Every day the software is getting better and easier for the users, and we should always be up to date with it, so it is absolutely necessary to use the latest versions of the software. But for the ordinary user it is so easy to break something while updating something, because sometimes it may not be absolutely compatible with your theme.
We offer you before doing something first to make the copy of your site where you could test every new updates and not to make a tragical mistake that would lead to breaking your actual web-site. It would be your so called draft.
How we would do it. Firstly, we would recommend you to make a Backup copy of your site, mind you will also need a good WordPress host, with all the needed tools for the backup included. With its help you will always be able to restore all the copies if you have done something wrong or if there is a conflict with plug-ins, etc.
If you are making your sites locally, then you can use such important tools as MAMP or Desktop Server for Mac users, and WampServer for Windows users, also VVV, for more professional users.
If you just need to test an update then you should make WordPress install on your server and restore a backup of your site to it. Also on the WordPress hosts you will be able to make a copy of your production site and make all your tests and changing on it.
After making all the tests and changes on local hosts or the way you have chose for yourself, you are ready to update your site or a single plug-in and get back to your work.
The most important thing is to choose the best way for yourself and the most convenient for you and your clients not to break away from the workflow.
Some general tools out there that help backup your live site, run local installs and copy sites to testing environments:
- MAMP, DesktopServer, VVV, or WampServer to run local installs of WordPress.
- BackupBuddy, BackWPup, and Duplicator to backup and copy your site(s).
- Sublime Text, PHPStorm, or Coda as code editors
- Command line, GitHub Desktop App, SourceTree, or Tower to manage your repos.
- And a great host that has easy to use staging options.