Upgrading a WordPress Blog

Photograph of Pat Geary.This tutorial was originally written while upgrading from WordPress Version 2.1.3 to Version 2.2.1. It is included in Launching a WordPress Blog EBook written by Tina Clarke and Pat Geary. You may download the EBook from Genealogy Web Creations. I followed the detailed tutorial on Upgrading WordPress. The steps may vary slightly depending on what version you are currently using.

This week I again took the step of upgrading the blogs to the latest version of WordPress 2.3. Having done this not that long ago, I was familiar with the steps but reviewed the EBook just in case.

Download and unzip the WordPress package from http://wordpress.org/download/. The WordPress package will be extracted into a folder called WordPress.

Backup Your Database & Files

Step 1 – Back up your database. All of your WordPress data, such as Users, Posts, Pages, Links, and Categories, are stored in your MySQL database. You can follow the detailed instruction for Backing Up Your Database or use the Database Backup Plugin.

Step 2 – Back up ALL of your files in your WordPress directory on your server and your .htaccess file. This process involves using an FTP program to download ALL your WordPress files from your host to your local computer. I used Filezilla and just dragged the folder from the server to my harddrive.

If you have made changes to any core WordPress files, or if you have customized Plugins or Themes, you will want to have a good backup of those files. It is extremely important to back up your files before beginning the upgrade. If for some reason you find it necessary to revert back to the ‘old’ version of WordPress you will need to upload these files.

Step 3 – Verify the backups. Verify that the backups you created are there and usable. This is the most important step in the upgrade process! The verification process involves making sure you can see the backup files on your local computer and that you can navigate into any sub-folders. If the files are in a zip file, make sure you can open the zip file. I save everything to a folder on my desktop with a name that is easily identifiable as my backup files.

Installing WordPress

Step 4 – Deactivate ALL your Plugins. In your Administration panel, under the Plugins choice, deactivate any Plugins. Because of the changes to WordPress, some Plugins may conflict with the upgrade process. NOTE: you should check for any new releases of the plugins you are using or the theme you are using. You might want to install these first.

Screenshot Deactivate Plugins.

NOTE: Before you proceed any further in the upgrade process, make sure you have completed the above steps.

Step 5 – Delete the old WordPress files with the exception of the following:

DO NOT DELETE these folders and files:

  • wp-config.php file;
  • wp-content folder;
  • wp-../images folder;
  • wp-includes/languages/ folder–if you are using a language file, do not delete this folder;Â
  • .htaccess file–if you have added custom rules to your .htaccess, do not delete it;
  • Custom Content and/or Plugins–if you have any ../images or other custom content or Plugins inside the wp-content folder, do NOT delete them. This would also include any custom ../images folder in your root directory.
  • Don’t delete favicon.ico or robots.txt if they exist.

Delete these Files and Folders:

  • wp-* (except for those above), readme.html, wp.php, xmlrpc.php, and license.txt; files; Typically files in your root or wordpress folder. Again, don’t delete the wp-config.php file.
  • wp-admin folder;
  • wp-includes folder; If using a language file remember don’t delete the wp-includes/languages/ folder
  • wp-content/cache folder; You only see this folder if you are upgrading FROM WordPress 2.0.
  • wp-content/plugins/widgets folder; You only see this folder if you previously installed the Sidebar Widgets plugin. The Sidebar Widgets code conflicts with the built-in widget ability.

How to Delete? To delete the files, sign on to the server with your ftp client. Some host providers also provide the ability to delete files and folders. 1and1 does not.

Step 6 – Upload the new files. Remember to change your File Type to ASCII.

Step 7 – Run the WordPress upgrade program.
Run the WordPress upgrade script by accessing wp-admin/upgrade.php in your favorite web browser and follow the instructions presented on your screen. If WordPress is installed in the root directory, point your browser to: http://example.com/wp-admin/upgrade.php If WordPress is installed in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, point your browser to: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/upgrade.php


Screenshot Upgrade Complete.

If everything went as it should the next screen you see will be your blog. Check to make sure everything is working.

Step 8 – Update Permalinks and .htaccess if necessary (Mine required no change)

Step 9 – Install updated Plugins and Themes.
Review the list of Plugins and Themes that work in Version 2.3. You will want to upload and install any new versions of your Plugins and Themes. Check with the author of those Plugins and Themes for the updated versions. NOTE: I have done this both ways, install updated themes and plugins first and afterwards. Both worked.

Step 10 – Reactivate Plugins.

That’s it. You are now ready to use your upgraded version. The new version number for WordPress will be indicated at the bottom of your Dashboard.

Screenshot WordPress Version Number.

Related Post: WordPress Automatic Update Plugin


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