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Opened 9 years ago

Closed 9 years ago

Last modified 9 years ago

#34664 closed feature request (wontfix)

Plugin updates know to break website should display update warning

Reported by: steevithak's profile steevithak Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Severity: normal Version: 4.3.1
Component: Plugins Keywords:
Focuses: administration Cc:


The Wordpress plugin update system needs a method of indicating that a given update may cause site breakage if installed.

Sometimes a plugin maker will push an update that is known to cause catastrophic breakage to a previously working site due to intentional changes in the architecture of the plugin. From the WP admin's point of view though, the WP update dialog provides no warning and often results in unexpected downtime emergencies when an apparently routine upgrade brings down a working site. It usually goes like this:

  1. Check for a plugin updates and find a few
  2. Run the updates
  3. Discover your site is now broken/down
  4. Check the plugin webpage
  5. Find warning that says plugin has major changes that will break site without advance work to prepare for the update
  6. Scramble to restore site from backups, down grade plugin, or other triage to get site up

Here's what should happen:

  1. Check for plugin updates and find a few
  2. One plugin has noticeable warning of danger, refers user to website
  3. Update safe plugins, then read up on the unsafe plugin update
  4. Prepare site for the dangerous update
  5. Update the unsafe plugin, now that site is ready for the changes
  6. Live happily ever after

We got caught by this one again today. A plugin called Google Calendar which has always updated with no problem, showed a pending update. But the author had pushed out a major architectural change today which broke everything, resulting a lot of broken calendar pages. Sure, enough, once we visited the plugin author's site, there's a warning there that says "hey this will break you site if you install it" but the Wordpress update system did not provide any indication of potential problems.

So clearly, the author knew installing the update would break sites, but there is no way in the existing WP update system to indicate safe vs unsafe updates. One could argue that this is a bug or a feature request. I've chosen to call it a feature request but feel free to set it which ever way make sense.

Change History (3)

#1 @johnbillion
9 years ago

  • Milestone Awaiting Review deleted
  • Resolution set to wontfix
  • Status changed from new to closed

This falls well outside of WordPress' remit. If a plugin author is going to deploy a change which actually breaks websites, they need to do so responsibly (and preferably by adding an explanatory notification in a prior release).

We're not going to introduce a method of marking an update as one which breaks sites.

#2 @ocean90
9 years ago

A plugin author can add a "Upgrade Notice" section to the readme.txt, see, which gets displayed in the backend.

#3 @steevithak
9 years ago

Bummer... so, it's preferable to continue to display potentially site breaking updates alongside harmless ones with no indication of danger? That hardly seems user friendly. This is not an isolated problem, we've had site breakage due to plugin updates on other occasions on several wordpress sites we manage and there's never any *obvious* indication in the wordpress plugin update dialog that you're about to install an update that will break your site. All I'm asking for is a simple flag of some kind - a bright red "caution" indicator or something that says "caution - do not install this update until reading author's warning here <link to warning>".

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