The website update is essential because it allows you to have new functionality. Besides, you can fix security vulnerabilities or bugs from previous versions via updates. In today’s article, we will see together how to update a WordPress website. The procedure is more or less similar to other content managers.
The Website update options for WordPress
To update a WordPress site, you have 3 options:
Option 1: Transfer the data via FTP
This option consists of recovering the updated code (theme or extension) and overwriting the previous version with the new one. This approach is not highly recommended. However, if the normal update process is not working, this is the one to use.
Option 2: Connect to your web server and import
This method is similar to option 1. The only difference is that you are using the version of your online server to import your data.
Option 3: Import via the management panel (extensions and certain themes)
You can update plugins and some themes using WordPress functionality. In this case, it will simply be a question of going to the Extension or Appearance tab, and locate your theme or extension and then click on the update.
Before you jump into the update, you should take the time to do some checking. We will talk about it in the following.
Before updating your website
Before updating your website, you must take into consideration the prerequisites and the compatibility of your server. Indeed, with the update, your server may not be adapted to the new features. Below are some steps to take:
- Use the development environment if possible. The development environment allows you to do all the necessary tests before migrating your website.
- Validate server compatibility. Make sure your server will support the updates. If you cannot confirm, update on a development environment before migrating to production.
- Duplicate your website. A duplicate of your website will allow you to go back in case something goes wrong.
- Consider updating during non-office hours. During office hours, major changes to your site can affect the way you do business. Off-office hours are ideal because you can have enough time to go back in case something goes wrong.
What to update on a WordPress site?
If you have a website in general, you need to update three things:
- The theme of your site
- Your extensions
- The functionality of your server.
It should be noted that the order of the updates can be independent. However, in some cases, the update may depend on your server’s functionality or the version of your PHP. We will see how to update each of the elements mentioned above.
Updating the functionality of your server
There are several types of the webserver. Therefore, the update may depend on several factors. We recommend that you contact your host or work with an expert for this aspect of the update.
For updating server settings, we will limit ourselves to WordPress recommendations.
Recent versions of WordPress give you the possibility to know if your web server fulfills the requirements for a fairly secure website. Indeed, via the tab Tools -> Health of the site, you can access some information that can help you in updating. Via the demo below, we will see together some essential elements of the WordPress report.
In your WordPress website’s health tab, if you have a notification related to the version of your PHP or your server, you must contact your host for the update. Contact us if you need assistance.
Updating WordPress plugins
Updating WordPress plugins is relatively straightforward. In your administrator panel, you have access to an “Extensions” tab. Via this tab, you can update by following the steps below:
- Select the extensions that need to be updated. You can recognize them with a note below the extension (usually orange). These notes often say, “A new version d for *** is available. View version details … or update now.”
- Click on the view details link for more information on the changes.
- Or, click update.
- Some extensions require that you download the new version through their platform. In this case, you should follow the extension’s documentation to perform the updates.
- If you have purchased an extension that is not available on the WordPress research platform, you may need to update manually. The manual update will consist of downloading the new version and importing via FTP.
- WordPress offers the possibility of making automatic updates for certain extensions. By enabling this option, WordPress will perform the updates automatically for you.
WordPress theme update
To update your WordPress theme, you need to make sure you haven’t made any major changes to the main theme. To avoid overwriting the changes made to a theme during the update, it is recommended to create a child theme to make all of its changes on the child theme. If you have made any changes to the parent theme, you need to take more care when updating.