WordPress upgrade by hand

I received a email from my own blog.  Yup, wordpress@paranoidprofessor.com, which is actually pretty amazing as that email address doesn’t really exist.

The content of the mail was as follows.

Please update your site at http://blog.paranoidprofessor.com to WordPress 4.4.1.

Updating is easy and only takes a few moments:

If you experience any issues or need support, the volunteers in the WordPress.org support forums may be able to help.

Keeping your site updated is important for security. It also makes the internet a safer place for you and your readers.

The WordPress Team

I indeed had not been paying enough attention and I didn’t want to run an unpatched system.  I am also glad that the system is clever enough to pay attention to upgrades and inform me when they are missing.

The idea that I could update my blog by simply running the update-core.php script sounded a bit too good to be true.  So, I did all of the things that you should recommend to someone getting ready to “upgrade software”.

  • dump the database
  • use wordpress export script
  • backup wordpress file system

Not to be anti-climatic but the script actually didn’t work.

I cannot blame WordPress for this.  My setup was manually setup in a virtual environment and it is not even properly recognized by the environment manager Plesk.  So I went through and did it the old school – from the command prompt.

I would go through and describe it blow by blow but actually this is much better described by wordpress.org.  Yet, other than the backing up I would recommend perhaps a few extra steps.

  1. don’t work in the actual directory itself, create a work copy
  2. perform all update steps in the working copy directory
  3. shutdown your web server
  4. rename the current directory to new name
  5. rename the work copy to your actual directory
  6. start up your web server
  7. finish the upgrade process

Why?  Well, if you need to look anything up you always have the original directory, and your site will only be down for a few seconds.

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