When WordPress 3.7 “Basie” was released in 2013, it brought automatic updates to the masses. By default, WordPress automatically updates to point releases. Using additional constants within wp-config.php, you can configure WordPress to automatically update themes, plugins, and major releases.
If you want granular control over the WordPress update system without touching code, check out Easy Updates Manager. Easy Updates Manager is a free plugin that’s active on more than 70k sites. It’s maintained by Matthew, Ronald Huereca, Roary Tubbs, and BigWing Interactive.
Once activated, you’ll find the options page by browsing to Dashboard > Update Options. There are two different interfaces for configuring updates. The first includes a number of toggle switches that disable/enable updates. The second is a traditional screen with radial buttons.
Traditional settings page for Easy Updates Manager.
One of the highlights of Easy Updates Manager is the ability to enable automatic updates for individual themes and plugins. It’s a convenient way to update themes and plugins that rarely cause issues. There’s also a built-in logging feature that when enabled creates a new table in the database. It logs the username, update type, version, action, status, and date.
Logging is listed as a beta feature and should be used at your own risk. It also may not work with all commercial themes and plugins. Here’s what the log looks like after I updated three plugins.
Easy Updates Manager also includes the ability to exclude users from manipulating the plugin’s settings. The plugin contains additional features that I encourage you to explore by using it on a test site.
Thanks to the number of options available, users have a countless number of update configurations to choose from. I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.6 alpha and it works as expected. You can download it for free from the WordPress plugin directory.