WordPress upgrades are an important part of regular website maintenance. The process can sound a little daunting at first, but it’s really pretty straightforward, especially with the use of some third-party tools that make the process even easier.

Here’s our recommendation for a WordPress upgrade process that works.

1. First back up your site using BackupBuddy.

There are many other WordPress backup options, but we like BackupBuddy the best. Before you make any upgrades, you will want to do a full backup of your site. Trust us on this. We’ve seen clients try to skip this step, and it’s not always pleasant. Even if you’ve done successful upgrades without backups before, we recommend a backup every single time.

2. Upgrade everything, including WordPress, plugins, and themes.

As you work through the upgrade process, you want to be sure that every piece of your site is upgraded. You’ll need to upgrade plugins and themes separately from the main WordPress software. Be sure to allow plenty of time for upgrading your site, especially if you have lots of plugins installed.

3. Back up your site again.

Once the upgrade is complete, back up your website again so you have a backup of the most current version. It’s a good idea to save this backup separately from your backup in step number one, just in case you need to revert to anything from the prior version.

4. Check every page of your site.

If your site has hundreds of pages, this step might not be possible in one sitting, or at all, but we recommend checking every type of page at the very least. If your site is around 50 pages or fewer, we recommend checking every single one. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s the final step in making sure nothing’s broken. Review the page layout and images, test the forms to ensure they still work, and check the search functionality of your site.

While these four steps can take some time, that little bit of time invested is absolutely worth it to ensure that an upgrade goes smoothly and you have a backup of your site if needed. In fact, we recommend regular backups for every site, although the frequency needed will vary depending on how often your site content changes.

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