Why and How to Update WordPress

You may not realize how important it is to update your hosted WordPress website, theme, and plugins until it is too late – and has cost you time, money, and given you a major headache. WordPress is a wonderful free, online, open source website CMS (Content Management System) that will serve you well, but because it is free, online, and open source, it is more vulnerable to online hackers. So just as you keep your anti-virus software on your computer up-to-date, you must also keep WordPress up-to-date. And if you see any suspicious behavior (like redirects from your site to other sites or multiple emails getting sent through your contact form), call Evolv right away to get it resolved quickly. Once you are hacked, there are a number of steps that you cannot take without our help.

To keep WordPress up-to-date just follow this 3-step process:

  1. Backup WordPress manually JUST IN CASE something happens.

    If your site is hosted on WP Engine or Siteground, then automatic backups are done nightly and you should proceed with the updates in the morning BEFORE you make any content changes that day. Otherwise, if your webhost does not do automatic backups then you should install a backup plugin to perform a manual backup of both the website files AND database. Also, make sure you have routine backups scheduled daily/weekly/monthly or manually depending on how often you update your content. This will also save you when/if you get hacked.

  2. Update WordPress BEFORE updating your plugins.

    WordPress will notify you in the backend on the Dashboard page with a yellow notification bar at the top as well as in the sidebar for plugin updates.

    Note: Before you update, make note of the version you are updating from so that we will know what version of WordPress to restore if something goes wrong. If you have a version prior to 2.7.x or 1.5.x then you may have to update incrementally or manually so please contact us to do so for you.

    Just click on either link and you will be taken to the Updates page where you will simply click the Update Now button for WordPress. IMPORTANT: Test to make sure everything is working properly. If you find one of your plugins is not working, there may be a conflict with the WordPress update — see next step.

  3. Update WordPress plugins/theme. We recommend you update your WordPress plugins ONE AT A TIME and test in between each update so you know if there is a plugin conflict. Also, make note if a plugin specifically mentions a conflict with updating, but realize that not all plugins keep up-to-date with this info so they may just say Compatibility Unknown. IMPORTANT: Again test to make sure everything is working properly.

If you get notified of a theme update from theme vendor directly from ThemeForest/Envato, etc. (with no automatic update option offered to you in backend), you will have to:

  1. Download zip file from vendor, and then unzip to ensure the files match the file structure of your parent theme files on server.
  2. Connect to your server using FTP software and navigate your way to the /wp-content/themes/[parent-theme folder]. MAKE SURE NOT TO REPLACE CHILD THEME FOLDER FILES OR YOU WILL LOSE ALL STYLING!!!
  3. Upload all files to parent theme folder from your local hard drive to server via FTP.

    NOTE: This type of updating is not an easy task for just anyone and can easily screw up your site. Please try to get a developer to work on this or ask Evolv to do for you.

If you want Evolv to do your updates for you every week, please notify us. See details at the bottom of our WP Engine post (linked below).

WP Updates package for $12/mo

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