How to Manually Update WordPress

This tutorial will show you how to manually update your WordPress site. There are many steps, and the auto-update feature of WordPress works typically with few issues, but if you need to do this process manually, this tutorial will aid you.

Begin the process by backing up your site first. Backup your current site data by going to Tools > Export.

WordPress admin menu: Tools

Export your site contents and use that file to import the data in-case of installation failure and your site crashes.

Also take time to download all of the files of your site, especially any outside of the wp-content directory. After downloading, you may zip the files to keep them together and save space. Between these files and the XML file export, you should be able to restore your site if there are problems.

Prepare for the Upgrade

To prepare for the upgrade, you should create a maintenance file and download the latest version of WordPress.

WordPress automatic updates initiate a maintenance file, an HTML file with information that the site is in Maintenance mode and will be offline shortly. You can create one easily in a text editor by doing the following:

  1. Create an HTML file with content that alerts visitor to the site’s maintenance mode.
  2. Save the file as index.html.
  3. Upload the file to the root directory of your web host server.
  4. Uploading uploading it will overrule the index.php file and be active.
  5. To “deactivate” the maintenance file, rename it from index.html to index.maintenance. When you wish to use it again in the future, rename it back to index.html.

Go to WordPress.org and download the latest WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file, and unzip it to its own directory/folder.

  1. Update WordPress Themes: Either manually or using the auto-update feature, update all WordPress Themes. If you have Themes you are no longer using or need, consider deleting them.
  2. Updfate WordPress Plugins: Either manually or using the auto-update feature, update all WordPress Plugins. If you have Plugins you are no longer using or need, consider deleting them.
  3. Deactivate WordPress Plugins: Some manual installation methods recommend disabling WordPress Plugins, then turning them of again after the update. This is optional, but highly recommended.

The next step is to replace your existing WordPress files with the new ones.

Replace Your WordPress Files

Installing WordPress manually involves uploading files from your computer to the web server. While it might work to simply upload the files and replace the existing files, glitches in the Internet connection could result in partially uploaded files or file uploading errors. It is highly recommended that you manually delete the files before uploading to ensure a better chance at a clean upload, thus a clean update.

Ensure you protect and do not change the wp-config.php or .htaccess file and other files necessary for your site to function beyond WordPress files.

  1. Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host using an FTP client or Shell access.
  2. Upload the new wp-includes folder and wp-admin. (Do not delete your existing wp-content folder, and only delete directories that you are going to replace.)
  3. Upload any remaining loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing WordPress root directory, protecting the wp-config.php, .htaccess, and other critical files not part of WordPress.

Run the Update

In a web browser, enter the address of the site followed by update.php such as http://example.com/wp-admin/update.php. This will run the update for WordPress to ensure any modifications to the database is complete.

Go to WP-Admin > Plugins to reactivate WordPress Plugins if you deactivated them.

If you have problems logging in, try clearing your cookies.

If your old site is still showing and you have caching enabled, you may need to clear the site cache.

If for any reason you can’t figure out how to complete your installation please view the WordPress Codex page for the extended upgrade instructions.

You can also restore your backup and replace the WordPress source files from your old version by visiting the release archive.

For More Information on Manually Installing WordPress

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