WordPress upgrade was a Snooze-fest

Before I migrate this blog to a new theme, I first needed to upgrade my wordpress version from 2.8 to 3.0.4. Tonight I took the plunge. As a former Web IT manager I’ve been burned by software upgrades. A firewall upgrade once took out a major site I managed for 3 days. In another incident, we had to roll back an upgrade to some software because it crashed our web server every 20 minutes. So yeah I have some scars.

However, this upgrade was practically a non event. No wiping out of all my posts (which I have seen before), my ummm customized (hacked) theme was not affected one bit. So all the precautions I took were not needed. However doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the winds and not backup your files and database. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Backup your database: All the content in your wordpress site, your posts, your categories, the comments .. did I say ALL your content? .. is in a MySQL database. You want to back that up. Usually that means you need to export your data to a local file on your computer. My hosting provider provides phpMyAdmin which makes that easy. The file that is created is a mixture of SQL commands and data that will recreate your database if needed. Just to be sure I searched in the SQL file the export created for a few keywords I know that were in my posts. When I found them I moved on to the next step. Need help with this? Check out the WordPress Codex on Backups.
  2. Backup your files: The configuration of wordpress is governed by a few key files (wp-config.php being the most important). The look and feel is controlled by the theme you are using. Since I had modified my theme, here is the files I backed up from my server to my computer using Filezilla. Overkill? Maybe, but considering I once had a wordpress upgrade wipe out my original configuration, I wanted to be safe.
  3. What I backed up:

    • All of the root level files such as wp-config.php
    • Theme files (under wp-content/themes
    • The uploads directory – this is where all your media files such as images live
  4. Deactivate all plugins: Your plugins may not all work with the latest version of wordpress. Deactivate them first before upgrading.
  5. The moment of truth: I used simple scripts (provided by my hosting provider bluehost) to upgrade wordpress, instead of upgrading from within the dashboard. I liked the fact that simple scripts made a backup before doing it’s upgrade.
  6. Reactivate plugins: Since everything looked good I reactivated my plugins. With several I clicked on the “automatic upgrade” option to update them to the latest version. The All-in-One SEO plugin prompted me to re-enable it but otherwise had all my original settings.

And that was it! I haven’t checked everything … but it seems to have gone very smoothly.

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About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a traffic and conversion expert specializing in SEO, Copywriting and Facebook Ad Campaigns. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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