From time to time you will need to update your WordPress installation to the latest version. WordPress has a built in alert system that lets users know when their installations are out of date. Whenever a new version of WP is released you will see a message at the top of your wp-admin dashboard telling you that you need to update your installation.
- Sometimes security vulnerabilities are corrected with new releases. Updating to the newset version of WordPress will ensure that you have the latest security fix. Not updating your version of WordPress may leave your site open to potential hackers.
- Other times new features are added making improvements to the functionality of WordPress. New versions of WP also see great new features that can improve your website front end and how you maintain your site in the backend wp-admin.
Steps to Updating your WP Installation:
- Backup of your database. All your posts and Pages are held in the database, so you will need to have a copy of it in case, for whatever reason, you change your mind after upgrading and need to go back. It is important to backup your database and your website files on a regular basis and before upgrading your version of WordPress and your plugins. The WordPress Database Backup plugin helps with this. ***UPDATE*** I now recommend the Backup Buddy Plugin – read more
- Disable plugins. Now, you don’t have to do this, but every now and again a plugin hasn’t been updated to work with the latest version of WordPress, and causes a problem after the upgrade. You can easily disable your plugins by heading to the Manage Plugins page in the Dashboard, changing the “Bulk Actions” pull down menu to “Deactivate” and clicking “Apply”.
- Automatic Update. Clicking the automatic update button will work for most people. If the automatic upgrade doesn’t work for you, don’t panic, just try a manual update or contact me and I’ll do a manual update for you.
- Enable your Plugins again! If a plugin itself needs updating you will want to update it before you enable it.
Keeping Plugins Up-to-date
Some plugins may become outdated and no longer work with the newer version of WordPress. If you have issues after activating a plugin, deactivate it and visit the Plugin’s website. Many plugin authors will upgrade their plugins to accommodate the newer version, but some either won’t, or their plugin becomes obsolete with the improvements in WordPress.
If a newer version of a Plugin is available in the WordPress Plugin repository you will see a number next to plugin in the left hand column of your wp-admin. This number indicates how many plugins need your attention.
In the Manage Plugin panel a message will display along with a link to the location to download that new version. It is also important to Deactivate a plugin before updating it. If an active plugin fails during upgrade your whole site can be adversely affected. Once updated you will be able to reactivate the plugin.
With a little effort on a regular basis you can keep your site current and safe from security threats!