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How to update WordPress

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Every once in a while you need to update your WordPress website core. No one obligates you to do so, but it is highly recommended since it improves the security and performance of your website. Doing this is a regular maintenance task. We will explain to you how to do it and why it is important to do it.

Every once in a while WordPress websites are being hacked. Hackers gain access to the website through the outdated plugins, themes or WordPress core. Since WordPress is a free open source platform, developers from all around the world search and later fix bugs, add new features and improve security. This is done on a regular basis and later released as a new WordPress version. If it is not a big release then WordPress can update it automatically if this function is turned on. If it is a major release and you have no one maintaining your WordPress website, you will have to do it by yourself.

How to start a WordPress core update

The first and most important action you need to make before starting an update is to create a backup of your website. You must do it in case something happens during or after an update. The best solution is to create a backup manually since it will save all the data that you have at that moment.

Updating WordPress core

There are two ways how to update your WordPress core. One of them is automatic and another one is manual.

An automatic way of updating WordPress

This is an easy way and is advised to be used.

Firstly login into the admin area and go to Dashboards – Updates. There you will see a notice that the new WordPress version is available. You need to press the Update Now button to start the update. WordPress will now fetch the latest version of the software and install it for you. You will see the update progress on your screen. During the upgrade, WordPress will put your site in maintenance mode.

Your site will still be visible to users, but you will not be able to install plugins, or themes while the update is underway. Once the update is over, you will be redirected to the WordPress welcome screen. Depending on each release you may see a page explaining what’s new in WordPress and the features you should try. That’s all, you have successfully updated WordPress to the latest version.

The manual way of updating WordPress Core

To manually update WordPress you will need FTP to upload WordPress files. This method is used when the automatic way is not working for some reason. First, you will need to download the latest version of WordPress. Go to the WordPress download page and click on the Download button.

Your internet browser will now download WordPress in a zip file. Once downloaded you need to extract the zip file. Inside you will see a wordpress folder. This folder contains all the WordPress files you need for the update. Next, you need to open your FTP client and connect to your website. Once connected, go to the WordPress folder you just extracted from the zip file in the local files column. In the remote files column, go to your website’s root folder. This folder could be public_html or named after your website’s domain name. Inside this folder, you will see your WordPress files and folders.

Select all files inside the folder on your computer and then right click to select Upload. Your FTP client will start uploading WordPress files. However, your website already has older versions of the files with the same name. The system will ask you what do you want to do with those files. You need to select ‘Overwrite’ and check the box next to ‘Always use this action’. This will ensure that all WordPress files on your website are replaced by the newer versions of the files.

After you need to go to the admin area. This step is necessary as sometimes a newer version of WordPress may also need to update your WordPress database. In this case, you may see a page mentioning that the database update is required. Click on the ‘Update WordPress Database’ button to continue. That’s all, you have successfully updated your WordPress website.

After the upgrade of the WordPress

After you have updated your WordPress it is obvious that you need to check if everything works fine. If you come across any problem, it is possible that something went wrong during the update or some plugins or themes are not working because they are not compatible. You can restore your website by taking out the backup. To do that you need to connect to your website using FTP and delete all the files. Next, you need to upload the files of your old website from the place you saved the backup. After this, you must visit your website to see if everything is working.

We hope this post explained to you how to update your WordPress website core.

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