Ever since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve been using the same word press version of software. (I think). I can’t even tell you which version it is because I don’t know where to look for it. I might have upgraded it once when it was an easy automatic upgrade but when WordPress version 2.7.1 came out, I stuck with my old installation. Version 2.7.1 basically required a re-installation.
Having worked in the software field I know how important it is to backup your database before doing an upgrade. Never wanting to take the time to do it (plus I’m not real comfortable backing up databases) I kept putting it off. Luckily, I found a nice tutorial on WordPress.org on how to backup my database.
I have other smaller blogs with fewer posts so I managed to upgrade those pretty easily. I arranged them in size order and upgraded from the smallest to the largest. When I got to this one, I froze in my tracks! What if I blow it? What if I accidentally erase the wrong file? What if my computer crashes mid upgrade? What if, what if, what if?
A WordPress Upgrade Helper
I drove myself nuts for a day or two with what if’s. Then I found this nifty little plugin called Maintenance Mode which allows you to display a splash page so your readers know that you’re working behind the scenes and that the blog will be back up and running soon. One of my concerns was how would the blog act during the upgrade.
I installed maintenance mode plugin, activated it and then upgraded my software to the latest version. WordPress automatically updated the database to run perfectly with the new installation and I was good to go. All I had to do was deactivate maintenance mode. It really was rather painless.
The Real Reason for the Upgrade
I know there are all kinds of security reasons and bug fixes and other reasons why one should upgrade to the latest version of WordPress. The reason why I did it was for ease in picture uploads.
With the earlier versions, I had to upload my images using an FTP program and then manually type the image location in the post in order for an image to display. With the upgraded version, all I have to do is select the image from my hard drive and viola, the image is loaded. Earlier WordPress versions had the functionality, but it just wouldn’t work for me.
The good thing about the new version of software is that future upgrades should be seamless. I believe they have some sort of a built in function to make upgrades easier. I’m not an expert on WordPress nor am I an expert on installations but there is a guy, Alex Syseof, who does a great job of helping me with my WordPress issues. He doesn’t know how much he helps me, but I follow his blog How to Spoter.com from time to time when I’m stumped or need the real scoop on WordPress features. If you want to know about the latest plug-ins etc. his blog is a must follow.
Why This Post?
There is a two-fold reason for this post:
- If you put off upgrading your WordPress blog because you’re afraid you’ll screw it up, don’t be. It’s really not so bad.
- If you are ever going to do anything behind the scenes and you want to take the site down for a while, the maintenance mode plug-in is a nice plugin to use (Word of Caution: Don’t check the box that says “Deny non-administrators to access the blog’s back-end” under the Plugin Settings tab. I did that and after the upgrade, I was unable to sign back in. I had to delete the plugin to access my blog again).