In this article we explain how to update your WordPress core, plugins and themes. However this process can cause many unforeseen errors and conflicts between new versions and your site. We strongly recommend you create a back up of your site before updating WordPress or anything else on your website.
Do I really need to update my site?
Yes! It is an extremely important part of securing your site, keeping your site up to date (bug fixes, new features) , keeping up with Google’s Algorithm updates, etc.
At WP Assist we regularly check if their are updates for our site and our clients sites to keep the sites secure. Often vulnerabilities are found in older versions, which are then exploited by hackers. Developers try to keep ahead of the hackers and release patches regularly to keep their products secure. Zero day vulnerabilites do happen (vulnerabilities which can be exploited straight after an update), but these are usually found quickly and patched. The problem, as shown by the recent RevSlider vulnerability, is that even if the developer fixes the problem quickly if people don’t update, then they are vulnerable.
How do I go about updating WordPress?
Before anything else make sure you have a full backup of you site and database.
Step 1: Check to see if you have any updates
You can see this in the top left hand corner of your Dashboard.
Step 2: Activate a maintenance mode/coming soon plugin
You are going to be doing considerable changes to your website. It therefore makes sense to put up a maintenance page. You can find a list of maintenance/coming soon plugins here.
Step 3: Disable Plugins
It is a good idea to temporarily disable your plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins, note which plugins are currently active, then deactivate all your plugins. Don’t disable your maintenance/coming soon plugins or your site will be visible to the public.
Step 4: Update WordPress Core, Plugins and Themes
First update the WordPress Core, once that is done update the plugins and finally update the themes.
Note: if you are using a premium theme you will probably have to update it within the theme options or download it from the authors website. Don’t neglect this, plugins are often bundled with themes (which is what caused the RevSlider vulnerability mentioned above) which need to be updated as well.
Step 5: Activate your plugins
Go back to your list of plugins that where active before you disable them
Step 6: Check your site is functioning properly
Most coming soon/maintenance plugins will allow you to view the site if you are logged in as admin. Check to see everything is functioning properly and that no styles are thrown out. If anything has been broken, fix it before moving on to the next step.
Step 7: Time to go online again!
Go into your maintenance plugin and disable the maintenance page.
Congratulations you now have a more secure, newly updated site!
Too technical? Afraid you might break something? Don’t have the time?
WP Assist by Vertopia offers comprehensive service plans where we not only keep your WordPress site updated, we will ensure your website is secure and backed up.. All at a nominal fee.
We would love to hear from you, whether this helped you or if you have anything you would like to add to our topic on updating WordPress via the comments section below.