Customers should have more control over major updates.
Managed WordPress hosting companies help their customers keep WordPress up-to-date. This is important; analysis by GoDaddy showed that over half of hacked WordPress sites were running an outdated version of the software.
Generally speaking, I think it’s good for hosts to auto-update WordPress versions. Going from 4.9.4 to 4.9.5–just a security and maintenance release–is no big deal. But going to an entirely new version number is an issue.
Last week WordPress 5.0 was released. I have a handful of sites on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress and GoDaddy quickly updated them to 5.0. This broke one of the sites. In my case, it was a theme that didn’t work with 5.0 and I was able to fix it myself. Another issue people face are plugins that don’t work with 5.0.
The auto-upgrade caused an RSS feed containing podcasts to be down for a couple of hours, which was business-impacting.
At a minimum, web hosts should warn their customers before a major upgrade like this. Inform them that the upgrade will take place in seven days and ask them to make sure they are ready for the upgrade. Let them delay the upgrade if necessary. Also, suggest that they upgrade manually during this period so they are available to troubleshoot should something go wrong.