Just like with Genesis, there are regular updates to the WordPress platform itself to fix bugs and ensure speed, security, and compatibility. Be sure to update WordPress when a new release is made available to keep your website up-to-date.
The actual update process is very quick and simple; but there are a few things you should do before updating to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Note: If your website is hosted with StudioPress Sites, we handle all of your WordPress updates automatically. For most other WordPress installations following version 3.7, automatic updates for minor releases only (such as from version 3.7.1 to 3.7.2) are enabled by default. See Manual & Automatic Updates below for more information.
Standard Update Process:
Alternate Update Options:
For more information about updates, see Updating WordPress in the WordPress Codex.
Before You Update
Before you begin the update process, take the following precautions to ensure you don’t run into any complications:
1. Backup your website
Backups ensure that you have an immediate action plan should something go wrong when you update. If you are using StudioPress Sites, you don’t have to worry about this (unless you’d like to create your own local backup), as we create daily backups for you. If you are using another hosting platform, be sure to back up:
- Your site database—most hosting services allow you to do this either via PHPMyAdmin or with their own backup tools. Refer to your hosting service’s documentation for information on backing up your database.
- Your site files, themes, and plugins—again, this is done automatically with StudioPress sites, but you can back up your files manually via FTP or with a backup plugin, if you want.
Note: Backing up the uploads folder (inside wp-content) can often take a long time and is not necessary before upgrading. A WordPress update should not affect this folder.
2. Turn off caching
If you are running a caching plugin (such as W3 Total Cache, Super Cache, or Quick Cache), make sure to deactivate it before you update.
Deactivating your caching plugin ensures that you aren’t caching maintenance pages during the update or otherwise interfering with the update process.
3. Update your plugins and theme frameworks
Developers usually have a heads-up on upcoming WordPress releases, and often update their plugins and theme frameworks (like Genesis) to maintain compatibility and make use of new technologies. Be sure to update all of your plugins and themes before upgrading WordPress to avoid any compatibility issues later on.
To check for available plugin and theme updates, go to Dashboard > Updates in your WordPress Dashboard. For detailed instructions on updating the Genesis Framework, see How to Update the Genesis Framework.
Note: Your Genesis child themes do not need to be updated; only the Genesis Framework parent theme. See Do I need to update my child theme? for more information.
Update WordPress via the Dashboard
Once you’ve taken the precautions above, it’s time to upgrade WordPress. When an update is available, you’ll see a notice at the top of your dashboard, shown below. Go to Dashboard > Updates or click Please update now to go to the Updates screen and begin the process.
If you don’t see the notice or the update list is empty, but you know there is a new version of WordPress available, click Check Again to refresh the list. When the update appears, click Update Now to update WordPress.
That’s it! When the process is complete, you’ll receive a welcome message letting you know that you’ve successfully upgraded WordPress. Exit this screen and take a few minutes to click through and test your site to ensure that pages are appearing correctly and that it functions as expected.
Manual & Automatic Updates
If you are having trouble using the WordPress updater, or you would like to use an alternate update method, you can also update manually or (depending on your web host) configure automatic updates.
Manual Update Via FTP
You can update WordPress manually via FTP. It is very important that you follow these steps closely so you do not accidentally delete your personal plugin or theme data or other items. We recommend that you follow the Before You Update steps above before performing a manual update.
- Download the zip file for the latest version of WordPress.
- Unzip the file on your computer. You should see a folder just called wordpress.
- Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins in your WordPress dashboard and deactivate all plugins. Deactivating plugins does not remove them from your website.
- Connect to your site via FTP and overwrite all folders and files EXCEPT for the wp-content folder and the wp-config.php file with the folders and files from your download. Do not delete any files or folders from your website.
- Open the wp-content folder inside the wordpress folder that you just downloaded. Upload the individual files (such as index.php) to the wp-content folder on your web host. Add any new files, and overwrite any files that have been updated from your current files, but do NOT replace the themes or plugins folders from inside wp-content.
- (Optional) Compare the new wp-config-sample.php file you just downloaded with your existing wp-config.php file. If there are any additional functions in the new version you want to add to your wp-config file, you can edit your wp-config.php file with the code from the wp-config-sample.php file and re-upload it over FTP. Be sure not to alter or delete any of the authentication keys or database settings in your wp-config.php file.
- Visit your admin page at <www.yoursite.com>/wp-admin. You might need to log in again. WordPress detects whether a database upgrade is necessary, and if so, gives you a link (which might look something like <www.yoursite.com>/wp-admin/upgrade.php) to begin the update. Click the link and follow the instructions to update your database to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
When you’ve finished uploading all new files and folders to your web host, refresh your site and click through various pages and functions to ensure that everything looks and works as expected. Be sure to reactivate any plugins you deactivated before the updated process.
For detailed information on manual updates, see the extended update instructions in the WordPress Codex.
Beginning with WordPress version 3.7, automatic updates for minor releases (which include things like maintenance, stability, and security enhancements) are enabled by default. Some hosts allow you to also enable automatic updates for major releases (for example, version 3.7.x to version 3.8). If you would like more information, see the WordPress Codex or contact your web host with questions about automatic WordPress updates.