How to Update to the Latest Version of WordPress


WordPress recently released version 3.5.2 of its content management system, which is now available to download for all. Updating to the latest version of WordPress ensures that your website is free from bugs and security flaws and will help prevent your blog becoming the victim of a hack. Despite this, people often put off updating for fear of doing it wrong and messing up the function of their site.

There is actually nothing to worry about when upgrading WordPress and the whole process is pretty easy. This guide will show you how it’s done.

Backup your database

There are two ways of updating to the latest version of WordPress: automatically and manually. We are going to show you how to carry out both methods; however, before doing so it is imperative that you backup your database. The best way to do this is by using a plugin, there are plenty of backup plugins available, so go to Plugins > Add New and search for one of the following recommended options:

  • BackUpWordPress
  • WP Complete Backup
  • Online Backup for WordPress
  • BackWPup.

Backing up your database will ensure that, if anything does go wrong when updating, your site is safe.

Updating WordPress automatically

WordPress will display a message in a yellow bar towards the top of your dashboard that notifies you that a new version of the CMS is available. From this bar click on the message that says, “Please update now.”

You will then be taken to the Updates page, where you simply need to select the “Update automatically” button and wait while WordPress updates your website. This method is by far the easiest way to update to the latest version of WP and is recommended if you are new to the platform, or are not confident with using FTP clients.

Updating WordPress manually

If the automatic update has resulted in an error, or you simply prefer the more thorough approach to updating, you should opt for the manual option.

Disable plugins

Before getting started with this method, make sure that all plugins have been disabled. Some plugins might not work with the WordPress update and disabling them will prevent a broken installation.

Download WordPress

In Updates page of your dashboard, and next to the “Update automatically” option, you will see a button that says, “Download 3.5.2” – you need to click on this and save the zip file on your computer.

Replace files using FTP

Next, locate the file and unzip/extract it. With this done, you will need to open your FTP client to access your WordPress files. If you do not have an FTP client, there are plenty available online – FileZilla is a recommended choice.

In your FTP, type in the URL of your site, as well as the username and password and find the public_html file. In this file you will need to delete the sub-files named “wp-includes” and “wp-admin” and replace with the same folders from the newly downloaded and extracted version of WordPress using the drag and drop method.

Replace, other existing WordPress files (i.e. wp-login.php and index.php) with new ones, but make sure not to delete any folders containing plugins and themes.

If you are using the manual update method due to a problem with the automatic update, you will also need to delete the “.maintenance” file.

Reactivate plugins

With the update complete, reactivate all plugins one by one and check that everything works okay.

Congratulations! You are now running the latest version of WordPress.

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