Last week there was an update to WordPress from 4.2.4 to 4.3. A good deal of sites had some issues – did any of yours? This post will review ways to deal with upgrades so you are less likely to have major issues in the future.
About WordPress Updates in General
There are different kinds of updates. There are minor ones, often bug fixes but sometimes security fixes – those are the ones that go from say WordPress 4.11 to 4.12. By default, since WordPress 3.7, these are automatically done in the background to your WordPress site unless you turn background updates off. Then there are the more major ones, like from WP 4.2.4 to WP 4.3. If you see an upgrade like that coming along, do some reading before you do your updates. Learn a little about the issues.
About WordPress 4.3 – Why There are Issues
With WordPress 4.3 there was some code that was deprecated. Say what, you say? How in the world would this effect me? Well, if you are using someone’s plugin, they may have code with old constructors. And with 4.3, the plugin may fail. All of a sudden, you start having errors! Wouldn’t you prefer this done quietly on your local computer instead of in public where everyone can see?
Prepare a Staging/Dev/Local Site for Testing!
Got a few hours? Set up a test site for your WordPress site. I can’t say this is the easiest thing to do, but if you want, you can always pay someone with experience to do this for you. Test sites can be set up in a subdirectory on your hosting, or you can set up one with WAMP or MAMP on your Windows computer or your Mac. For sites that I do a lot of background work, I have both. So when I read about WordPress 4.3 coming, I actually set it up to give me the updated WordPress core code on my local machine a month before it was released to the public.
Truth is, I don’t set up test sites for all of my sites. If the site is simple with mostly pages, posts and common plugins, I take my chances and just read about the upgrades in advance, do my backups and upgrade a few days after I feel educated on the update issues.
Backup, backup, and backup
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of backups. I wrote about backups in this past post. It is a good idea to backup both the database and the files. If an update doesn’t go well, a backup can help you out (basically, it can help your site go live until you figure out the issue).
WordPress 4.3 – How can I fix my problems?
What if you already upgraded to WordPress 4.3 and discovered to your horror that you do indeed have issues? I would suggest looking through these forum posts on WordPress 4.3. You will discover there are kind people out there who can help you! You can also try posting a new post on the WordPress forum yourself. Often, it is just one particular plugin that is causing the problem. If you can figure out which plugin and deactivate it, your site should work again. Perhaps the plugin author will come out with a fix in the future, or maybe you can substitute a plugin that does work. And don’t rule out problems with a theme – people are often advised to switch to WordPress Twenty Fifteen temporarily. Good luck!
Your Update and Backup Experience
If you have any update or backup experiences that helped you learned to make better choices, please share in the comments. What is your process for updating WordPress?