Step 1 – Backup
Before you make ANY major changes to your site, make a manual backup. Even if you have it set for automatic backups, you’ll want to get a fresh one. Be sure to do a complete backup, not just your database.
This is something you’ll be doing several times and you want it to be as easy on you as possible. My backup plugin of choice is BackupBuddy. If you have questions about the best ways to do this step, get this free report on 14 backup plugins and storage solutions.
Step 2 – Update Plugins
You’re going to do this step at least twice, and that is as it should be. You’ll want to bring all of your plugins up-to-date prior to updating WordPress. This is to ensure the best chance of them working through the switch.
Step 3 – Check Your Site
Go poke around your site and ensure that everything still works. Be sure to check your sidebar and any other place you might have custom items or those that rely on plugins, especially any that you just updated.
Step 4 – Backup Again
Now that you’ve verified everything already on your site is updated and working, do another full backup.
Step 5 – Update WordPress
Okay, time for the big one, update WordPress to version 3.5.
Step 6 – Check Your Site
Ensure that everything is still working on your site.
Step 7 – Backup Again
You know the drill by now.
Step 8 – Update Plugins
Hang out for a little while and see if you get any notifications to update plugins. You may be wondering why you need to do this twice. Since the release of WP 3.0, core files have been added that many plugins rely on to run. This is great because each plugin no longer has to supply that code making plugins lighter and load times faster. But, every time WordPress is updated, the plugins have to keep pace. So, once the plugin detects your new version, it may want to lighten it’s load. You may continue to see update notifications for a few days.
Step 9 – Check Your Site
Do a final inspection of your site to ensure that everything is working properly.
I realize the procedure above is lengthy, but it is the safest way to upgrade your site. Put it this way, it may be long, but is far shorter than trying to recover your site if something breaks. If you have to do the quick and dirty, follow this checklist:
- Full backup of your site
- Update plugins
- Update WordPress
- Check your site
- Full backup again
I hope this checklist has helped you successfully upgrade to WordPress 3.5. You’ll want to check out the new media uploader right away, as that was a big ticket item for this upgrade. See my short video on the Beta version of you have questions on how to use it.
I’ll be making new videos for the next couple of weeks and updating the BlogAid WordPress Library. Did you know there is a Starter section with all of the videos you need to get going with WordPress?