Updating a WordPress website – the smart way.

I will start this post asking, have you read my post on how to backup your WordPress website? If not, do that first.

Your website is now backed up? excellent – let’s get on with updating your website.

I personally prefer to start with the WordPress core backup as often, plugin updates are released due incompatibility with the new WordPress release.

If you have an issue that is triggered by a WordPress core update, I would recommend you start by restoring your website from a backup and contacting a WordPress developer, like myself to help you through the issues you are facing.

If you have successfully updated your WordPress installation – congratulations you are half way there to an updated WordPress website!

The next step is to tackle the installed plugins. Depending on how many you have installed, this can be a quick process, or a horrendously long one.

If you have an out of the box theme, chances are you have plugin overload – which is understandable as your theme needs to flex to different industries and business requirements depending on business needs. If you have made the choice to have a custom developed WordPress theme, such as the ones I develop you will find this task significantly easier and lower risk.

First of all I recommend you never, ever select all plugins and update them all at once. Updating plugins should be a step by step process with checks completed after each update.

I like to start by avoiding the plugins that can cause disaster such as …

  • WooCommerce
  • Page Builders (Visual Compose, DIVI etc)
  • Theme

The above plugins can be main elements that power your website or eCommerce, often if they ‘glitch’ your website will go down completely.

Update each plugin one by one. Before you update a plugin you should know what it powers. When I say that, you need to understand WHY that plugin is in your website so you know exactly where to check after the update.

Follow these simple steps each time you update a plugin, and before you update the next:

Step 1) Update Plugin
Step 2) Check Page(s) where this plugin outputs or affects content
Step 3) If it is eCommerce related, check through the entire sales process e.g. Cart, Checkout
Step 4) Once you are happy nothing ‘broke’, start back at Step 1 for your next plugin.

HOT TIP: When testing WooCommerce associated plugins, if you are unsure how to use Sandbox mode, I usually switch on COD payment options briefly so you can proceed through the entire sales process without monies changing hands.

Uh oh! My website broke…
Updated a plugin and hit a white screen or PHP error? You may need to disable the plugin or change the theme via your cPanel/Hosting account. Please take a read of my I broke my WordPress website when I updated it – now what post to quickly and easily restore your website. Or contact a WordPress developer, like myself to get you back and up and running quickly.

WordPress developer in Melbourne - Jaffe Websites