So You Want to Move Your Website to Big Head?

Sounds like a Great Idea! Here’s What to Expect.

Big Head Web Host was built and designed to be a solid hosting platform for websites that were built by our team. However, more and more we are finding people wanting to move their own current websites to our hosting platform. And we are excited to welcome you to the family!

Just like when you move into a new home, there are always bound to be some differences from one place to the next. With so many hosting options available, our Big Head platforms may be configured slightly differently than where your website is currently hosted. Sometimes that can lead to a few unexpected issues along the way. Most hosting companies just give you the keys to the new home and leave the rest to you to figure out. But here at Big Head, we believe that the functionality and security of the websites we host is very important. As a result, we’ve developed the following roadmap for your move.

Packing Up

First, go ahead and place your order to move. With that, make sure we have full access to your current hosting account, so that we can gather all the needed files and databases to make your move successful. Please be sure to test any logins to ensure that we can access things as efficiently as possible to prevent any delays.

Staging and Reviw

Once we have gathered your website data, we will then launch a copy of the website in a staging development environment. The goal here is to perform any needed CMS updates and do a review of the website. If applicable, we will perform any needed CMS updates on the website (to help protect the platform itself) as well as provide any feedback on items we see that may need to be addressed. If there are licenses needed for any updates, we will request those licenses to install so we can make sure everything is up to date and working properly.

When the staged website is ready, we will provide you with a direct link and ask you to fully review the staged website. We want you to ensure that it is working and functioning just like the live website on your current host. If you notice any issues, immediately let us know so that we can determine the cause of the problem and if a change is needed to correct an incompatibility. Please understand that at this point, you will be the expert on what your website should do. We most likely did not build the website and may not be very familiar with all its inner workings, so your eyes will certainly pick up on any subtle issues we may not see.

Moving In

Upon your review and approval, we will then move the website to its new home, and work with you to get the DNS changes complete. Think of this as the “change of address” to get visitors to the new location. As this is done, we will keep a copy of the staged site up and running for a short time to have a reference point should anything present as an issue. (Remember, once you change the DNS information, the old hosting is no longer viable, so there’s nothing left there to compare to.)

Yes, this process may take a little more time than perhaps you are used to when moving to a new host. However, we aren’t like all the rest either! We want to make sure your website works as expected, and that the environment you are moving to remains secure for you and everyone else. And should there be an issue with the move, you aren’t faced with trying to figure out the problem on your own!

The Core Parts to Any Website

There are 3 very common and core parts to any website. While each is needed to make any website actually work, they are still 3 individual parts that need attention.

  1. Website Files
  2. Hosting Account
  3. Domain Name

In order to help better understand these, let’s attack them in order.

Website Files

Website files are the various files that are needed to display a website. They include different methods of code that tells the computer what to do and how to display things. The files typically include a system to manage content (the words and photos displayed on a website), templates and themes (the way the website looks and feels) and various scripts (to add functionality to the website.)

Some website file setups can be simple, consisting of just a few files. Others can be much more complex, consisting of thousands of files and millions of lines of code. Regardless of how simple of complex, the files are what make the website up and allow it to be shown on someone’s computer. Website files can be developed by anyone that knows and understands how code works.

Hosting Account

While the files are important, they need some place to live. They must have a place to exist and be accessed in order to the website to be seen by anyone. This is where Hosting comes into play.

A Hosting company offers space on their servers (another word for a computer that is accessible to many places) on which all of the files are placed and can work. These servers are configured so that they are connected to the internet and allow users from virtually anywhere to have access to the website. Without the hosting, no one will be able to see the website. So hosting is a very important part of the puzzle. Hosting can be offered by various companies, and even configured on a personal computer (although usually not recommended.)

Domain Name

So we have the website files, and they are now sitting on a Hosting account somewhere… but how do people actually find them? Servers are complex and each one is assigned what is known as an IP Address. Its a series of numbers that identifies where the server is on the internet so that the files can be found and the website seen. An IP Address typically looks like this: 123.456.789.012 but can also be as complex as 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334 – try remembering that one!

As you can see, these series of numbers are not easy to remember and really do nothing to tell anyone what will be at that location. So this is where domain names come into play. Easy to remember, usually describing what a website is about, and much easier to use than an IP Address, domain names are that final critical part of a website. By typing in a domain name, a user doesn’t have to know the random IP Address code, as the domain name will handle that behind the scenes. Each domain name is assigned to an IP address, bringing that gap and making it easier for everyone to get around on the web. Domain names are generally sold on an annual basis through various “Registrars” (companies that register a domain name for people to use.)

In summary,

Each of these parts work together, but each one is a separate entity. At any given time, you can change the website files, where they are stored and the domain name that points the way. This allows for a lot of flexibility when it comes to a website, but it also means that each part needs to be addressed. The website files need to be developed, hosting must be established and maintained, and the domain name needs to remain registered on a yearly basis to ensure people can find the website.

Understanding Network Connectivity

(or better said, How the internet connects us)

Have you ever had an issue connecting to one website, when you can connect to others with no problem? Perhaps your own website is unavailable to you, while other see it just fine. Chances are you are dealing with a network connectivity issue. And as frustrating as that can be at times, ISPs, network connections and service interruptions along the way (or at the destination itself) are all a part of the internet itself. Hard to understand how that all works?

Less technical: Think of the internet like a city bus system.

You want to get downtown and live in a west side suburb. I want to get downtown and live in an east side suburb. For both of us, there is a bus route to get us there.

For you to get downtown, you have to take your car to the local bus stop. From there, you catch the #3 bus, connect with the #8 bus and finally grab a seat on the #14 bus to arrive at the downtown station. That’s a total of 4 stops.

For me to get downtown, I have to drive to my local bus stop, catch the #5 bus, connect with the #10 bus, take a short ride on the #12 bus and finally arrive at the downtown station on the #17 bus. For me, a total of 5 stops.

For other people, they will catch a variety of different buses along the way to arrive at the same destination, all depending on where they are starting from.

If your car or any of the buses along the way break down, you can not arrive at the downtown station. You may be able to get off the bus and grab a coffee at the local coffee shop, but you are not going to arrive downtown until all of the buses in the network are up and running. However, I may still be able to get downtown if all of my buses are working just fine. Now, if the downtown bus station is shut down, then neither of us will get there.

So it all depends on the network that connects our routes.

In this example, your car is your local Internet Service Provider, the buses are other connections along the internet and the downtown station is the website you want to visit. The coffee shop would be all the other websites you can visit, even if you can’t get to the one you want.

Sometimes a path on the internet will break, and when that happens, it can cause you to not get where you want to go. Thankfully, the internet has a lot of connections, and when one goes down, others will become open, rerouting you like a GPS navigation system. Sometimes it happens without you even noticing… but sometimes, it can take a little time to reroute.

Of course, this doesn’t explain all issues with the internet. But when it comes to an internet connectivity issue, this is basically how it all works.

Hope that helps bring a little more understanding to this technical part of the web!

Where’s My Website?

A very common question asked right after a website’s launch is, “Where is my website? It doesn’t show up when I search for it!”

This is normal! Let’s talk about why that is, and what you can do to remedy the situation.

First, Some Misconceptions

Google does not Own the Web

It seems like it at times, with Google’s hands being in virtually everything and the Google search engine being the king of search, but Google does not own the web. When you register a new domain, you don’t buy that domain from Google (unless you specifically register the domain from Google as a registrar.) Google owns the Chrome browser, Android software for phones and a number of other properties, but the internet itself… not so much.

Google does not have every website mapped

This one may be a shocker to many, but Google does not know about every single website on the web. Most of them, yes… but not all of them. Again, they don’t own the web, and there is no automatic notification of a new website being launched to let them know, so unless the Google Webbot runs across your website, it won’t know that its there.

Without Google, My Website Doesn’t Exist

Yes, and no. Your website exists as you can certainly visit it, and you can tell others about it, and they can visit it. However, if you are not found on Google, it may limit the amount of traffic you get on your website. Without Google, you can certainly have an effective website, but that is absolutely magnified with being listed in the search results.

Why is My Website Not indexed?

if your website just launched, or if your domain name itself is fairly new, there’s a good chance that Google may not even know your website or domain exists. Even if Google does know, most website will find themselves in the “Google Sandbox” for a while before being shown in the search engines. What’s the “sandbox?” It’s a fancy not-so-technical term that describes Google’s wait and see approach to new websites.

Keep in mind that Google makes their money on ads. These ads are shown in the search results along side the “organic” results. They make money on these ads because people click on them, and people will only come back to Google if they trust that Google will give them the best search results for the terms they are searching. As such, it’s in Google’s best interests to show websites that have been around for a while and that they trust will remain. So when a new website comes along, they will watch it for a while to see if it sticks around, doesn’t start becoming a spam farm or serve malicious code. Google wants to know that the owner of the website has good intentions, and since they don’t know you personally, they can only judge you and your website by the website itself.

Usually, as time goes on, Google will insert the new website into the results to see how it works with the users. It may not be shown every time, but when it is shown, Google will gather information about how the website behaves. If it behaves well, Google will begin to trust it, and eventually add it to the mix.

Think of Google like a puppy. Your website is a new toy, one that it hasn’t seen yet. While some puppies may jump on the new toy right away, this one will slowly approach it, sniff at it and maybe tap at it a few times to see what it does. As the puppy gets comfortable with the toy, it becomes a part of what the puppy plays with. But it can take time.

How much time, you ask? Generally speaking, the Google “Sandbox” effect can take a few weeks to a couple months. I would love to give you an exact date and even tell you exactly where your website would rank, but Google plays its ranking criteria close to it’s vest. They have over 120 parts to their search algorithms and the general public knows of only a handful of those. The rest they keep secret and keep playing with.

How Can I Help?

Well, first, let’s make sure Google knows you are there. After all, they can not include you in the search results if you are not even known. So you should introduce yourself.

Start by creating a Google Webmaster account. You can do this at https://www.google.com/webmasters/. This will not only tell Google that your website is there, but will give you some great feedback, including how Google Bot sees your website, notifications on any broken links and the ability to fix any issues with your website and Google’s information. Its one of the first places to start.

Next, make sure your website is “search engine friendly”, meaning that there are no issues blocking the search engine from checking you out. Again, the Webmaster tools will help you figure this out, so go back to the first step and get your account going!

Use Google’s Analytics. Analytics tells you who is visiting your website, where they are coming from, how they got there and so much more. But it does one more thing… it helps Google to know you are online! If they are tracking users on your website with their Analytics code, you can bet they know you are there!

Be patient. Once Google knows you are there, it can take time for your website to show in the results. And even then, it can take time for it to move from the 21st page of their results to the first 5 pages.

Grow Content. Content is still king with Google, so the more content you have, the more interest Google may have with your website. But make sure its quality, useful content… Google can and will penalize websites that try to get ranked with “fluff” content.

Get connected. Connect with other websites, related to what you do. Between related websites, online forums, social media and so on, there are plenty of areas to get your website connected. By connected, I mean linked. A link from another website to your website helps, especially if Google is searching the other website. The Google Bot may see your link and follow on over!

The Bottom Line

Launching a website will not get you on the first page of Google’s search results day 1. Imagine if that was possible, with millions of new website launching everyday, Google would be an absolute mess. It takes time, and some effort. But by taking a few simple steps, and being patient, you will begin to see your website in the search results.

Maintaining Your Website, and Why It Matters

Back when the web first began, websites were written in a basic HTML code. Updates and edits to the website were mainly text and image related, and the nature of HTML prevented most hacking from being an issue. However, today, most websites are built on some sort of Content Management System (CMS), which has changed the game a bit in terms of maintaining a website.

Content Management

Websites powered by Content Management have allowed the average user to easily update the content on their websites, without having to know or understand HTML code. This is possible by combining a dynamic programming language (such as PHP or ASP) and a database. The database holds the content, while the programming language pulls together the content from the database with the design and presentation to produce the final HTML code for the website. However, with dynamic programming languages, there are ways for hackers to get in to the site to produce results that are different than intended.

As with any software based application, programming languages need to be updated. Between vulnerability holes that are found and the continued progress of making the languages better, there are always going to be updates. We see this everyday with cell phones, computers and even our higher end TVs. Websites are no different. The programming languages need to be kept up to date to ensure that they are working properly and securely.

Who is Responsible for Maintaining?

This is one of the biggest questions we get asked. The ultimate answer is you, the website owner. Just like owning a smart phone, computer or even that high end TV, applying any updates for the software are the responsibility of the owner of the item that needs to be updated. The programming companies will push out the updates and notify the owners, but they do not just apply the updates on behalf of the owner.

With a CMS driven website, there will typically be updates available at a variety of times. Regular updates and growth of the CMS, security patches, and even module or plugin updates… there will always be updates. Most offer a simple method of proceeding with the updates, but even still, it is the owner’s responsibility to do so. If the software is not updated, the system or device is subject to possible intrusion or even failure in general.

How Big Head Can Help

Many of our clients don’t have the time, nor the desire to keep up with the ongoing updates. As a result, to help protect our clients, we offer hosting packages that offer updates to select CMS systems. As a client subscribed to this level of hosting, we will go in on at least a quarterly basis and make updates to the clients website software as they are available.

As an added level of protection, we also offer hosting packages that include firewalls to help prevent intrusion and backups just in case.

We are always looking to make owning a website easier. If we can help you, or you need to upgrade your hosting package to take advantage of these great features, please feel free to contact us at any time!

What the heck does SSL and https mean, and why should you even care?

SSL and https are related to security and encryption of data on your website, and with security becoming more and more important everyday, it has some significant meaning to you as a website owner. This is especially true if you are selling items and taking payments, or collecting any sort of sensitive information on your website.

SSL ( Secure Socket Layers )

SSL ( Secure Socket Layers ) is a method of encrypting information that is transferred between a website browser and the server the website resides on. SSL uses a series of certificates and keys to encrypt the data in only a way the server can make sense of.

Remember when you were in grade school and wanted to make up a secret language with your friends that only your group could understand? Yeah, it’s kind if like that!

The server generates a Certificate Signing Key that is used to encrypt and decipher the information. A 3rd party service issues a Certificate of Security that is related specifially to the domain name. The two together will take information and create a unique language that is transmitted and can not be broken without both keys. And with most modern SSL certificates using 256bit encryption, the language is extremely complex. Using 256bit encryption along with the two key parts (the signing key and the issued certificate), each word is assigned any number of characters to be passed instead of the words themselves.

Here’s a simple encryption example:

Let’s assume we are trying to encrypt the word “password.” We will use a very simple key of “hhjf8yw3fycubfiwjvc6s87cfqu3b2pjf0wyc9qvf2nf029fucq” (signing keys are much longer and more complex than this!) Using a simple 256bit encryption,  “password” would be converted to “G0eIjgwtQ/9amwTj4kMTJa9j7ZKr3wcUR3M0+dV6n1g=”

Yeah, good luck trying to decipher that without the key!

An even more interesting example would be “This is a simple password example” being converted to “O3b/pIbL/z++RMCPBwcE5xA2rI0ClHqqNtJRT6UWo/F4FqOab3s6/5qHcIb0ZXXTXuW8MU6xVn04VxL/YL1R4w==”

Therefore the information submitted from a browser to the server is transmitted in a format that only makes sense to the server. Even if someone is sitting there monitoring all of the traffic on your server, without the keys which are issued from 2 separate places, there is no way they could decipher the meaning. This means the data is secure and safe!

https ( Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL )

When you look at any website, look at the domain name address box. In most cases, you will notice either http:// or https:// before the domain name. The “S” indicates that the information is being transferred using SSL and should use the proper keys to decipher the data. If you try to access a website with https that does not have an SSL certificate in place, you will often get an error connecting to the server! Both keys, properly installed, are required to make the connection.

Additionally, modern browsers are using visual indicators, such as a lock or green bar located at the web address box to indicate that the website is secure. When you see the https, the information is being sent using the SSL method of encryption.

Why Should You Care?

Well, maybe you don’t. But if you run an ecommerce store, collect sensitive data or want to limit access and protect even smaller items like passwords, SSL and https will make a tremendous difference. Most credit card processors will not allow you take payment without the SSL certificate in place over an https connection. Most users will not submit any sensitive information without the security in place. And encryptiing even CMS passwords can help prevent a hacker from intercepting your password when you log in.

Additionally, major search engines like Google are giving higher credence to secured websites. Hacking and insecure sites are becoming a major problem online today, so even the search engines are looking for the best quality of website possible in their search results.

Big Head Web Host offers SSL security certificates for our clients to help secure your website data. Let us help you get your website secure today and protect your business!

 

Email is an important part of owning and running a website, and often times changes to hosting or DNS records for a website can have a big impact on email deliverability, so it is important to know how email works… at least on a basic level.

The following information pertains to anyone using email addresses that utilize your domain name, but does not apply to services such as Gmail or Yahoo that do not use the domain name for your website.

It Starts with DNS

Everything starts with the DNS (Domain Name System.) We have to start here for you to understand how your email works. When your domain name is accessed, be it to visit a website or to send/receive an email, the domain name is looked up against the DNS to see where everything goes.

Although there are a number of other more advanced aspects, the DNS setup for your domain name consists of 3 basic elements:

  • Nameservers
  • A Records
  • MX Records

Nameservers are pseudo names that the domain name registrar will use to delegate the DNS management of a domain to a specific location. These nameservers are registered to a specific IP address assigned to a specific hosting server. Nameservers can be provided by the domain registrar, or assigned to the hosting company. Either way, ALL traffic goes to that location immediately.

Once at the DNS location, the DNS system determines what type of request we are dealing with and sends the information as required:

  • If this is a request of the website, the A Record is used, which points to the proper IP Address for the website host (often, the same IP address as the Nameserver, but not always.)
  • If the request is mail related, the system uses the MX records, which point to the location of the email server (often a part of the hosting server, but not always.)

Since we are dealing with email, let’s assume an email is being sent to “someone@anydomain.com”

The DNS system would instruct where to go for the email service for anydomain.com, based on the MX Records. If the MX Record is something like mail.anydomain.com, the email is most likely running on the main hosting server. However, if you are using a 3rd party service, such as Outlook 365 or Google Apps for Business, the MX Records could look like anydomain-com.mail.protection.outlook.com (fancy, huh?) In this instance, the email is being routed to the 3rd party service instead of being managed by the hosting service.

2 Flavors of Email

Let’s talk about the most common 2 basic types of email:

  • POP3
  • IMAP

While these are not the only types available, they are the most common. Both mostly work in the same way, with one big exception… POP3 does not synchronize between multiple devices and IMAP does.

Think of POP3 as a Post Office Box you wold get with the U.S. Mail. You go to the post box and remove your mail, and once you have done so, it is in your hands and not in the mailbox. POP3 works much like this. When you access the email from your computer using a program such as Outlook or Mail, the program downloads the email to the computer and stores it there. No copy of left in the mailbox. For many people, this is just fine, which is why many hosting companies only offer POP3 mail.

Think of IMAP differently though. IMAP keeps a copy of the email on the server unless it is deleted from the server itself. This allows you to connect via multiple devices, such as computer programs on multiple computers, as well as mobile devices like your phone or tablet. Each device will have a copy of the email available, allowing multiple devices to stay in sync. For a larger, power user need, this can be a very convenient feature to have! However, since email is not automatically removed, over time the size of your inbox can eat up the space allotted for your account, so proper management of older emails is important.

If offered either option, choose the option that works for your own needs, not only today, but in the future.

Moving Services

If you change your hosting server, for example by moving away from GoDaddy.com and to Big Head Web Host, it is important to know how your email is currently working.

If you are using a 3rd party email service, it is important that the DNS has a copy of the 3rd party’s records. Often times when moving from one host to another, the Nameserver records will change, and since the location of the Nameservers will dictate where the DNS points everything to, the new host needs to be given the proper information. This will allow for a seamless move without email interruption, as well as no need to update any email addresses or logins for them.

However, if your current host is also managing your email, it is important to check all email for each address before migrating, as well as setting up the same email accounts on the new host. Email accounts don’t migrate from one host to another, and the settings to connect can vary… so having the accounts set up prior to migration will help reduce or remove any interruption of email during the process.

If you are moving your hosting to Big Head Web Host from another hosting service, don’t worry! We can help! We can make the changes needed on your behalf, although you still may need to help gather some of the information. But in the end, we want to help make your move simple and easy.

 

Database Backups

This How To post is designed to help you understand how to safely create a backup of your website database through your hosting control panel.

NOTE: Please use caution while following this How To Tutorial. Follow the steps very carefully as making changes in the database can cause major issues with any associated website if not done correctly!

Ready to get started?

Step 1 – Log in to your Hosting Account

This one is pretty simple. Just need your hosting login information…

cpanel-login

 

Step 2 – Find phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is the database manager that will allow you to manipulate the database files, including backing up the file. Again, this is a powerful program that will allow you to make changes to the database, so please follow along carefully to prevent accidentally breaking a website!

cpanel-phpmyadmin

 

Step 3 – Choose the Appropriate Database

In most cases, you may only have one database for your website. However, you will typically see 2 options at a minimum, one being the “information_schema”. This is NOT the one you want. When only given 2 options, the other choice is the database you want to choose. Regardless, you should know which database you need to ensure you are backing up the right one. Of course, you could back up all of them by just repeating these steps.

phpmyadmin-choose-db

 

Step 4 – Export the Database

Once you have selected the appropriate database, click on the Export tab. You will be given a screen with options to export the file.

You will want to choose the “Custom Export Method.” Be sure to “select all” for the Tables. Further down, you will be give the option to choose a compression for the Output. For a simple backup, we recommend the gzipped option, but of course you can also choose the standard zipped option. GZip is just a smaller compressed file. Even further down the page, you will want to check the box that says to “Add Drop Table / View / Proceedure / Function/ Event statement.”

sql-export-steps

choose-compression

add-drop

 

Step 5 – Save the file ( SQL Format )

Once you have made the selections, you will simply click on Go. This will generate an .sql file in a compressed file that you can download to your local computer.

dl-sql

 

Step 6 – All Done!

Now you have downloaded a version of the database, so if you have any issues you can easily re-import the file at a later date. This is quite helpful when you are upgrading website software and run into problems that may require you to restore a backup. Most software updates will make minor changes to the database, so having that good copy is important.

 

Software Backups

This How To post is designed to help you understand how to safely create a backup of your website software through your hosting control panel.

Ready to get started?

Step 1 – Log in to your Hosting Account

This one is pretty simple. Just need your hosting login information…

cpanel-login

 

Step 2 – Find your File Manager

Once logged in, you are looking for the File Manager. Usually this is found right near the top of the site. Click on the link and your File Manager will open up for you.

cpanel-filemanager

Make sure when you open the File Manager you are going to the right folder on your account. For this example, we will be choosing the “www” folder, which is part of the “public_html” folder, where your website files will live.

cpanel-filemanager-open

 

Step 3 – Select the Files to Backup

Generally speaking, you are safe to simply click the Select All option, but if you only want to get specific files, you can choose those as well. With your cPanel installation, you can use the CTRL button and click method to select specific files. However, if you are about to do an update to your software, go ahead and Select All. This will ensure you have a full backup.

cpanel-filemanager-selectall

 

Step 4 – Compress the Files

Once you have selected the files, click on the Compress button to create your backup. You will be given a few options for compression type. Unless you have a reason other than, We suggest you just use the .zip format. Change the default backup file name and then click the Compress File(s) button. Once you are done, the system will give you a detailed report of which files were compressed.

cpanel-filemanager-compress

cpanel-filemanager-name-start

cpanel-filemanager-done

Step 5 – Download Your Backup

Once you have completed the file backup, you can simply download the file. Right click on the file name and you should be given a choice to download. If you are simply doing a quick update of software, you may elect to keep the backup right there on the server for easy access if you need to restore from the backup.

cpanel-filemanager-backup-done

 

All Done!

You have created a backup of your website software. Depending on your website, you may also want to do a backup of your database!

Upgrade WordPress

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!

Go to Software Backup ->

Go to Database Backup ->

Backups Ready?

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.

core-update-complete

 

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.

plugins-update

You will see the following messages as the plugins are updating, with a message at the end when they are completed.

update-complete

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.