In this blog post I tell you (almost) everything there is to know on updating WordPress.
Why should you need to update WordPress?
- Security updates – people with bad intentions can use a security loop and exploit your blog; you can have problems such as – blog removal, blog posts removal, access to the database of newsletter subscribers via WordPress, spamming with your blog (which will lead with problems with the search engines and a bad reputation for you/your company);
- Bug fixes – sometimes you hit a button in WordPress; well, in most cases, the problem is with you; in other, rarer, cases, the problem is with WordPress; in that case, it’s best that you upgrade, so that the minor issues are solved;
- A better WordPress – sometimes it’s not really a fix of a problem (be it a security or just a bug fix); instead, it might be a new feature; thus, WordPress might improve on something you didn’t even know you need it;
Do you really need to update?
If it’s only a minor version, with no security updates, you can skip an update; if it’s a major update, with lots of security updates, bug fixes, and a lot of new features – then yes, in this case it’s a sure need for a new WordPress;
- Sometimes plugins don’t work; it’s best that you also update your plugins;
- Sometimes, an older plugin might cause some problems with a new version of WordPress (the plugin, being old, hasn’t been tested in the new version of WordPress); for this, it’s best that you disable all of your plugins prior to updating WordPress, and then only reactivate the plugins which are compatible with the new version;
- If you use the default theme in WordPress, it will be updated; have you done any changes in the structure of that theme? Oh, well, those changes are lost; so, I advise you to back-up your default theme (comes with WordPress), if you’ve done changes to it;
- If you update a theme, logically, you lose settings which you’ve done to the theme files; some themes do allow for translations, or external CSS files, and some themes also have options – you won’t lose any of these, but you will lose the theme files (if you changed them, you will lose the settings);
- The same goes for updating a plugin which comes with WordPress, plugin for which you have altered the core files;
- Sometimes themes will have problems with newer versions of WordPress; it’s best that you do update your themes also;
You should always check WordPress requirements (such as a PHP or MySQL version) prior to updating;
Things to do prior to update
- Back-up the database (you can use a plugin);
- Back-up the wp-content folder via FTP; details;
- Deactivate the plugins, if they are not updated to the latest version and haven’t been tested on the current version of WordPress;
How to update?
- Automatic update:
- Click the link in the new version banner, if there is one; or
- Go to Tools -> Upgrade/Update menu;
- Manual update:
- Get the latest WordPress via an archive, and unzip it;
- Overwrite files via FTP (pay attention to already existing files in the WP-Content folder, such as plugins or themes that you may have altered manually);
Steps after the update
- Sometimes an automatic update fails, and it creates a file called “.maintenance”, right in the root of your WordPress; remove that file;
- Run the database upgrade script (if necessary);
If everything goes smoothly, your WordPress will be successfully upgraded.
- Why Upgrade WordPress — Social Photo Talk
- How to update WordPress to latest version
- Upgrading WordPress Extended « WordPress Codex
Note: also see – BitDefender Antivirus.