Knowing which version of WordPress you’re running is important for ensuring your site is up-to-date and that any plugins you want to use are compatible with your site. Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can check which release you’re running.
If you have an older version of WordPress installed, ideally, you should update your site as soon as possible because each update comes with security fixes and if you don’t apply these changes your site will become an easy target for hackers.
Here are five ways you can check your version of WordPress so you can ensure your site’s up-to-date and your plugins are also compatible. It only takes a second or two. So let’s get started.
Dashboard Updates Page
In your admin dashboard in single installs of WordPress or your super admin dashboard for Multisite, got to Dashboard > Updates. You should see the version you’re using listed toward the top of the page.
If you find you aren’t up-to-date, be sure to create a full backup of your site before going ahead and updating. If something goes wrong, you can then easily reinstate your site.
In WordPress versions 4.1.5 and above, take a look at the footer of any page in your dashboard. You should see the version of WordPress you’re using on the right.
It’s worth nothing that the version number isn’t listed in the dashboard of sites within a Multisite network and it isn’t shown on mobile devices or smaller browser window sizes.
For this version check, you need to delve into your site’s files. In the wp-includes folder, find version.php and open it directly in cPanel or download a copy and open it in an editor. Toward the top, you should see it listed on line seven.
Keep in mind that if you go to this page in your browser, it won’t display your WordPress version even if you view the page’s source. Both options results in a blank screen.
Generator Meta Tag
Sometimes, older themes have a generator meta tag in the header. You can see if your theme includes this by activating it and visiting the page. View the page’s source. In Google Chrome, right-click on the page and click View Source.
In the new page that opens, search for the following meta tag, but with your version of WordPress instead of the one listed below:
This line is usually kept from being generated in most of the latest themes since displaying your site’s WordPress version so readily is a security risk. You may not be able to see this line when you view the source code for any of your pages and that’s actually a good thing.
On older versions of WordPress, a readme.html file is often included and lists your version of WordPress. If you can access http://www.you-site.com/readme.html then you need to update your version of WordPress right away.
Since listing the version you’re using publicly is a security threat, you should make sure that at the very least, you should delete that file immediately. If hackers know what version of WordPress you use, they can easily look up the security holes of your version and use that information to gain access to your site.
Since WordPress is an open source project, information such as this is made available to the public so it’s a lot easier for hackers to get a hold of information that they can then use to infultrate your site.
You are now armed with three great ways to check what version of WordPress you’re using and two more ways that, if they work, tell you right away that you need to update your site right away since they’re only available on versions of WordPress that are out of date.
If you want to make sure your site doesn’t publicly display your version of WordPress, check out one of our other posts How to Hide Your WordPress Version Number. There are also many security plugins that can hide the version you’re using such as Wordfence, Sucuri Security, Site Protection by Umbrella Plugins and the Remove WordPress Version plugin to name only a few.
Were you able to find the version of WordPress you’re using? Do you use an older version of WordPress? What are your reasons for updating frequently or not updating? Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comments below, but please don’t reveal the version of WordPress you’re using.