Imagine, it’s been some time since you’ve performed a WordPress update. You log in to your WordPress dashboard, see the reminders and think, “I’ll do it later”.
Before you know it months have passed and the time to update WordPress, themes, plugins, security updates and the rest has been filled with more important tasks. You’ve put WordPress update on your mornings to-do list and sit down to catch up.
Error messages appear, your website and blog dies. You can’t even log in to the WordPress dashboard.
Your business website is offline and you don’t know where to start let alone if it can be fixed.
Worse yet, you haven’t backed up before starting and can’t remember last time it was done at all.
That was the phone call I got this morning.
I’m a huge fan of WordPress, but it’s downside is it does need to be maintained. There are regular release updates and security fixes. Add that to theme and plugin updates announced in the WordPress dashboard, a simple task can turn into a long job if left to mount up.
The longer you leave it before you do your WordPress update, the more likely it is that you will have issues. Unfortunately, issues usually mean your website is offline.
How To Update WordPress Manually
It was clear from the error message that the crunch happened during a theme upgrade. After a calming chat, it was established that actually upgrading WordPress to the latest version hadn’t yet been performed.
Since we no longer had access to the WordPress dashboard, I decided to update manually. It was enough to get the site operational again and allow us to log in to the dashboard and complete the theme and plugin updates. Here are the steps I took for the manual WordPress update:
- Download the latest version of WordPress
- Log in to the file manager either through your server control panel or FTP
- Delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders and their contents (DO NOT delete wp-content as this contains your plugins and themes)
- Upload the latest version wp-admin and wp-includes folders and their contents
- Upload all the individual WordPress files (index.php, wp-login.php, wp-cron.php and the rest)
- Login to WordPress via the wp-admin method, you’ll see a message prompting to update the database – follow the instructions
Detailed instructions to update WordPress manually can be found at http://codex.wordpress.org/Upgrading_WordPress_Extended
How To Update WordPress
The most common time to encounter problems with themes and plugins is after a major WordPress release. If a site has not been updated in some time, I’ve known issues to prevent logging in via the WordPress dashboard. So I have access to the dashboard, this is the system I follow:
- Back up your database and all WordPress files (also see blog post Top 3 Free WordPress Back Up Plugins)
- Deactivate all plugins
- If you’re using a theme that does not release updates, I’d switch back to a standard WordPress theme (e.g. Twenty Eleven) while updating, so you still have access to your dashboard if anything goes wrong
- Update WordPress by clicking the update now button
- Once done, update your plugins before reactivating
- Reactivate plugins one-by-one and check your site loads. If anything does crunch you know what plugin is causing the issues and you can remove it
- Update all themes installed and activate your chosen theme
- Check your site
- If everything is working as expected, back up your database and all WordPress files again
Granted, it does take more time to update WordPress this way than going in all guns blazing clicking update buttons. But if anything does go wrong you know exactly where, which saves a lot of time when it comes to fixing things again!
Updating and maintaining your WordPress based site is a critical task. It helps to ensure an uninterrupted online presence and reduces the risk of your site getting hacked. Please take the time to log in regularly to back up your website and update WordPress including themes and plugins.
I do offer a WordPress update and maintenance service, call me on
07847 554418 (or email) to enquire. There are only so many hours in a day, so advanced booking is essential.
Over to you…
How often do you update WordPress? Do you wait until you have time or do you perform updates as they are announced?