I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to upgrade my blog to the latest version of WordPress. How do I do this?
Keeping your blog software up to date is pretty important. New software exploits are discovered every day and running an older version of a well-known can expose you to an unacceptable level of risk. Blog software is no exception to this rule and you should always keep up to date with the latest releases.
Step 1 – Download the new version of WordPress
The first step is to download the most recent version of WordPress. Unzip this into a folder, all ready to update your website. However, before you upload it, there are a few important steps to take to make sure you don’t jeopardize your blog.
Step 2 – Backup your blog
Before you do anything, it’s always a good idea to backup your website to make sure you have a fallback position should everything go wrong. Backing up WordPress is a 2 stage process. First you need to back up your database using the Backup plugin that ship with WordPress. This even give you the option of sending you an email with a backup of your database. Remember to backup all your tables, not just the wordPress ones. The second step is to backup all your customisations and plugins. I personally take a backup of all the files on the server, so that I can restore the site quickly should the need arise.
Step 3 – Deactivate all your plugins
Some plugins change the way WordPress work, and some will not work with the new version of WordPress, so it’s terribly important that you deactivate them all before you start the upgrade process.
Step 4 – Upload the new version
You can now upload the new version which you had downloaded before starting the entire process. In most cases it’s perfectly acceptable to just overwrite everything with the new version. If there’s any exceptions to this (like deleting files before performing the upgrade), these are usually outlined in the upgrade notes.
Step 5 – Run the upgrade program
If you try accessing your website now, you will get an error messaging stating that the website is out-of-sync with your database and give you the option to upgrade your website. Go ahead and select this option. WordPress will proceed to upgrade itself to the new version
Step 6 – Enable your plugins
This is the tricky part. Sometimes plugins will not work properly with the new version of WordPress, and this may require that you modify your template to match. Start enabling your plugins one by one, confirming that your blog still works with each one you enable.
So, what do you do if it all goes wrong. If this happens, you’ll need to restore files from your backup, or even make use of your MySQL backup. I’ve done a number of upgrades so far though, and never needed to return back to backups. Good luck!