I am a firm believer that you should keep your plugins, small packages of code that can add a discreet and focused functionality to a WordPress website, updated. But I also believe that you should test updates and try new plugins in a development/testing environment before going live. Your wordpress testing environment can be on a remote server with a hosting company or on a local server.
A remote server would be if you were to purchase a domain name just for testing and set up an addon domain with your hosting company. That could be your testing environment that you set up just like your live site. Just be sure to block the search engines from your testing site.
Another option is to convert your local computer into a server. You can install WAMP which includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Then you can make all the changes you want and test until your heart is content. No one ever has to see your test website on your local computer.
Then all you have to do is install WordPress. I suggest you make a backup of your live site using Backup Buddy. Then use the full backup to create your testing environment. This way you have a complete duplicate of your live website. You can test all changes to plugins before you make the changes live.
Remember if you take down your testing website for a few hours nothing is lost. But if your live website goes down for a few hows you are losing money!
11 Productivity Shortcuts
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