Updating WordPress

One of the benefits of using WordPress is that it's Open Source software, which means the code that makes it run is "visible" and accessible to anyone.  In this respect, it provides wonderful customisation / programming possibilities for users and developers.  However, one downside to open source is that anyone can see the 'source code' which means anyone with malicious intent can search out and exploit code vulnerabilities, which could mean your website gets hacked.  A hacked website is not only bad for business, it can be very time consuming and costly to repair.

Therefore, it's essential to keep WordPress and any installed apps (plugins) and themes up to date with the latest software and bug fix releases when they become available - so that you can avoid known security/ bug issues.

WordPress is made up of the "core" code - which is generally updated around 2 - 3 times per year, typically to introduce new features, bug fixes and operational or security improvements.  Most WordPress installations also make use of "themes", "apps" or "plugins" to provide additional functionality - and these must also be kept up to date to ensure maximum protection.

Purple Dog offers an affordable service called Club Purple to help keep your site fully up to date, secure and free of issues.  For more information please see the Club Purple page or open a support ticket.

Manually Update WordPress
If you would like to update WordPress and your installed plugins / themes yourself - please ensure you follow these instructions:

WARNING: Please understand that the upgrade process may affect a large number of files and folders included in the WordPress installation. This may include the core files used to run WordPress and any data held in the WordPress database. If you have any modifications or customisations in those files, these changes might very well be lost.  If you are in any doubt whatsoever, we advise you not to undertake this job yourself and to opt for our managed backup service instead.  Note that should you proceed and something goes wrong, we may not be able to restore your site for you.

IMPORTANT: Always ensure you have adequate backups before proceeding.

  1. Download / backup your entire site files, plugins and images
  2. Ensure you have a working backup copy of your MySql database
  3. Download the latest version of WordPress from: http://wordpress.org/download/
  4. Put your site into maintenance mode
  5. Using an FTP client, upload the new version to over-write the existing files
  6. Follow all upgrade / update instructions that may be displayed, including upgrading the database
  7. Check to see if any plugins or themes have updates available.  If so, download and install these, following the same process as described above.
  8. Once all updates are complete, browse your site to check it is free from errors. 
  9. Disable maintenance mode.
  10. Perform further site checks (including e.g. on mobile) to ensure it is free from errors.  If necessary, fix the errors or revert to your backups and try again.
* On some installations it may be possible to perform steps 3 - 8 from within the WP admin area.

For more information, you can consult the following articles:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Updating_WordPress
http://www.purpledogdesign.com/articles/the-importance-of-software-updates/

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