WordPress is actively developed by the good guys at Automattic. When ever they feel the need to fix any bugs or vulnerabilities in this amazing CMS, they release an update to WordPress. All WordPress users can then update their installations to stay protected and to fix those bugs. Also they keep on adding new functionalities and release major versions for e.g. WordPress 3.0. In this article, you’ll learn how to manually upgrade WordPress.
wordpress update
There are two ways to upgrade/update WordPress. One is automatic update and second is the manual method to update. No doubt automatic update method is the most used method. All a user needs to do is to just click on the button “Update WordPress”. This is by far the most simplest and easiest way to update WordPress. But some users may face problem in automatic update and if you’re among them then just follow the below method to manually update WordPress.

How to Update WordPress Manually

The first step before updating your WordPress installation is to check minimum requirements page. Three important requirements for installing/updating WordPress are:

  • PHP 5.2.4 or greater
  • MySQL 5.0 or greater
  • The mod_rewrite Apache module

If your webhost meets these requirements, then its time to proceed further. It’s a good idea to backup your database just as a precaution if something goes wrong. Now that we’re prepared, follow the below process:

  1. Download the latest version of WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file.
  2. Unpack the zip file in your computer.
  3. Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host (through your FTP or cPanel file manager).
  4. Using FTP or file manager, upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories to your web host, overwriting old files.
  5. Do NOT delete your existing wp-content folder. If you’re using the default themes and plugins, then just replace those files.
  6. Upload all new loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing WordPress root directory. If you get any notification, then just click on “replace”.

To describe the above process in just one sentence – replace all the old WordPress files with the new ones in the wp-includes and wp-admin directories and sub-directories, and in the root directory (such as index.php, wp-login.php, etc). Don’t worry your wp-config.php (which is the main configuration file) will be safe. Also there’s no need to replace wp-content directory as it will just contain latest version of default themes and plugins. If you don’t use default themes and plugins, then there’s no reason to update them. Or if you want to update, then you can do that from WordPress Dashboard > Updates. If you’ve customized the default theme, then don’t update the theme as your changes will be lost.

Next, open your website and you’ll be prompted to “Update your Database”. If a database upgrade is necessary at this point, WordPress will detect it and will point you in the right direction. Follow the instructions. This will update your database to be compatible with the latest code.

If you’re using caching plugin, then empty the cache to reflect the changes. That’s all you need to do to update WordPress installation manually.

One thought on “How to Manually Update WordPress”
  1. Thank you kindly. Your explanation was clear and concise… just what I needed. I was trying to do an automatic update of my site from WordPress 3.0.1 to 4.0

    I ran into permission problems and there did not appear to be any good answer to fix it… until I found your page.

    Thanks again,
    Austin, TX

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