Because WordPress is such a popular content management system for websites and blogs, many hackers are working around the clock to try to find vulnerabilities in it. When new vulnerabilities are found by the good guys, an update patch is created to allow webmasters to update their WordPress sites. However, you if don’t get these updates, then you can be left wide open for people to take advantage of known security holes and bring down your WordPress site. For most webmasters, this means the loss of a lot of time and money. To protect yourself from this reality, it’s necessary for you to update WordPress sites as often as possible.
With that having been said, it can be tempting to rush ahead and update WordPress sites as soon as the updates are available. The fact that it only takes a couple of mouse clicks to update WordPress adds to this temptation, but the updates have to be prepared first. Because all WordPress sites use a different combination of plugins, themes, and customizations, it’s impossible to know if any single update will cause problems with your site’s configuration. If you add an update that causes problems with your site, then you might be left without a way to recover your files or data. Preventative measures are necessary to keep this kind of scenario from happening.
The first thing you should always do before an update is to backup your MySQL database that is used by your WordPress site. This database includes all of your posts, pages, settings, and other information that your site needs to run properly. Although you can make a manual backup of your MySQL database from your website hosting account’s control panel, there are many free WordPress plugins available that can streamline the process. One popular database backup plugin is EZPZ Backup, which simplifies the process to just a few mouse clicks.
Besides backing up your database, you should also back up the physical files that are used for your WordPress installation. You need to keep a copy of these files to make restoring your site easier if something goes wrong. If your site has customized theme, plugin or function files, then you might not ever be able to recover your work if something goes wrong, and you’ll have to do everything over again. For these reasons, backing up your physical files is just as important as backing up your database before updating WordPress.
If you click the plugins tab, you’ll be given a list of all of the plugins your WordPress site is currently running. After you have made your backups and done the actual update itself, you’ll need to come to your plugins tab to see if any of the plugins you use aren’t compatible with the new version of WordPress. If so, then you might want to revert to the previous version of WordPress until an update for the plugin is created. Another option is to find a different plugin that performs a similar function. No matter what approach you use, checking your plugins after updating WordPress is important to keep your site running smoothly.
Updating WordPress isn’t very difficult, and you shouldn’t have any problems if you follow the steps outlined above. Taking the necessary preventative measures will help to keep you from complicating the unexpected problems that can come from updating.