I recently got this frantic email about updating WordPress.
I just updated my website to the latest version of WordPress and my entire site is GONE. My website is a blank white page and I can’t access the admin. Help!
A lot of people are scared to update their WordPress site because they’ve heard horror stories like this. While things can occasionally go wrong during an update, it’s not the norm.
3 Reasons to Update WordPress
- Increased Security: 83% of hacked WordPress blogs are not up-to-date [source]. Updates to the WordPress core, plugins, and themes help prevent hackers from breaking into your website and inserting malicious code. This code can harm your site and cause it to be blocked by search engines.
- Fix Bugs: Newer versions of the WordPress core, plugins and themes often include adjustments to fix things that weren’t working properly. If something is annoying the crap out of you because it’s not working right, an update will most likely fix it.
- New Features & Functionality: Updates often add new features and functionality to make your site run better and faster. For example, a recent WordPress update made it possible to embed videos, tweets and audio by simply copy/pasting in a URL.
How to Avoid Disaster When Updating WordPress
1. Back Up Your Website
Backups ensure you have something to fall back on in case something goes wrong. Instead of sending me a frantic email, you’ll be able to restore your website from the backup.
If you don’t already have an automatic backup system in place, set one up now. I highly recommend BackupBuddy because you can set it up to run automatically and send your backups to remote locations like Dropbox, Amazon S3 and even your email address.
2. Update Plugins & Themes
Most WordPress update problems stem from plugin compatibility issues, not from WordPress itself. Good developers usually have a plugin update ready whenever a new version of WordPress is released.
Review the plugins and themes you have installed and delete any you aren’t using. Then update your plugins and themes one at a time before updating WordPress.
3. Update WordPress
Now it’s time to update WordPress itself. Click the update button and let WordPress do its thing.
4. Check Your Website
Look over your website pages and blog posts to make sure everything looks and functions as it should. If something mysteriously broke in the upgrade, you can restore your site from the backup you made.