How to Update Your WordPress Website

Dec 16, 2015 | Troubleshooting, WordPress Wednesday

Full Video Transcript

Hey y’all! Welcome to another WordPress Wednesday! My name is Kori Ashton here at WebTegrity in San Antonio, Texas. This is a show every single week that I get to “nerd out” with you on all things WordPress.

So today I know that this topic is something that I talk about quite often and if you’re doing a Google search on watching this video it’s probably because you’ve questioned yourself about this very often. And you should be! So the question is, when should I update WordPress? A more important question is, how should I update my WordPress website?

So, I talk about this. I’ve done other tutorials; Step-by step on exactly how to do this. Some people have asked, “Should I update my plug-ins first then update my cores?” “Should I ever update my theme?” “How do I deal with a child theme?” There are so many questions when it comes to the frustrating moment of, what do I do when I have a little icon on my desktop (or on my dashboard-rather) that says, “I have an update due?”

All right you guys. This is it. I’m going to walk you just briefly through what it looks like to update. I’m getting ready to update to 4.4. All right. This is a live, working website that I’m getting ready to do this on. When should I update? So there are questions specifically about, when should I update my core? When should I update a plug-in? To that question I want to say, you always want to be actively updating. Does that mean that you should update the exact moment- the exact day that and update is released? Not necessarily. One of my reasoning’s behind that is, sometimes there are little glitches that haven’t been caught yet. Once they roll out an update and they blasted out and let’s say ten thousand people update their plug-in or update their theme. Unfortunately, the bug is finally caught at that point and then they quickly release another update and you’re going to have to go update again.

So, what I want you to do is look at the reasoning behind the update. If you get an opportunity go to the developers website that talks about what sort of fixes they have made in this particular update. This is specifically talking about a theme specifically talking about a plug-in. You’ll want to just go take a look and see if it was in fact a security update. That there’s something that happened maybe there’s some sort of a robot out there that is specifically targeting a certain plug-in and they have found the breach and they have locked it down and they have released a secure update that requires that you very quickly go update your plug-in. If that is the scenario, I suggest you immediately update your plug-in. All right?

You obviously want to be sure that you have a backup of your entire website in place. You can do that through your hosting company. You can also do that through a plug-in. I will put a link right here, actually, to another video that I’ve done on how to backup your WordPress website. You always want to be sure that you have
a backup in place. That backup needs to be the moment before you click “update.”

So you want to be sure that you have a very recent backup. You don’t want it to be a backup from thirty days ago because you might have made some changes that you’ve forgotten about. So be sure that you have a recent backup. Be sure that you understand how to implement that backup. If you were to click “update” right now and all of a sudden things break- you get the “white screen of death.” What can you do to very quickly set your website back so that nobody sees that break happen? You’ll want to connect with your hosting company if you’re relying on them to make those backups. You’ll want to see if they have something like a “one-click restore” option or if they’re going to charge you to roll your website back and reset it back to a prior version. Please be sure that you understand that (exactly what I’m saying right now,) you have a very tangible, easy, step-by-step plan in place to do that (if and when) the occasion arises. Okay? If you have a backup in place, if you know how to do a restore then go ahead and do your updates. And again, I’ve already done a video that kind of walks you through how I suggest you do your updates. I’ll put that link in the description box below for you.

This particular update that I’m dealing with right now is updating my WordPress core. As you all know; themes require updates, plug-ins require updates, and your core requires updates (which is WordPress, itself.) Now when WordPress releases an update, I very, very rarely go the first day and click, “update.” I typically wait to see what the response is around the WordPress world. We’re seeing a couple of glitches right now on 4.4. We’re seeing a couple of alerts with people using SSL’s on their website. (Secure Server Layers.) Security tied into their website- we’re seeing some sort of issues of images breaking, some sort of issues of other things kind of conflicting. So, this is one of the reasons why I hesitate. It’s been a few days now. It’s actually been almost over week and they’ve already kind of done some things that they’re going to be rolling out soon to kind of upgrade and to speak to some of those issues- some of those glitches that we’re seeing. But, because we haven’t seen massive issues- we haven’t seen a whole lot of people complaining about major things. Then now I’m ready. I would’ve updated it immediately had this been a security breach.

Really great hosting companies will actually push your update through automatically bypassing you if it is in fact a security breach. So, I want you to be sure. You see my alert here because I host with WP Engine. It’s saying, “Before updating please back up your database and files.” There are two different things you have to backup. WP Engine allows me to do that with one click. I know for a fact that I have an update in place. I’ve already done that process. If you do not have a hosting company that automatically does that for you, there is a link to WordPress Codex that will help you better understand how to do updates. And of course like I mentioned earlier, I’ve got another video in the description box below that will walk you through how to use a free plug-in to have backups in place. Once you know you have that, you can go ahead and click update now. Again, WP engine gives me a very quick heads up. Hey are you sure you want to do this? Do you have a backup or restore point in place? Yes I do. I’m going to go ahead and click refresh. (I’m sorry) update.

So while that’s processing through, there are a few things you need to do immediately following you clicking that button. My browser is restoring right now so now that that’s done it shows you right away that WordPress updated successfully. Fantastic! Now, as I go into… well if you wanted to… You could stay here on the dashboard and kind of see whats new in 4.4. One of the most obvious things that’s going to be here now is twenty-sixteen (the latest theme coming out for 2016.) It talks you through all the different new features of twenty-sixteen. It also talks about the changes that came out here in “Clifford,” which is the 4.4. You can watch this video and better understand the different things that were done with
4.4 upgrade.

The other thing you want to do is immediately go to the front side of your website. You want to go through this whole thing and make sure that everything is still working. You want to do a “hard refresh”- clearing your cache completely and making sure that you’re seeing your website in the most recent version. You’ll want to check it on a device and make sure that everything on your cell phone reads correctly. You’ll want to go look at it on a different browser. Make sure again everything kind of looks correctly. If you’re using major plug-ins; for instance, on our “classes” page we are using a major plug-in to highlight our classes. So I want to make sure that plug-in is still working and nothing looks “wonky” or broken. So you’ll want to look at all that. You’ll want to make sure of course that your major point of contact, your CTA (call to action) is still in place-whether that’s a phone number or whether that’s an email form. You’ll want to be sure that all that is functioning properly still. So those are just a couple of things that you want to do as soon as you do an update. So, when should you update? (If it’s a security breech) Immediately.

How should you update? You always want to have a backup in place first then walk through the step-by-step instructions that I’ll put in another video that I’ve done for you. You know what? I’m going to put it right here for you. Click on this – go see how to step-by-step.

I hope you’re having a great WordPress Wednesday. Be sure to subscribe to our channel. Send us some love over on Facebook or send us a tweet and we’ll try to do a video tutorial for you on the next WordPress Wednesday. Y’all have a great one! Bye y’all!