New Service – wisnet’s Smart Plugin Manager
The security of your website is a top priority for us. To help keep your website running safe, secure and optimized, we have incorporated an awesome new service (wisnet’s Smart Plugin Manager) to automatically perform plug-in updates on your site and using some cool AI – check to make sure the plugin updates did not break things.
If a plugin update does cause issues, wisnet’s Smart Plugin Manager will roll back the plugin updates and restore your entire site to its previous state automatically. Continue reading if you want to hear all the geeky details. 😉
About Smart Plugin Manager
Smart Plugin Manager (SPM) runs a script daily to check if there are any updates available for your plugins or themes. Smart Plugin Manager is deployed on individual WordPress installations. We can select the time of day you’d like the update service to check for updates.
Determining a Successful Update
Utilizing a proprietary set of tests and machine learning algorithms, after plugin and theme updates are run, SPM checks for server response errors, broken code, and visual changes immediately after plugins have been updated. Some example visual errors that will cause a reversion and restoration are: missing images and forms, misplaced iconography, PHP errors, and other visual indicators that the plugin updates cause a material change to your site.
SPM makes a judgement on site functionality based on a set of verification tests. This technology and verification mechanisms are constantly improving so false positives/negatives may occur. If an update breaks your site but was passed by SPM, we can easily restore from our nightly backups. Likewise, if SPM believes the updates broke your site when it seems to be fine, you can still manually update your plugins. If you experience one of these issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual Regression Testing
Visual regression testing (VRT) refers to the process of visually checking a series of pages before and after updates are performed for discrepancies. This is especially powerful because basic tests only look for error codes, whereas VRT can be used to determine if the website looks incorrect.
SPM checks the homepage by default. If we add a sitemap (whether through the sitemap setting or a sitemap plugin), it will check and run verification on up to 20 listed pages, including the homepage. If there are more than 20 pages listed in your sitemap, it will check your homepage and a randomized 19 other pages from the entirety of the sitemap. If there is a failure on any page, SPM will roll back the plugin updates and restore your entire site to its previous state. Additionally, SPM can be told to ignore specific plugins if necessary. For example, a calendar widget is expected to vary visually but doesn’t indicate an update failure.
If there are particular areas of the site that may naturally look different, like a calendar widget, the CSS can be easily excluded.
If a plugin fails to update, we will stop trying to run the updates and we will receive a notification alerting us to which plugin(s) or theme(s) failed to update so we can investigate. SPM will attempt updates for three more days.
If updates are performed successfully but we detect an issue after updating, such as a 4XX/5XX error or a material change to the look of your site using VRT, the system will automatically revert your site back to the state prior to running the updates.
After three days, the system will attempt to update each plugin/theme individually and will skip updating the specific plugin or theme that caused the failure while still updating the other components. We will need to manually update the plugin or theme that causes the failure before it will properly update automatically.
The cost for this service runs $5/month and is available on most of our WordPress hosting environments. If you are interested in incorporating a smart plugin update tool into your WordPress hosting we are here to help!