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Lesson 14 – Part 4 – How to Upgrade Plugins

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What to Upgrade?

The next thing that we’re going to do is talk about upgrading plugins. Upgrading plugins has a procedure and it has become quite a bit more robust than it used to be. It used to be that we could update a plugin, it would fail, your site would crash and it was a big pain in the butt. Nowadays, I have very rarely does automatic upgrade not work for me. When you are coming to upgrade your plugins, this thing up here tells you what upgrades you have to do.

If you click on this, it shows you that there are 6 things that need to be upgraded. If you look at that, we need to upgrade WordPress, we have 2 plugins and we have 3 themes that want to be upgraded. I’m going to start by updating the plugins and we’re going to start by actually going over to the plugins. You can see what the details of the upgrade here by clicking on the details and you can see what has changed since the last time.

Backup Before Upgrading a Mission Critical Plugin

This is the Akismet plugin and here is the Responsive Header Widgets plugin. If we look at the version 1.0.1 details, you see I fixed an enqueue script error which happened on the third so you can check those details. If you have any question, if your plugin is complex, if it’s a big mission critical plugin, if it’s a plugin you’ve had trouble with in the past, when in doubt, back your site up before you upgrade your plugins.

Now, most plugin upgrades go very routinely but I have a couple plugins like WishList Member, the Forum plugin and WP eStore, that are mission critical and that I never upgrade without first backing my site up so that if something goes wrong, I can immediately and quickly restore it. We don’t have any plugins that are like that here but that’s the first to say, when in doubt, backup.

Automatic and Manual Upgrades

Secondly, you really have two means of upgrade. You have the automatic upgrade which is what we’ll do here with Akismet and we simply do that by clicking this or by saying, Update Now and that has been upgraded. Then we have this one down here that I’m going to upgrade manually. Now, you don’t have to upgrade my plugins manually. My plugins will update automatically like this but I want to demonstrate how to do this manually.

The way to demonstrate that is first, I have to download the latest version of the plugin. We’re just going to assume for the moment that we have the latest version of the plugin downloaded. I do actually have it here on my site, Responsive Header Image so I’m going to come over to my Documents, My Business Website, Downloads and paste it. I’m going to extract to here and once it’s extracted, I’m going to move the extracted files over to the wp-content section here in my local machine.

There it is, I’m going to cut that, come back over to My Business Website, WordPress, wp-content, plugins and paste it. Come over here and first, I’m going to deactivate it then I’m going to use FileZilla to upload it so we come back over to plugins and now I have this Genesis Responsive Header Image. I’m going to upload, I always want to overwrite the existing files and now that that’s there, I can refresh this and there we are upgraded to this.

It’s important that you upgrade your plugins because plugins need upgrading for security purposes that is, they might find a security hole and it might need to be updated. If you don’t update your plugins regularly, it can be the case that you leave yourself open to malware intrusion. I strongly encourage you to keep your plugins up to date at all times or as up to date as absolutely possible.

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