The folks at WordPress announced today that they are on the final release candidate and should be making WordPress 3.3 publicly available next week. Is your site ready? I’ve been working overtime helping folks check their sites, and good thing, because they weren’t ready to update. Following is a checklist for the steps you should take to ensure your site is ready and what to expect in the upgrade.
Your first priority as a site owner is to protect your investment.
Before you make any changes to your site, do a backup. Normally I would recommend updating your plugins and theme first, but there are several changes to the core files of WordPress this time that will likely affect some of your plugins. So, for the 3.3 upgrade, backup your working site first.
Follow these tips for backing up.
- If you use an automated backup, do a manual backup just before the update.
- Backup your entire site, not just the database.
- If you don’t know if your backup plugin includes the whole site, not just your database, get a new backup solution in place immediately.
If you’re not sure that your backup solution is up to the task, download this free report on How to Backup Your WordPress Site. I’ve recently revised and expanded it, so even if you’ve downloaded it before, get a fresh copy and check your backup plugin/service against the list.
Update Your Plugins and Theme
You should be keeping your plugins and theme up-to-date at all times because it’s a security risk not to. Most of the updates don’t add functionality. They are to plug security holes. So, if you have not done so, update any plugins and your theme if they have a new version available.
Note: If some of the plugins or your theme require WordPress 3.3 to function, they may not work properly until after you finish all updates.
Check Your Site
Once you have a backup, and then have updated your plugins and theme (if necessary), check your site for functionality. Go poke around a bit, including the sidebar and ensure everything is in working order.
Now your site is ready for the upgrade. Once it completes, go back and check your site again for functionality. Here are a few things you’ll want to check in particular that may have been affected:
- Anything that uses jQuery such as an image slider.
- Plugins that display widgets in the sidebar.
- The text editor. If your theme supports it, you can now bring in the style sheet for the text editor that will make it appear the same as the text on your site. (Open it by creating a new page. You can save the page as a draft and then delete it later.)
Do Another Backup
If all is well on your site, do a fresh backup.
What to Expect Next
Since the core files of WordPress changed in a way that will affect several popular plugins, expect to see a bunch of them updated shortly after WordPress 3.3 is released. Check your plugin functionality after every update, then do a fresh backup.
Also, since the new default text editor can now pull in the style sheet of your theme, expect to see many themes updated to take advantage of it.
Note: Many current themes do not support this function yet. It requires a special file with a style sheet just for the editor. Hopefully it will become a new design standard.
If You Need Help
This video shows you all of the new features in WordPress 3.3. I’ve been working with the Beta versions for some time now and I really like all of the changes.
Find this video helpful? See more free videos on the Resources page.