Why Do You Need To Upgrade Your WordPress Website?
When you or your WordPress developer upgrades your website to the latest version of WordPress,
- Your website becomes secure & protected from the malicious contents or codes.
- Your WordPress website load faster.
- Newer versions of WordPress always bring you additional features and typically fix issues found in the previous versions.
- Upgrading to the latest version will help your website developer in maintaining the speed, security and compatibility of your website.
Here, we bring you 6 steps that you or your web developer should take while upgrading your WordPress site along with its themes and plugins.
Step #1: Backup Your Website
While upgrading your existing WordPress website, there may be some chances of things going wrong.
Even when an experienced WordPress developer upgrades your website, everything may not go as per the plan.
That is why having a backup is the right thing to do.
If you find anything wrong during or after the upgrade process, you will be able to simply roll back to the backed-up version and everything will be back to normal, while you try to find out the cause of failure.
It is easy to take a back of your WordPress site with tools like Backup Buddy, VaultPress, UpdraftPlus, BackUpWordPress and BackWPUp.
Step #2: Clear The Cache
You may be using cache feature to improve the response times of your WordPress website. Perhaps, you may have activated a cache plugin to do this job.
While upgrading your WordPress website, you will be required to de-activate all such plugins or features.
In other words, if your website designer is making use of any caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket or similar plugin, you may want to deactivate it while upgrading your website.
Also ensure that your current cache is cleaned up.
This should be done so that your cache gets correctly updated to reflect the changes that happen after the update is completed.
Step #3: Upgrading Your Themes & Plugins
Your website developer needs to pay as much attention to keeping your themes and plugins updated to as much as to keeping the core WordPress updated.
Why updating plugins are so important?
Outdated plugins can also lead to vulnerabilities on your WordPress site that can be used by hackers to cause damage to your site and reputation.
Note that themes and plugins need to be updated separately from WordPress core.
Upgrading your theme may result losing all custom changes unless your web developer have saved them in a child theme.
You can update your themes and plugins by going to Dashboard > Updates in the admin area of WordPress.
Step #4: Upgrade WordPress Version
Your can now proceed to updating WordPress safely.
It is really simple for you to update your WordPress site. All that you need to do is to use update/check for updates in Dashboard > Updates.
This will automatically update your WordPress site with the latest WordPress release. Note that you already have a backup in case something does go wrong!
Alternately, you may choose to upgrade WordPress manually by following below steps:
- You will first need to download the latest stable WordPress release.
- The official site will show the most recent stable version available.
- You can download the site in a zip format from there.
- Extract these files on a local folder and upload them to your server.
- Once the files have been uploaded, you can overwrite the core WordPress files in the destination effectively upgrading your website to the latest version.
Step #5: Re-activate Cache Plugin
This step is all about what the title says.
Turn caching back on, if applicable in your case. This step depends on what plugin you are using to cache your website.
Please follow the instructions given by your caching plugin provider for turned caching back on.
It is usually available on Dashboard > Settings. This will make sure that your caching plugin can now get hold of the updated pages on your website.
Step #6: Test Your Website
This is one of the most overlooked steps in the upgrade process of your WordPress, Theme and Plugins.
Go through all the pages ensuring that all the information is being made visible on the pages.
Make some changes to content and make sure it gets properly reflected in the resulting pages.
Make sure that navigation is not broken.
Browse through as many different types of pages as you can and ensure that the content is correctly laid out.
Try testing using different browsers and devices.
If you find any issue with any of the pages on your website, you may consider hiring a WordPress developer to fix it.