Take a break from automatic updates with our new ‘pause’ feature

Published by Vic Drover on

Pause Automatic Updates

Automatic software updates are an important tool to help keep your website running smoothly and to minimize maintenance time. Today we are announcing two improvements to our auto update tool: the ability to update core software automatically and the ability to pause automatic updates in a single click.

Below, we’ll dive into why we added these improvements and how to use them.

Are these improvements really new?

The ability to update core WordPress and Joomla from Watchful will not feel new. It feels very similar to the existing plugin and extension auto update system. However, the implementation differs which explains the later release for core auto updates.

In contrast, the ability to pause automatic updates is most definitely a big, new improvement.

In the past, the only way to interrupt automatic updates was to delete them from the auto updater entirely, or to schedule auto update vacations. But now there is a dedicated pause button to halt automatic updates without changing anything related to scheduling or configuration.

Why did you add these improvements?

Sometimes you need to rapidly disable automatic updates. Common examples include updates unexpectedly containing a serious bug or or perhaps even a security issue.

In fact, this happened to a Watchful user earlier this year and they ended up deleting all of their automatic updates. While effective, restarting updates once the crisis passes is tedious. This prompted a feature request and led to the development if the pause feature.

Automatically updating core software is another common feature request. In particular, WordPress has been auto updating the core for years and users were anxious to use our auto update rule system to better control them.

Auto updating core software

Automatic core updates can be added from the Site updater when viewing the details of a site in the Sites Dashboard. Once added, you’ll find them listed in the Auto-updating core area of the Auto Updater.

As with plugin and extension auto updates, you can disable them individually or in bulk using the buttons at the right of each site in the list.

Core Auto Updater
Managing automatic core updates.

Pausing all automatic updates

The pause feature for automatic updates is right where you’d expect it: above the updates list in the Auto Updater. As you can see below, the Pause all button is very prominent at the top of the list. A Restart all button is also available to revert paused updates.

And since core and plugin/extension auto updates are in separate lists, pause/restart buttons are provided for each.

Pause All Automatic Updates
Pausing all automatic updates in Watchful.

Pausing some automatic updates

Like many of the tools at Watchful, we try to make them as flexible as possible. That way, folks can use them in the way that best suits them.

This approach was also used for the pause feature. In this case, we added the ability to pause updates with fine-grained control. Each entry in the auto update table has a button to pause that specific software on just one site.

Along with the bulk pause/restart tool described above, you have maximum control over your automatic updates.

Pause Some Automatic Updates
Pausing some automatic updates in Watchful.


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