This How To post is designed to help you safely and easily upgrade your WordPress installation. Simply follow along with the steps and photos, and you can upgrade your WordPress website yourself.
NOTE: Prior to upgrading WordPress, it is highly recommended that you do a backup of your software and do a backup of your database. While 99% of the time things will go smoothly, there is that 1% chance and not having a backup could be costly!
Ok, let’s get started…
Step 1 – Are Updates Available?
Log in to your WordPress website with an Administrator Level user. Once logged in, you will come to the dashboard. On the dashboard, you will be given several notices if updates are available. Generally speaking, if you see orange circles with numbers in the menu, or a circular icon in the top menu with a number, you most likely have updates available. Check out this photo:
Step 2 – Update WordPress Core Files
If WordPress has an update available, update this first before updating any plugins. Usually plugins will follow WordPress upgrades, so if you update a plugin that is needing a new bit of code in the latest WordPress version that you have not yet updated to, you could find an error that locks you out of additional updates. Always update WordPress first.
Once the core WordPress files are updated, you will see the following message, and most likely will be sent to a Welcome Screen telling you all about the new features from your upgrade.
Step 3 – Update Plugins and Themes
Once you have updated the core WordPress files, you should then update the plugins and themes. To update the plugins and themes, for each section click on the checkbox that will select all plugins / themes, and then click the Update button.
You will see the following messages as the plugins are updating, with a message at the end when they are completed.
Step 4 – Check your Website
Now that you have upgraded WordPress and all plugins / themes, it is time to make sure the website is still working as expected. Again, 99% of the time, you should not see an issue. However, sometimes certain code snippets can change and on occasion there may be conflicts that cause issues. If these are present, you can restore the website to it previous version from the backups you made at the start of the process.
You are all done!
Congratulations on keeping your WordPress website up to date. This will help prevent hacking of your website due to out dated software.