MainWP is a free, self-hosted and open source management plugin for managing multiple WordPress sites from one location. One of the features is the ability to automatically upgrade the WordPress installed with latest WordPress core updates on each and every or selected child sites.

WordPress has native auto updates support. By default, WordPress enables automatic updates for minor core releases and translation files. Major WordPress core release updates or milestone version updates are not automatically downloaded and updated. Even though the automatic updates for all WordPress core releases can be enabled via either defining WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant as TRUE in wp-config.php, or adding filter auto_update_core with __return_true value using a plugin or in theme’s functions.php, but doing so in many WordPress sites is time-consuming. On top of that, you have absolutely no control on when the updates are installed by WordPress.

MainWP can be used to initiate the WordPress core update if it doesn’t happen automatically, and it can also set to auto update WordPress core files when available on child sites.

Enabling auto updates of WordPress core in MainWP child sites are 2 steps process, as detailed below.

Step 1: Enable Auto Updates Feature

  1. Login to MainWP Dashboard.
  2. Go to the MainWP -> Settings -> Global Options.
  3. Under the “Update Options” section, select Install trusted updates from the drop-down list of WP Core auto updates option.

    WP Core Auto Updates

  4. Hit Save settings button.

Step 2: Enable WordPress Core Auto Updates for Child Site

  1. Login to MainWP Dashboard.
  2. Go to the MainWP -> Sites -> Manage Sites.
  3. Hover mouse over the site that you want to enable WP Core auto update, and click on the Edit action from the site action row.

    Edit Site in MainWP

  4. Under “General Options”, toggle the slider of Auto update core option to YES.
  5. Click Update Site button.
The MainWP Auto Update WP Core feature is not related to the native WordPress Auto Update feature, thus it does not interfere or change how native WordPress auto updates work.

Once auto updates is enabled for WordPress core in MainWP, it takes up to 24 hours for updates to take place after MainWP Dashboard detects the available update, provided WP Cron is working properly.