WordPress constantly roll out new version of their CMS software from time to time and even help you do the update automatically. This they do in order to increase the functionality of the platform for effective content delivery. If you want to get the best experience and maximum web security, you’ll agree with me that it is important to update your WordPress website.

NOTE: You have to disable WordPress automatic update set by default from 3.7 version upward before you can have maximum control of how updates are done on your website.

However, WordPress have made it very easy to do update at the convenience of a click right from the admin dashboard. You should have noticed a link at the top corner of dashboard content page notifying you of the release of new version and the need to update almost immediately.WordPress Update link

Yes, it’s good to go ahead and follow the update process, but you need to quickly sit back and take stock of the likely things that could go wrong on your website, e.g.

– Most installed plugins may stop working properly.
– Your theme may not be fully compatible with the new version.
– Plugin may have compatibility issues.
– Site may stop working because of impending issues.

These are some of the reasons why WordPress update has to be done properly. The question now is how do we go about this? Don’t worry, I’m here to lead you on.

7 important steps to follow when updating your website

There are seven steps arranged below sequentially you need to follow anytime you want to update WordPress and even plugins and themes.

1. Backup your site: Something unforeseen may happen. Files may fail to articulate hence rendering the site distorted and malfunction. If you’d backed up the site, all you need to do is to import your former files and your site will be up and running at least the way it was before the update. Then, you can study and restart the update process all over again. So, please always back-up your site before embarking on update.

2. Turn-off caching plugins: If you have caching plugins like W3 Total Cache or Super Cache or Quick Cache installed on your website, get it de-activated. This ensures that it does not interfere with the update process by caching maintenance pages.

3. Ensure you update all your plugins: Plugin developers always get a pre-notice of WordPress update. Therefore, they quickly make their plugins compatible with the current version and provide an update via admin dashboard. So, make sure you update your installed plugins before updating WordPress to avoid compatibility issues.

Sometimes, it may take awhile before some plugin developers provide an update. It’s better to wait a little for the update. That’s why it might be a good idea to disable automatic update and delay it till when most of the plugins installed would have been updated.

4. Update your theme also: Just like plugins, theme needs to be updated. WordPress always provide update for the themes installed from their repository. In the same vein, premium themes bought from other sources provide update via the admin dashboard. You’ll see this at the bottom of the update link page.

NOTE: Updating your theme can make you lost any customization that is done on the active theme. So, it is advisable to always install a child-theme of the parent theme and carry out every customization from there even when the theme comes with an attached option for CSS customization. It won’t be able to hold php alterations which might be necessary on other files.

5. Update WordPress: Now, you can go ahead and update WordPress. Click on the update link and WordPress will do the rest automatically. This sometimes may take awhile. Don’t panic, it’s normal. But don’t try to open any page while the update is on. All you will get is a maintenance page.WordPress Update PageWhen the update is over, you might be logged out automatically. This does happen to almost every site. Log in again and you’ll be redirected to a welcome page highlighting the benefits or packages that came with the new update and also giving credit to the developers of the upgrade since its an open source software.

6. Re-activate caching plugin: Go back and re-activate caching plugin to start caching your web pages. Remember to purge the old cache.

7. Check your website like a visitor: Log out from your site, clear the cache on your web browser and access your website.

Navigate through posts and pages. Check the way they render in terms of speed and design structures in relation to the former (before the update). Ensure you fix anything you find strange. Don’t procrastinate about it.

We offer to help you through all this and much more when you request our website maintenance services.

Conclusion: It is important to update your website CMS constantly to enjoy continuous protection against malware, dynamic functionality and maximum control. What is your take on this?

image credit: wpround

Francis 'Toke
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