Importance of updating WordPress

If you are running WordPress then the most important thing that you can do is to keep WordPress up to date. Many people complain that their WordPress installation is affected by some malicious script and in most cases, the culprit is the old WordPress installation.

But it’s not always the safest decision to update WordPress right away without taking any precaution measures.

There is a small list of things we recommend doing before hitting the “Update Now” WordPress button.

Step 1: Check Requirements

Before getting started, it is best to check the current minimum requirements page first to make sure that your web host has the required versions of PHP and MySQL.

Current requirements to run WordPress on a web host are:

  • PHP 5.2.4 or greater
  • MySQL 5.0 or greater
  • The mod_rewrite Apache module

Step 2: Check & Update Themes & Plugins

Themes: Double check with your theme’s developer and make sure that your theme is compatible with new version of WordPress. Some themes create problems after updating to latest version and therefore it is essential to check first, before updating. Developers may take time to release an updated theme, in which case you will need to wait for that to happen. First update the theme and then proceed to the next step.

If you are using a WordPress default theme Twenty Eleven or Twenty Twelve theme, then your theme will also be updated when you update WordPress.  Make sure to backup your theme if you have made any customizations or else those changes will be lost.

Plugins: WordPress will update Akismet and Hello Dolly to the new version. In most cases, you don’t need to worry much about other plugins. Plugin authors will release updates to their plugins whenever they feel the need to.

Step 3: Backup WordPress

Make sure to take a backup of all your WordPress files by using a FTP client, or directly from cPanel. Next, go to WordPress Dashboard > Tools > Export. Select “All content” and hit the “Download Export File” button.

Now that files, pages and posts are backed up, it is time to backup your WordPress database. To do this, use WP-DBManager plugin. Use this plugin and backup your database. This plugin also can also help to optimize database, repair database, backup and restore database, drop/empty tables and run selected queries.

Updating WordPress

Once you complete all these steps, it’s time to proceed forward. The easiest way to update WordPress is by using the Automatic Update which works great for most people. There’s also a manual way to update WordPress, but this topic is out of the scope of this article.

To launch the automatic update, click on the link in the new version banner at the top or go to Dashboard > Upgrade menu. Click on the “Update Automatically” button and the update process should start.

Once the update is complete, you will be redirected to the Welcome screen. Congratulations! You have successfully updated your WordPress installation to the latest version!

Welcome to an all new version of WordPress.