Updating your WordPress can be a crucial task. Often, beginners are afraid to update WordPress but it is a very seamless process. However, updating your WordPress from time to time is crucial in terms of performance and security of your site. If you want to update your WordPress site but don’t know where to start, Don’t worry. I’m here for you with a detailed guide. In this article, I’m going to explain to you different approaches you can use to update your WordPress website.

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Let’s get started with the WordPress upgrade today!

Why do you need to update WordPress?

‘Why would I update my WordPress site, it’s working just fine!’ Well, your site might be working just fine for now but with time there can be a lot of issues. An update is released with bug fixes, performance enhancements, new features, and security patches. That’s why you need to update your WordPress site regularly. Read the following listed things to understand why updating your site really matters-

  1. New features and functionalities

With every update, there are some new features or functionalities added. It could be something with the user interface, or making existing features better, or a completely new stuff. However, these updates are released with the objective of bringing a lot of improvements. They might not make a big difference to you as a website owner but can improve your visitors’ experience.

  1. Performance enhancement

Who wants a slow site? I hope you don’t. With every release of a new update, there are some optimizations included, geared at making your website faster. You can experience a smoother and faster experience after updating your website.

  1. Security

With the advancement in technology, attackers also advance their security attacks. Therefore, to combat against advanced security attacks you need to have advanced security. With every update, bug fixes and security patches are offered, effectively making it harder for the attacker to find a vulnerability in your WordPress site.

  1. Compatibility with other updated theme and plugins

Technology is evolving at a fast pace. Fortunately, WordPress is helping us keep up-to-date with the advancing technology. There are some modern themes or plugins that are only compatible with the latest WordPress versions. Therefore, update your WordPress to prevent compatibility issues.

Before you update WordPress

Before you start updating WordPress, there are some things you need to take care of. Updating your WordPress might hardly take 1-5 minutes but you need to take some precautions to avoid any serious issues. Let’s get the straight-

Backup your WordPress site

Back up might seem like a time-consuming task but it ensures that your content is stored somewhere safe. Therefore, it won’t be affected by updates or in case something goes wrong while updating. If anything goes wrong, you can always restore the old version of your site from the backup. To backup your WordPress site, you have a lot of WordPress backup plugins to choose from. All you need to do is install a plugin and make a back up of your site. This is a crucial step that will allow you to restore WordPress backup. A complete backup includes following-

  • Database
  • Your media files
  • Your plugins and themes
  • Core WordPress files

A quick recommendation: go for Jetpack plugin. Even if you go with any other plugin, let’s understand the steps by taking Jetpack as an instance.

  • After installing the plugin, goto the plugin’s section in WP-admin, sign up to the service and you’ll have the Jetpack dashboard on the screen.
  • Add your site to the plugin
  • Click on Backup button
  • Check all your backup and download it to your computer or any other off-site storage available.

Now that you have made your backup and stored it somewhere safe, let’s move on to the next step.

Turn caching off

If you are using any caching plugins or services, consider turning them off while updating. Caching can modify the way your website works on the backend and can have an impact on your website’s performance. Therefore, ensure that the caching is turned off.

Deactivate all of your plugins

Sometimes, it is possible that your updated WordPress site is not compatible with certain plugins activated on your site. It can further result in an inaccessible website. Therefore deactivate there to forestall the issue from happening after updating your WordPress site.

How to Update WordPress?

One Click Update Via Dashboard

Let’s get to the actual work now. Here are 4 different methods we can use to update a WordPress site. Let’s start-

Method 1: One-Click WordPress update via Dashboard

This is by far the easiest method to update your core WordPress. All You need to do is click a few times and voila! To update, follow these instructions-

  1. Login to your WordPress dashboard and check if there is any core update notification at the top of the page.
  2. Click the Please Update Now option to initiate the update process. If this is a minor update, you will be redirected to a success message along with the plugin and theme update option.
  3. In case it is a major update, it will redirect you to a WordPress welcome page with a detailed description of what has been upgraded in the new version.
  4. Now, proceed to update all your plugins and themes to ensure they are compatible with the latest version of your site.

That’s all it takes to update your core WordPress site using this method.

Method 2: Manual Update WordPress via FTP

Go for this method when you can’t update your core WordPress from your dashboard for any reason. This method is slightly complicated and you need to follow the instructions carefully. You can either use FTP client or the File manager tool on your web hosting provider‘s panel. Start with getting access to your WordPress root directory. Follow the given instructions-

  1. Download the .zip files of the latest version and unzip the files on your computer using WinZip or WinRar.
  2. Go to the extracted folder and delete the wp-config-sample.php file and wp-content folder to avoid losing data while updating.
  3. Now, connect your WordPress site to FileZilla.
  4. Login to the FTP client and locate the existing web host wp-admin and wp-include directories on the right panel and then right-click to delete them.
  5. Select the new wp-includes and wp-admin folder on the left panel and right-click to upload them.
  6. Upload the rest of the unzipped file from your computer to the web host directory in order to overwrite the old files by the new ones on the server.
  7. After the completion, a confirmation screen will pop-out. Put a check on the Always use this action and Apply to current queue only columns.

After all the files are updated, go to yourwebsite,com/wp-admin/upgrade.php/ to review if everything is updated and working fine. It is important that you don’t rush and do it carefully to avoid breaking your site!

Method 3: Manual Update WordPress via WP-CLI

If you have SSH and want to update your site manually and securely through SSH, then go for this method. If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you SSH access to your WordPress root directory in the public_html folder. Let’s get started-

  • Use the following cd command on PuTTy to switch to your WordPress root directory-
  • cd public_html
  • Now check if any major update release is available using this command-
wp core check-update
  • In case there’s an update, this is how it will look-
+———+————-+—————————————————————+

| version | update_type | package_url

+———+————-+—————————————————————+

| #.#.# | minor | https://downloads.wordpress.org/release/wordpress-#.#.#.zip |

  • Now, start the update by running this command-
wp core update
  • Wait for the program to complete and your core WordPress will be updated automatically.

After the completion of the program, thoroughly check if everything is running fine by running the commands again.

Method 4: Automatic Updates WordPress:

Usually, WordPress immediately updates its sites when there are minor releases. However, you can also set major releases to be automatically updated as well. It’s the easiest method to update your core WordPress. There are plugins like Easy Update Manager, that can update your core WordPress automatically. Or you can also do it by updating your wp-config.php file. Follow the given steps-

  • Login to your web hosting admin area and go to file manager.
  • After accessing your public_html folder, locate and select wp-config.php file.
  • Click on the Edit option and add this line-
define('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true);
  • Don’t forget to save changes by clicking the Save option.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully automated your WordPress updates. Now that you’ve successfully updated your website. It’s time for after-update tasks. You need to make sure that everything is doing fine and your WordPress site is ready to be resumed.Update your themes and plugins just like WordPress core update, its plugins and themes also need regular updates for the same reasons. So update your themes and plugins. Follow the given steps to update your plugins-

  • Go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins
  • You will see a list of all your plugins. Outdated plugins will come with a message notifying you about the available update.
  • Click on ‘Update Now’ for each outdated plugin.

To update your themes, do the following-

  • Go to your WordPress admin area and click on Appearance> Themes
  • You will see a list of all your Themes. Outdated plugins will come with a message notifying you about the available update.
  • Click on ‘Update Available’ and then on ‘Update Now’.

Now sit back and relax. It will notify you once the updates are complete.Turn the caching and plugins/themes back on. Since you disabled the caching and plugins/themes before the update, it’s time to reactivate them.

Review settings:
Now that your site and plugins/themes you are using are updated, it’s time to browse around and check if everything is in order. Go through your web pages and posts and see if they are displaying and functioning fine. You don’t have to check every detail, just have a general look.

Backup your site again: If everything is working fine, you might want to backup your site again. This step is crucial as it ensures that the up-to-date version of your website is stored somewhere safe. After major changes, it is important to keep the structure of your website under control and always have the most recent version of your site backed up.

Conclusion: As you can see, there are more than one ways to update your WordPress site. Depending upon the nature of your WordPress site and update, you can use any of the given methods. This article does not only explain the methods to update your core WordPress, but also prepares you for it. We strongly recommend you to follow the before and after update procedure for a smooth upgrade experience. This might look like a crucial and time-consuming task but the benefits are significant. I hope this article was helpful to you. Please comment your thoughts, enquiries, and experience in the following comment section!