Coming up with Update Steps that Work
When I updated my WordPress install from 3.3 to 3.4, I ran into issues. After the update, my sidebar and menus disappeared, and I could not get them to reappear, even when rolling back to an older WordPress version. So I decided to try updating my theme as well since the version I had was 18 months old. Here’s the sequence of steps I used to update WordPress, my parent theme (I have a child theme set up) and my plugins successfully.
When you first setup a WordPress site and select a theme, it often doesn’t take too long before you get the itch to put your own stamp on your site and start hacking the theme by modifying the files. Maybe you want a different color or you need to make changes to get a plugin to work, like WP-PageNavi. The problem is that if you ever want to later update your theme to a newer version you’ll wipe out the changes you made and have to reapply them. It’s not the end of the world, you can do it with comparison tools such as diffmerge (or winmerge) but it is non-trivial work.
This is where child themes come in. A child theme is a separate theme that points to the parent theme and inherits the parent theme’s functionality. All you need is a new directory with the child theme name, a modified style.css and you are ready to go. Many premium themes give you a starter download to make it even easier. You make modifications by copying files over to the child theme directory and modifying them there. WordPress knows to look for the code first in the child theme before the parent theme. There is lots of info on child themes, the codex has a good page and here is an tutorial from webdesignerdepot.
After my first not so successful attempt on upgrading WordPress. I came up with a specific sequence of steps that worked well for me.
This time the only problem I ran into is that the WordPress upgrade “lost” my menu. To fix this all I needed to do was navigate to Menus under Appearances and re-select my menu name. This was likely theme specific, but at least it was only a few second fix.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.