Upgrading your WordPress

You may think this sounds like an obvious topic, but I’ve read about so many people having problems or just simply too scared to upgrade in case something goes wrong. It’s such a simple thing to do too. I’ve upgraded both blogs on this domain to WordPress 2.5 today, took less than half an hour to do 2. So I figured I’d write out my own steps which may be of use to some.

  1. First off, backup your database. You can do this via phpMyAdmin, if it’s available, or use the WP Backup plugin.
  2. Next I check my plugins are up to date. This is easily done by viewing the plugins page and see which ones are out of date. You can visit the correct plugin page for each, download the latest version and upload it to your plugins directory. (Remember though, not all plugins will have the auto alert feature so check the plugin author’s site to be 100% sure).
  3. Next up is updating your wp-config.php file. Use the wp-config-sample.php file from the new WordPress 2.5 folder (that you’ve just downloaded and extracted), and complete your database connection details and also change the table name prefix from wp_ to whatever you use if necessary. Upload this to your root folder after renaming it to wp-config.php. The new change from WordPress 2.3 to 2.5 won’t affect your site, so get this bit done first.
  4. Then, in your FTP, remove wp-admin ONLY. The front end site doesn’t need wp-admin to function, so delete that first.
  5. Once it’s finished, upload the new wp-admin directory for WordPress 2.5.
  6. Then you want to delete index.php in your root directory for your site. This is the main front end file so we need to prevent people from seeing a broken site.
  7. Then either right click in your FTP window and click on new file, and name it index.php, or if you want to be a little more prepared, upload a file called index.php and you can put inside it a message such as “We’re currently updating the website, be back soon”.
  8. Now rename wp-includes to be wp-includes-old, this is because it’s quicker.
  9. Delete all files in the root that start with wp- besides wp-config.php. Also delete xmlrpc.php.
  10. Upload the new wp-includes folder, and then upload all of the root files beginning with wp- and xmlrpc.php (don’t upload index.php just yet).
  11. Once you’re finished uploading, go to /wp-admin/upgrade.php and run the upgrade on your site.
  12. If everything is okay now upload index.php, overwriting your holding page.
  13. Remove wp-includes-old directory.

That should be all you need to do. It sounds and maybe looks a lot but it’s fairly straight forward. I always remove my files before uploading new ones for upgrading. It keeps things tidy and you know that all of your files have uploaded cleanly. By doing this in steps you’ll minimise the disruption on your site as the only point at which the site will not be available will be at step 6 and should literally be a few minutes, depending on your internet connection speed.

The upgrade to WordPress 2.5 has been pretty easy and straightforward from my point of view. I have a handful of plugins running on my site and none have broken. All of the popular plugins have already been upgraded, if necessary, to work on 2.5 anyway, and to be honest the main change for 2.5 is the admin area, so front end plugins don’t seem to have been affected.

If you are intending to upgrade any time soon then I recommend the following 2.5 only plugins:

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9 Responses

  1. Adam Dempsey says:

    I always use the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin, upgrades to latest version in about 3 clicks! Never had any problems over all the blogs I’ve used it on over the last year or so!

  2. Sarah says:

    Hey Adam, never tried that. I’m always a bit concerned over these one click upgrades. I’ve used the ones for some plugins on the new WP 2.5 version, some worked and some didn’t. Not sure if I’d trust a whole site to it. Plus what does it do about downtime etc? I use the steps above to minimise as much downtime as possible. In theory the longest downtime is spent uploading the wp-includes folder, so theoretically you could rename this, upload it and then turn the site off, rename the directory and then upload the last few files.

    Anyway, heh I’ve gone off thought as usual. What does it do to the site when you click upgrade?

  3. I use the Automatic Upgrade plug-in on a couple of blogs as well. It’s a very pleasant process, just a little button clicking and a couple of downloads (back-ups of your DB and entire site). A maintenance page is put up while the upgrade is in progress, and all you really need to have to hand is your FTP details.

    However, I don’t have it installed on client blogs as it would be a bad idea for them to do the upgrades, especially if something goes wrong.

    But ignoring the plug-in, this is a great walk-through of the upgrade process for those nervous about going manual 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    Hey Mike, cheers for the info. I usually set my clients up with Editor accounts and would assume the automatic upgrade can’t be seen by them (if it can it’s easily changed in the plugin file anyway).

    Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. knupnet says:

    Thanks for the tips Sarah. I just went through this process on my blogs as well. For those of you looking for nice instructions, these are great!

  6. Sarah says:

    Cheers Ryan 🙂

  7. XLOR says:

    I’ve got 2.5 version now
    Thinking about 2.5.1.
    Have you already upgraded your blog to 2.5.1???

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi Xlor, yes I’ve already upgraded to 2.5.1.

  9. XLOR says:

    Don’t you think that guys are updating wordpress too much often?
    I don’t know…is there any reason for updating? Maybe it is useful to wait for version 3?))