Wordpress IconWhen dealing with website upgrades, one of the main concerns is trying to make the upgrades go as smooth as possible, but the other concern is that upgrades need to be executed as fast as possible to minimize down time. When it comes to the web, it is a 24 hour cycle, and even 15 minutes of down time can cost web site owners money. Given this, I have come up with the following upgrade process for minor WordPress upgrades, that minimizes down time for web site users, and makes the process a little easier on me.

Verify Backup

Never perform any kind of upgrade without a backup! In the case of WordPress, make sure you have a current database backup and a backup of your wp-config.php file. Now on with the upgrade process…

Prepare Your WordPress Upgrade Files

1. The first thing I do is delete any unnecessary files from the new WordPress release. I do not use the classic theme at all, so I usually delete that theme.

  • wp-config-sample.php
  • license.txt
  • readme.html
  • wp-admin\install.php
  • wp-content\themes\classic
  • wp-content\plugins\hello.php

2. Rename the following folders:

  • wp-admin to wp-admin-new
  • wp-include to wp-include-new

Uploading Files

3. Upload the two folders that you renamed to your WordPress root directory. Note that this will not overwrite the current folders, since they are named differently. This results in not interrupting the up-time of your site until the next step.

4. Upload all the root files to your site, overwriting the current files already there. Sometimes, it is best to delete the root files first instead of overwriting them, so choose whatever method you prefer. Note that you should keep the wp-config.php file; do not delete this file ever or it will cause problems.

5. Upload the contents of the wp-content folder, meaning you now have to upload the contents of the wp-content/themes and wp-content/plug-ins directories.

Finish Upgrade

6. Most WordPress upgrades want you to confirm the upgrade.php file. This usually runs database changes and such, but for minor builds, it is a good way of confirming the upgrade process worked.

  • Run domain_name/wp-admin/upgrade.php

7. Lastly if all went well, you just need to delete upgrade.php and you are done!

Some Notes

Make sure you are familiar with the upgrade process for WordPress and note that some major upgrades may require changes to theme files and such. You may need to modify this upgrade process for a particular WordPress release.