How to Disable WordPress Auto Updates

The default behaviour of WordPress is to automatically update itself. WordPress is made this way because of security reasons. Having outdated plugins, themes or WordPress core itself can put your site at risk.

But sometimes we want to have full control over site updates and rather test before it is deployed to production. In this article we’ll show you some ways to tell WordPress to not automatically update its components. 

How to disable WordPress core updates

Disabling WordPress auto core updates is quite straightforward. The only thing needed is to define it in your main configuration file, namely wp-config.php. Add this line of code over the /* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */ section at the bottom of the file:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );
Code to disable auto updates shown in text editor inside the file wp-config.php

To add this line of code you can either use SSH with the text editors nano or vim. Or you can download the file via SFTP, edit locally and upload it again.

How to force disable all themes and plugins updates

We can add a couple of filters in a must use plugin which we will make ourselves. Login via SSH or SFTP and navigate to your wp-content folder. If the directory mu-plugins doesn’t exist there already, simply make a new one by the same name. Inside that directory make a file called disable-theme-plugin-updates.php, or whatever you’d like. Inside that file you will need to add these lines of code:

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_false' );
add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_false' );

Should you not want to disable both but only plugins for example, you can just add the first line of code and vice versa.

How to have full control over auto updates with a plugin

Easy Updates Manager is a great alternative if you’re not used to manually editing WordPress files. It can do everything mentioned above with an easy to understand GUI. In some ways it is also more powerful as it can disable updates for individual plugins as well.

And as always, should you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact our support chat at!