WordPress Tutorial #13

Periodically WordPress releases an update. (So do your themes and plugins.) You’ll find out about it when you log into your WordPress dashboard. At the top of your screen you’ll see the message, WordPress [latest version] is available now. Let’s walk through the process of how to update WordPress.

How to Update WordPress

Do you update? And if so, how?

The short answer is yes, absolutely. But, unless it’s a update that fixes an urgent security hole, you might want to wait a couple of days after it’s released.

By waiting you allow all those bleeding edge techie-type people to test it for you. WordPress is usually stable, and upgrades are tested before they’re released. But with all the thousands of themes and plugins out there, and all the millions of possible combinations of themes and plugins, stuff can go wrong.

Here’s how I handle it (unless it’s one of those urgent security updates).

#1. Plan and Prepare

Two or three days after the update is released, I’ll Google something like “WordPress 3.6 [the new version] update problems” and see what turns up. I’ll read through 10-12 listings. If I suspect a problem that might affect my site, I’ll wait another couple of days and check again for solutions.

#2. Back Up the Site

Once I’m ready to update, I back up the site completely. That means backing up the database and the files.

#3. Deactivate all Plugins

Click Plugins/Installed Plugins. To the left of each listed plugin you’ll see a checkbox. You’ll also see a checkbox above the entire column. Go ahead and check that box, then select deactivate from the dropdown box where you see the words Bulk Actions, then click the Apply button.

How to Update WordPress

#4. Update WordPress

Click the Please update now link at the top of your dashboard. It will take you to an update page. Go ahead and click the Update Now button.

How to Update WordPress

If all has gone well, you’ll see a Welcome to WordPress 3.6 screen with information about features of the new update.

After you’re done updating, take a look at the site to make sure everything’s working properly. It’ll look a little different because your plugins are all inactive!

#5. Reactivate Plugins

Once you’re satisfied that it’s okay, reactivate the plugins one by one, checking the site each time. Click the Activate link next to each one.

How to Update WordPress

While it may seem time consuming to do it this way, it is a lot easier and faster than to reactivate all the plugins at once and then try to find one that’s acting up!

#6. Update Theme and Plugins

After your plugins are active again, check to see if there are any updates for the theme or the plugins. If there are, update the theme first, then the plugins (one at a time).

Congratulations! You’ve just updated WordPress.