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The Bullet Proof Safe Way to Upgrade WordPress

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In this session we demonstrate the bullet proof safe way to upgrade WordPress. We show how to backup the site first using BackupBuddy to update files, folders and database. This gives you a mechanism for recovery if a problem occurs. Then we go through the process of upgrading plugins some of which can be done together and other more complex ones need to be updated separately.

We then update WordPress and update themes because not having them updated can provide opportunities for hacking the site and often theme updates are security updates. Next, we update BackupBuddy, get its product license and make sure the settings are setup right. Finally, we do a full backup.

Video Transcript

While we’re at that, why don’t I just demonstrate the right process for upgrading your stuff. The very first thing to do unless nothing about your site matters at all is backup your site before you upgrade WordPress. So you would come over here, I’m using BackupBuddy so I would just come over to Backup and I’m going to do a complete backup, not just the database backup.

If you’re using a database backup plugin or something like that, that’s not enough you need to backup both your files and your folders and your database. You need to do that before you upgrade because if you don’t do that before you upgrade and there’s a problem upgrading then you have no mechanism for recovery. So the most important you can do to begin with is to back your site up.

We’re just waiting for this to complete, it says it’s completed but it hasn’t finished its processing. Okay, “The backup archive file size has not increased in 25 seconds. The backup may have failed.” Well, let’s try it again, it’s going to refresh this. Okay, I’ve got a reasonable progress here. Okay, great so backup went fine this time. Sometimes if stuff doesn’t work quite right all we have to do is just do it again.

Actually, now it’s saying that the status of that last one I did that said it might have failed, it says it actually is good. So I’m going to add a little note to this thing, “prior to upgrade to WP 4.0”, okay so there’s my note. Then what I’m going to do is come over to my plugins and I’m actually going to upgrade my plugins first because I don’t have plugins here that are not going to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Just looking at all of these things here, I think except for NextGEN I can update these all together and then I’ll upgrade NextGEN separately. You can choose to update plugins one at a time, you can update plugins in a group, you can update all of your plugins at the same time. Relatively innocuous, uncomplicated plugins I generally update all together and then the more complex plugins like NextGEN for example, I will do separately.

Okay, according to this we have finished updating our plugins. Now what we’re going to do is update WordPress so I’m going to hit Update Now, it’s going to toss me out. Okay, so now that I’ve logged back in I’m looking at 4.0 and I still have some more updates. You can see this little thing here that need to be done so I’m going to go look at those updates and mostly they’re all themes.

Now, you may say to yourself well, why do I need to update these, I’m not even using them. You need to update them because they still can be opportunities for hacking your site. These things get updated in order to you know, often the updates of the older themes are security updates so you don’t want them sitting there if they aren’t up to date and in fact, once we get this done I’m going to delete a couple of these because there’s also no reason to have say more than 2 or 3 default themes in place.

There’s a benefit to having some default themes in place because the default themes give you the ability to sort of double check whatever theme you happen to be working on and I guess the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to delete 1.8.2, I’ll keep 1.8.5 but I’m going to delete 1.8.2 and 1.8.3 and I’m going to delete Twenty Ten and I’m also going to delete Twenty Eleven.

So I have 3, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen. I have 3 different default themes and then I’ve got the 2 most modern versions of Thesis so I should be good to go here with that. Then there’s one other thing that needs to happen and it’s not immediately obvious but BackupBuddy needs to be updated. Right now, BackupBuddy is using 3.1.6.2.

Well, that’s what happening on here which means that this version of BackupBuddy is so old that it’s not even saying that we need updates. So what I’m going to do is delete BackupBuddy and then update to the latest version of BackupBuddy and you have to log in to your ithemes account to get the latest version of BackupBuddy. Okay, craziness, I’ve never seen this version of ithemes.

Usually, if you log in to ithemes it takes you to your own well, just let’s just log out then that’s fine or what happens if I click on that? No. Back to ithemes, log in, okay and then my password. Okay, well there it is, there’s my member panel and so you’re going to download it from here. I’ve actually already downloaded it I believe, I’ll do it again anyway, BackupBuddy 5.0. Okay and then come back over here and go to plugins and I’m going to just deactivate BackupBuddy.

Now, if you’ve got a version 4 or later it’s going to show you an automatic update but between version 3 and version 4, their licensing system changed and so there’s no automatic update between this version 3.1.6.2 and 5 and in fact, your site was mentioning that the plugin was up to date that’s because the licensing system for it is old. Then we’ll come back over to Add New, upload, choose the file, there’s the BackupBuddy folder.

Now it should just save or maintain all of the original settings, we’ll take a look just to make sure but it saved all those settings. Okay, now let’s just get the license on it right while we’re here. I’m going to go ahead and automatically update their quick releases so I’ll save my settings and then I’m going to come down to BackupBuddy and go to BackupBuddy Settings just to make sure my old settings are set.

So I’ve got my ImportBuddy password that’s set, that’s the wrong email address though. Number of local backups to keep, I’m just going to keep 5 and then we’re not going to exlude any database tables, we’re going to look here at Directory Defaults to exclude and there’s nothing in here to exclude, this is all fine except for cgi-bin so all of that stuff got saved right.

Now, what I’m going to do is come back over to my backup and I’m going to back it up one more time. We backed it up before everything was updated and now we’re going to back it up afterwards so we’ve got a nice clean place to go back to. So I’m going to go to a complete backup and now you can see it looks entirely different than the original one did. Okay, so it’s found all that stuff, it’s getting ready to start it.

Backing up the database, zipping up the files, verifying the backup integrity, okay so there it is. I’m not going to download it but I am going to come back over here and I’m going to add a note to it that is “Backup after upgrade to WP4.0”. If something else fails I can get back to where we are right now easily. So that’s the correct installation procedure – do a full backup first then upgrade your plugins then upgrade WordPress then upgrade your themes then backup again.

Jacky, did I just answer your question about where to find the stuff in BackupBuddy, the directory? You said, “In BackupBuddy where do I see the directory that it is backing up?” I’m not sure if I give the correct site name. Okay, good.

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