If you are looking for a way to update WordPress safely but don’t know how to do that, then you are in the right place.
Thinking about updating your WordPress but not sure or have a fear that you might break your website. Don’t worry, we will guide you on how you can update your WordPress correctly and safely.
Well, your site might be working fine for now. But it is important to update the WordPress version to its latest for the best performance and security of your website.
Keeping your WordPress version updated will make your website secure, run faster, compatible with modern tools and technology, and availability of new features and functionalities.
Why should I update my WordPress website?
We have listed 4 main reasons above why one should update their WordPress. Let’s discuss why one should update WordPress safely in detail.
Security: Research shows that most WordPress websites get hacked because of outdated WordPress core files, plugins, and themes. However, with every new WordPress update, numerous bugs get fixed making it harder for anyone to hack into the site.
Speed: Each new update comes with a new optimization feature that makes your website run faster. Find out some of the methods to optimize your WordPress website speed.
Compatibility with modern tools and technology: The technology is always evolving, so does WordPress. The new version of WordPress always keeps up with new tools and technology that help your website optimize, and stay secure.
New features and functionalities: Every new version of WordPress comes with some new features and updates in the functionalities. Gutenberg (block editor) was one of the major features released in WordPress 5.0. Since then, there have been several features and functionalities updates.
How to update WordPress safely?
Updating your WordPress site is easy. But before updating make sure to complete the 3 important tasks mentioned below.
1. Back up your overall website.
First thing first, you need to take a complete backup of your website before you update the WordPress core. There are some of the best and cheap WordPress hosting server that takes backup automatically based on your purchase plan. Go ahead and find out if you already have this feature with your hosting plans or not.
There is also some free and paid version of automated WordPress back up plugins that you can use. Some of them are Updraft Plus, BackupBuddy. These plugins will take back up automatically. But we would like to suggest that you make sure to take one back up before upgrading.
A complete WordPress back up includes:
- Your WordPress core files, themes, and plugins.
- Your website database.
- All of the media files and uploads.
This is the first and important step because this will allow you to restore your website if something goes wrong.
You can download the back up to your computer or upload it somewhere in the off storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive.
2. Update the WordPress core files
There are a couple of ways to update your WordPress core files to the latest version. The first is with the help of the built-in automatic method from the backend. And the second is manual with an FTP client (File Transfer Protocol). We will be discussing them in the following section.
2.1. Built-in automatic method to update WordPress
Updating WordPress automatically from your dashboard is one of the easiest methods and is recommended to all. This method allows you to update without having to take the trouble of using technical methods to upgrade.
First, log in to your website’s dashboard as an administrator and go to the Dashboard » Updates page. When you are on the Updates page you’ll see a WordPress version notification on the page as shown below.
Click on the Update Now button which will download the latest version of WordPress and install it for you.
You’ll see an upgrading process on your screen. When the update is completed, it will be redirected to the WordPress About Page that shows what’s new with the latest version.
That’s all. You have successfully upgraded your website’s WordPress version to the latest. Wasn’t that easy !!
2.2. Update WordPress manually using FTP client
This is another method which requires FTP client to update WordPress safely.
First, you will need to download the latest version of WordPress from its download page. Go to the download page and click on the Download button. While writing this article the WordPress version is 5.5.1.
After you have clicked the button, the latest version of WordPress will be downloaded into your computer as a zip file. Inside the zip file, you will see a WordPress folder.
Extract the file which has all the folder and files that are necessary for the update.
Now open your FTP client-server and upload your website’s root directory with the new version of WordPress that you extracted earlier. Make sure you do not upload the wp-content folder because if you upload the wp-content folder, it will replace your themes and plugins.
Select all the files, except the wp-content folder, then right click to upload the selected. A pop-up will appear asking to overwrite the files and folder. Select the radio button for Overwrite and checkbox for Always use this action. This will overwrite your WordPress core files and folders. All the WordPress files on your website are replaced by the newer versions of the files.
Once the upload is finished, go to the admin area of your WordPress site. This step is necessary as sometimes a newer version of WordPress may also ask to update your WordPress database.
Click on the Update WordPress Database button. And the system will update the database to work with the latest version WordPress. After the update, it will be redirected to the admin dashboard.
That’s it, you have successfully updated WordPress manually.
3. Things to do after the update
Now that you know how to update WordPress safely, you need to make sure that everything is working properly. Make sure to check every front-end instance of your website thoroughly and also review the settings in the WordPress admin.
If you come across any error, then do not worry. Find out what was the issue. Try to ask an expert and if nothing helps, you can restore your back up.
We hope this article has helped you how to update WordPress safely to the latest version. Let us know in the comment below, which method did you find easy and interesting.
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