Monday, October 26, 2009

How to Upgrade WordPress (.org) Blogs

ZPZorba Press is moving from the hand-coded website, to a WordPress blog, at The website is expanding, and we are keeping the best of the old site, and adding many new features to the new one. Why use WordPress? ... WordPress allows the publishing of "pages", rather than blog posts only. WP has has many useful plug-ins that make the site easier to manage, and add features for your blog readers. Best of all: there is an active community of very intelligent WordPress users, who will cheerfully answer your questions whenever you need technical help.

The inevitable happens when you least expect it: Soon after we added tons of content to the new website, a new version of WordPress arrived, version 2.85.

Do you let things be? or Do you upgrade to the latest, and risk losing your data?

First you backup everything (WordPress files and Database files) — and then you upgrade.

There are many ways to do this: here's mine.

1. Contact the creator of your WordPress Theme, and ask if it is compatible with the latest version of WordPress (at the time of this writing, that is WordPress 2.85).

2. Back up your WordPress files, using an an FTP program, such as FileZilla. Copy the files from your web host to your computer desktop.

It would be nice if that backed up everything: but it doesn't. Lots of important stuff is stored in your MySQL database.

3. Log in to your web hosting company's Control Panel. Access the database section. Find the database that is associated with your WordPress Blog. Now, using PHPadmin, download a zipped copy of your database files.

Details about that process, from better geeks than me, are here:

4. Confirm that everything has been backed up. Look inside your WordPress folder; and peek into the zipped file with a zip preview program, such as Zipeg.

5. Now go to your WordPress blog Dashboard. You will see that near the top is a convenient reminder to Upgrade.

I tried "Automatic Upgrade" but nothing happened.

6. Download the zipped version of the latest WordPress. Unzip it, and you get a folder that says "WordPress".

7. Open FileZilla, and copy this latest version to the same directory on your web server as your current version of WordPress.

When FileZilla asks "Should it overwrite ... "

I changed the settings to Yes, if newer; only during this queue.

Files begin to upload before your eyes.

8. Now, before the test to see if you've just ruined the entire blog you've worked on for three weeks, leave your computer, and then make a strong cup of tea.

9. When all the files have been uploaded via FileZilla, look at your blog's Dashboard.

Does it say: You are using version 2.85 ? (latest version number).

Good! ... Something happened.

10. Now check your blog, starting with the home page.

All the pages, posts, images in the right place? ... Nothing disappeared without a trace, like money invested on Wall Street?

Congratulations! ... You have successfully upgraded your blog.

Here's a suggestion for WordPress 3.0:
A successful upgrade should be celebrated with an animated screen containing fireworks and stirring music.

Thanks, WordPress, for making upgrading relatively simple -- and without a problem.

What is the key step in this process? ... Back up all your files and database data before you begin to upgrade.

Michael Pastore