June 29, 2017

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How to Upgrade WordPress and What To Look Out For

When you log in to WordPress, you occasionally get presented with a message that reads:

This message simply means that the team behind WordPress have created a new update for you to install. The latest that can be read above is 3.1.2 which is an update to the previous 3.1.1 version. What the .2 update brings is a fix to a vulnerability where users configured as contributors could improperly publish a post. Some security updates can be a lot more serious and if not installed sooner, rather than later, it can lead to problems where your blog gets hacked.

How to Upgrade to the Latest WordPress

If you use a standard theme and also haven’t made any manual changes to the core files of WordPress then updating is as simple as clicking the Updates link at the top of the sidebar (in wp-admin) and clicking the button that says you will update to WordPress. The update process takes seconds, probably less than 10 in most cases. Once done, you should then test your blog to see if all looks OK and functions correctly. If so, you are running the latest version.

However, if you have modified some of the core code (which I have done in the past), then updating will wipe out those changes which means you need to proceed with caution.

The files that are kept safe include:

(There may be others that I am unaware of).

All other files can be overwritten when updates are applied. If you have made changes to core files then make sure you have noted down what those changes are and at this point, evaluate and see if it’s necessary to keep those changes on the core files. In my case, I found a work around and managed to find a plugin that replaced the manual hacking that I had done. I promptly installed that and don’t need to worry about modifying files any more.

What if Your WordPress Update Breaks Something?

In the 4 or 5 years that I have been using WordPress, I haven’t come across a time when something has broken with an update. But, if it happens to you then the first thing would be to look at the error message and try figure out what it’s telling you. In some cases it might be just a plugin that isn’t compatible. If so, disable the plugin that causes it, or if you don’t know what plugin is causing the problem, disable them one at a time till the problem goes away.

Also, make sure the WordPress update completed successfully. If not, re-run the update if possible so that it completes successfully. Out of all the blogs of others that I have fixed, I have always found that all data is generally safe and that it’s just some incompatibility that breaks it.

Drop us a comment and let us know if you run updates, ignore them or have run in to problems with them. As always, let us know if we can help if anything urgent does crop up.


  1. Thanks Matthew, I’ve been thinking on upgrading but have not done it yet. I wondered what would happen if something went wrong. I’ve had my WordPress down before for a whole day and I thought I lost everything. It’s good to know that it would most likely be a plugin and what to do if something goes wrong. Have a great day my friend!

    Rick Salas

  2. Hey Peter,
    A Blog is actually better than a “mere” website because of the changing content that is always appearing.

    My WP.Com Blog does not give me the flexibility I once had with WP.Org. I was able to make the changes I want to it and basically keep it up to date with what was pleasing to me. I have been upgrading wordpress versions from 2.7 on up and never had a problem. But then again I cannot consider myself a “Power” player. Presently I am using WordPress.Com’s F.R.E.E. Blog site and at present I don’t have any problems. What I was wondering if you offer help with CSS formatting?

    You have done much to dispel some of the rumors that upgrading can be Risky Business.

    Thanks for the post.


    • I can make a few CSS tweaks, but for me it isn’t really an understanding of how it works. Instead, I just change things until I find what works :) Not the best way.

  3. Thaank you for sharing this and yes protection is important. And not only with WordPress , everything what you do on and with internet is worth to look at.

    Thanks and keep up the good work and hope to here and learn from you.

    • Hi there Mario,
      Thanks for popping by. I hope you continue to find nuclearblogger.com a helpful resource in your blogging progress.
      Best wishes


  4. I like it when people come together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!

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