Upgrading Your WordPress Blog- Why and How

For a long time I was using an old version of WordPress (2.02) but installing and customizing new versions for my customers. I soon realized I was missing out on a lot of new features (e.g., widgets) and security fixes. I kept delaying the upgrading process because I thought it was too complicated and would take too long to figure it out.

I was wrong!

The first blog took approximately thirty minutes. The next few blogs I upgraded for my customers only took a few minutes each.
If your blog has many plugins it will take a little longer because you need to download the latest version of each plugin.

10 Steps for Upgrading WordPress

1. Backup your WordPress files

Backing up your files is absolutely necessary in case you lose files during the upgrading process.

Here are the steps to backup your files:

a) Download the latest WordPress backup plugin from and upload it to your plugins folder.

b) Activate the plugin then go to “manage-backup” to backup all your tables.

c) Check “download to your computer”

d) Create a backup folder on your computer and label it with the current date so you know when you ran the process.

e) Save the backup files in this folder. It will be a zipped file.

Note: Make a backup of your wp-content folder as this contains your customized theme(s). Also backup your .htaccess file

2. Make a screen capture

This enables you to see the exact positions of all things in your sidebar. Items (e.g., images) sometimes disappear when upgrading or changing to a new theme.

3. Deactivate all plugins

Under plugin management click the link “deactivate all plugins”

4. Download latest WordPress version

Download the latest WordPress upgrade then unzip the files.

5. Delete old WordPress files


* wp-config.php file;
* wp-content folder;

Exception: the wp-content/cache and the wp-content/plugins/widgets folders should be deleted. If you’ve downloaded new versions for all plugins, delete the old plugins. If not don’t delete the plugins folder.

* wp-images folder;
* wp-includes/languages/ folder–if you are using a language file do not delete that folder;
* .htaccess file–if you have added custom rules to your .htaccess file, do not delete it;
* robots.txt file–if your blog resides in the root of your site (ie. the blog is the site) do not delete it.

6. Upload new WordPress files

Upload one folder at a time with your FTP software (I use SmartFTP). To upload multiple files simultaneously, hold down the shift key then click on each file you want uploaded. All files you want uploaded should now be highlighted. Drag these files to your server window and overwrite any that need replacing.

7. Run the upgrade program

When you log in to your blog you will see a link to run the upgrade. Complete running the program. You will receive a message that your database has been upgraded.

8. Update permalinks and .htaccess file

I didn’t have to do this because they remained intact, however check to make sure they are correct. Sometimes the .htaccess rules change so you’ll need to replace the old ones.

9. Install updated plugins and themes

Check your old plugins and theme(s) are compatible with the latest WordPress upgrade before replacing them. If they have not been upgraded your blog may not preserve its original form.

This may occur with your theme if you customized the sidebar, header and css files. If you don’t want to upgrade your old theme, consider creating a new theme.

10. Reactivate plugins

Visit plugin management to reactivate your plugins.

Check your newly upgraded blog

Check that your original theme is intact e.g., header, sidebar, footer. You’ll now feel content that your WordPress blog is more secure than before.

Enjoy the new features.


  1. Casperbrown says

    FTP Manager Lite is a better freeware FTP and SFTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. One of the best freeware FTP clients that also supports FXP.


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