Upgrade WordPress

If you use WordPress (the self hosted .org kind) and you haven't upgraded recently, you should do so now. The newer versions let you upgrade automatically right from the dashboard, but going from older versions can seem a little more difficult. It's not, really. It doesn't have to be a whole Thing if you don't want it to be. The best part is, you almost certainly never have to do this again, since future upgrades are much more simple pushbutton affairs.

I've done about 30 bazillion of these so far, and here's how I do it.  Keep in mind the best documentation is still the official Codex article, this is just my workflow that I use when doing this.

Step 1: BACK UP EVERYTHING. Use mysqldump and 'tar zcvf wp-backup.tgz .' or whatever you prefer if you have command line access. Otherwise use your favorite plugins or other apps to back everything up. Make sure you get all files and the database and put them in a safe place. Don't forget this step, it's important.

Step 2: Delete the wp-admin and wp-includes directories.

Step 3: Replace wp-admin and wp-includes from a freshly downloaded and unzipped current version of WP.

Step 4: Delete all your other WP files except the following: wp-config.php, the wp-admin and wp-includes that you just replaced and wp-content. We'll deal with that one later.

Step 5: Replace all the files you just deleted in step 4 from the freshly unzipped WordPress folder.

Step 6: wp-content needs special handling since you don't want to delete your themes and plugins.  Replace only the plugins and themes that comes with WordPress with fresh copies. This usually boils down to the akismet and Hello Dolly plugins and the Default and Classic themes. There are also a couple of index files in the wp-content and themes and plugins.  Make sure to replace those too.

Step 6: Visit your wp-admin login area.  http://domain.com/wp-admin or similar, depending on where you have it installed. You'll be asked to upgrade your database by clicking on a button.  Go ahead and do that.

Step 7: You're done!

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1 Response to Upgrade WordPress

  1. Todd says:

    Thank you for this! It turns out I may have a need to do this for a few friends and clients in the near future. Simple instructions and perfect timing.

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