Figuring out when WordPress is going to update next

TL;DR

Updating WordPress is a reactionary process so we put together some statistics to help predict and manage updates. For example, WordPress is updated on average once every 43 days.

So, maybe you’ve wondered how often WordPress is updated and when the next update will be released?

We found some stats to help solve this problem

We had the same question, and as we looked for answers we discovered that there wasn’t really a specific pattern to when WordPress releases happened. But we did find that there were some statistics that may be helpful in planning for WordPress updates.

We did this because waiting and planning to update WordPress is inherently a reactive process, and therefore not a proactive one. WordPress pushes updates seemingly randomly, and you have to update your site shortly after they push out a new release. So this is a reactive process by default, but how can we make it more easily managed, predictable or even boring? How can we plan for and anticipate new WordPress versions being released?

So basically these are statistics to help make predicting and mangaging WordPress updates less reactionary.

Here’s data from WordPress.org. This data only applies to the versions that were the current most up-to-date version at the time.

The data pulled was from May 2003 to the end of 2020.

You may have heard that WordPress core is updated once every 2-3 weeks, but it turns out that it’s actually updated once every 43 days on average–that’s for it’s total history from 2003-2020.

Give me the stats:

  • In 2019-2020 WordPress was updated every 39 days.
  • WordPress has been updated more frequently as it has matured as a platform.

The chart below shows the trendline of the days between WordPress updates. It goes from 2003-2020–left to right.

This shows that WordPress has been updated more frequently as it has matured as a platform.

Here’s a graph:

The average number of releases per year is 8.4. This includes both minor and major releases.

There have been 150 releases from 2003-2020. (These are just releases to the production version, not beta or old compatibility versions.)

What day of the week is WordPress most likely to release an update?

We can see that Tuesday is the most popular day for releases, followed by Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday.

Interestingly enough, there are patterns to be pulled from release day of the month, release month, and release season.

December has had 19 releases while March and November have only had 7.

Interestingly, there seems to be patterns of a greater than average amount of releases in Winter and a less than average amount of releases in the Fall.

Up until this point we’ve looked at both major and minor releases together. Major releases tend to have new functionality added to WordPress, while minor releases are for security and maintenance. For now let’s take a look at just the Major releases.

WordPress has on average 2.27 major releases per year.
Version 4.9 lasted 386 days and version 2.0 lasted 392 days.

The average number of days between each major version releases is 164. That’s one major release every 5.4 months.

That’s interesting, but those of us that may be wary about updating to the next major version right away, what is the average number of days that a minor version is released after a major release?

33 days.

That’s interesting because the average time between updates (major or minor) is 43 days.

On the other hand, what is the average number of days from the last minor release to the next major release?

56 days.

If you’ve read this far, what other stats would you like to see?

Should WordPress change anything?

It would be nice if their updates were more consistent. It would really help a lot of users out if there was a known deadline, say once every month called WordPress update day. This would help a lot with casual bloggers remembering to update and help solve a lot of security concerns that exist on the platform today.

Picture the same day every month when a worldwide network of WordPress users posted on social media to remember to update WordPress.

How much would that help everybody? How much would that help sites not getting hacked?

Why doesn’t WordPress streamline this process? Look at Patch Tuesday as an example. If Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle are streamlining updates, why can’t WordPress?