get anywhere near your live site. If something looks fishy, it’ll hit the abort button faster than you can say “broken website.”

And don’t worry; we will not just leave you hanging. We’ve created a set of error codes that will explain why an update was a no-go and give you some tips on how to fix it.

The most common reason updates get the boot is that they flunked our Automated Testing Workflow in the Staging environment, whether it’s the layout changes, design, HTML codes, performance, or errors in the logs.

But don’t fret; we got your back. We’ll always abort the update instead of risking your website breaking. SafeUpdates is like the lifeguard of your website, always keeping an eye out for any danger. Learn how to troubleshoot SafeUpdates errors here.

Built-In, Separate-Billings-Out

A good hosting platform with its own easy-to-use dashboard and a built-in WordPress Update plugin? It doesn’t get any more convenient than this. Psst, it does, and we’re working on it.

With SafeUpdates, users don’t have to worry about managing multiple dashboards and dealing with separate billings. Our plugin is a built-in solution, providing a more convenient and streamlined user experience. So with SafeUpdates, activated users have one less separate bill to worry about.

Schedule Or On-demand, Either Way, You’ve Got Control

We’re all about giving you a choice. You can play it safe by scheduling updates for the best time or live on the edge and run updates on demand. Whatever you choose, SafeUpdates has got you covered.

With On-demand updates, you’re the boss. Select the plugins and themes you want to update, and SafeUpdates will take care of the rest. Its automated backup, staging site creation, testing, and updating workflow will have your site back up and running in a jiffy. If we talk numbers, it usually takes around 15 to 20 minutes.

If you’re the type who likes to set it and forget it, we highly recommend automating your updates by scheduling them. Pick a day and time that works best for you and your website traffic, and let SafeUpdates take care of the rest.

While scheduling, you’ll choose which plugins and themes you want it to update, and it’ll send you a notification whether the update was successful or if it had to abort it.

SafeUpdates vs. The World – The Battle for Peace of Mind

When it comes to standalone WordPress update plugins, there’s one thing that’s often missing: peace of mind. These plugins perform updates directly on the live website rather than in a staging environment, putting your website at risk of breaking and causing compatibility issues. And even if you want to perform updates on a staging environment with these plugins, you’ll have to set it up yourself every time an update is available.

But the hassle doesn’t stop there. You might have to use a collection of plugins to perform WordPress updates safely. And who likes dealing with multiple dashboards and billings?

And again, SafeUpdates saves you from all this inconvenience. You get an end-to-end solution for WordPress updates, starting with auto-detecting updates for all three components of WordPress: core, plugins (premium, too), and themes.

We perform rigorous tests away from your live website by spinning up a temporary staging environment to ensure updates neither break nor slow down your site. Plus, you can set email alerts for upcoming scheduled updates and successful and unsuccessful attempts, so you are always up-to-date about your WordPress updates.

One dashboard, no separate billings, and zero headaches!

If you’re new to Cloudways, you might wonder if other hosting platforms provide similar solutions. Well, wonder no more cause we’ve gathered the comparison in one place in terms of features and pricing:

Cloudways Kinsta WP Engine Pantheon
Automated WP Updates Yes No Yes Yes
Visual Regression Testing Yes No Yes Yes
Advanced Functional Tests Yes No Yes No
Unmetered Websites Yes No Yes No
Unmetered Visits Yes No Yes No
Entry Price Hosting + SafeUpdates $13.00 $35.00 $33.00 $55.00

You can learn more about what Cloudways has in store for you as the best hosting provider for small businesses and agencies here.

The Future Is Now: SafeUpdates And Beyond

We’re thrilled to have introduced you to the world of SafeUpdates, the WordPress update plugin that simplifies maintaining your website. What’s more exciting is that it’s available as an add-on for all our pricing plans.

We understand that keeping your website secure and running smoothly can be a time-consuming task, and we’ve worked hard to create a solution with our managed WordPress hosting that makes it easier for you.

But we are not stopping there. We’re constantly working on adding new features and functionalities to SafeUpdates to make it even better. This is just the beginning of a holistic WordPress update plugin that will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of our users.

We’re determined to make SafeUpdates the go-to solution for anyone looking to streamline their WordPress maintenance process.

So stay tuned, as we have many exciting updates and features planned for the future of SafeUpdates. We can’t wait to see how it will help you grow your business even more.

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Customer Review at

“Beautifully optimized hosting for WordPress and Magento”

Arda Burak [Agency Owner]


Hani is a Product Marketing Associate at Cloudways. With a creative flair and a love for introducing people to products tailored just for them, she ensures that her audience is always in the know. In her free time, she indulges in her love for Ferrero Rochers and dystopian movies.


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