Learning how to update WordPress is simple and straight-forward. It all depends on which update method you prefer. One of the more wonderful benefits of using WordPress as your blogging or web site platform-of-choice is the very easy way in which you can move up to the latest and greatest version with little more than a couple of button presses!
Why would you bother to learn how to update WordPress? Well, the three most common reasons are:
You’ve seen a message at the top of your dashboard (Your WordPress Control area) informing you that a new version has been released.
A new security fix may have been issued. These are especially important updates and should be installed as quickly as possible.
You may have heard from friends or colleagues about some new, “Must-Have’ functionality in the latest version of WordPress that you simply can’t live without. Whatever your reasoning for wanting to update your WordPress installation, there are a few “Must Do” jobs that first need to be performed.
Firstly, make sure that the hosting service you’re using supports the new WordPress version. The easiest way to accomplish this is to login to your hosting service and navigate to the installation tools.
If there is a WordPress update available, your hosting service should be showing you an alert of some kind telling you of this fact. All you should need to do at this point is to click on ‘Update’!
Whether you’re using your hosting provider to do the update or you’re doing it manually, there are a couple of “must do’s” that need to be performed – a bit of house-keeping if you will.
First, do a full backup of your WordPress database. The database holds all your posts and pages and you definitely want a copy of these in case the update goes south on you!
Never depend on any automated update process to perform a backup for you. Should you have a large number of posts on your blog, it would be tragic, indeed, to lose them all! Always perform a manual backup!
And here’s something that so few blog owners ever do. You want to disable all the existing plugins that you have active for your blog. After you’ve updated, just restart each plugin individually to make sure that each one works okay with the new version of WordPress.
Alright, now with the upgrade. All recent versions of WordPress have an automatic upgrade feature built-in to them. This means that whenever you log in to your WP-admin section of your blog, you will see a large notification at the top of the page informing you that a new WordPress version is ready and waiting.
The WordPress development crew has so automated this that all you really need to do is to click on it and the rest of the upgrade just sails along on its own.
An even easier way to upgrade your WordPress is to log on to your hosting account and – if you’re using Fantastico for application management – let IT do all of the work for you. This is what I use for all upgrading efforts.
Okay, so what happens if you DON’T see an automatic upgrade notice when you log in? Well, the developers thought of this too. All you have to do is to go to “Tools –> Upgrade” and the same auto upgrade will occur.
Of course, you COULD do all of this upgrading manually… you could download the WordPress package, unzip it, ftp over to your blogs Admin area, delete certain files and upload new ones…
If you’re dying to learn how to update WordPress the manual way, there are many intense tutorials discussing the process at WordPress.
For 99% of everyone else out there who have actual work to do and are not looking for a new tech hobby, the automatic upgrade process is clean, fast, and nearly foolproof.
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