6 tips for upgrading WordPress

wordpressbutton40x38 I upgraded this blog today to WordPress version 2.8.3, the latest version released earlier this week.

For the past few years, I’ve followed a 6-step process whenever I upgrade any of my WordPress blogs.  This procedure works well for me and results in upgrade success every time, typically in less than 20 minutes.

It would work for you, too, so I recorded those steps in this 10-minute audio blog at ipadio.

If you don’t want to listen to the audio, here are the 6 steps I mentioned:

  1. Back up your WordPress MySQL database.
  2. Disable all plugins (yes, every single one) and revert the theme to the WordPress default aka Kubrick.
  3. Choices:
    a) Either – From within your WordPress blog admin, run the WordPress 1-Click Upgrade.
    b) Or – If you’re a DreamHost customer (like I am), run DreamHost 1-Click and wait for email confirmation that the upgrade has been done. If you use any other hosting service’s procedure (eg, Fantastico), then use that if you’re confident with it.
  4. Once the upgrade is completed, log in to the blog admin and re-enable the two most important plugins: Akismet and Bad Behaviour, the first line of defence against the spammers and other bad guys.
  5. Re-enable your usual theme.
  6. Re-activate all other plugins one by one, testing after each one to be sure they work (here’s a list of the plugins I have running, all of which work with 2.8.3).

In the audio, I mention some specific plugins that I use as part of the 6 steps; here they are with a couple of others that I find handy as well:

  • WordPress Database Backup 2.2.2 by Austin Matzko. On-demand backup of your WordPress database.
  • WP-DBManager 2.50 by Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan. Manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database.
  • WP-phpMyAdmin 2.10.3 by Roland Rust, Christopher Hwang. Provides phpMyAdmin from the WordPress admin console.
  • Diagnosis 1.2.1 by Niklas Lindblad. Add a debugging page at Dashboard >> Diagnosis.

The audio commentary and this post were prompted partly from a conversation on Twitter earlier today about what you ought to do when upgrading WordPress. Not everyone agrees with things like having to disable plugins or reverting to the default theme, although such steps are what WordPress itself recommends.

What I say is this: disabling all plugins and reverting to the default Kubrik theme before you do an upgrade gives you an environment where you have the least risk of things going wrong, all else being equal. Hard to better that!

Still, you do whatever you think works for you. What I’ve described definitely works for me so I hope you find it helpful.

What else, or different, would you recommend when upgrading WordPress?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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