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Wordpress upgrade

Posted on 2014-04-15
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Last Modified: 2014-04-18
Hello,

I got an email that it is recommended that I upgrade my Wordpress to 3.8.3. Should I be concerned in doing the upgrade? Will there be downtime? What if the upgrade crash my existing Wordpress? The reason I ask is because my website is in production so I'd like to minimize the downtime. Thanks
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Question by:leblanc
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by:Ryan Smith
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Upgrades fix holes and bug that hackers can exploit.  What version are you running now?  if your running a recent version like 3.x then you should be fine.  The biggest problem is some plugins might not work.

If your running wordpress 2.x then I would be worried.  If you need someone that can backup your site and db I know a guy.  Or you can install a plugin :)
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by:Loganathan Natarajan
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If it is required to update, you have to be careful in doing this. You must take backup source & sql data. also you should consider to update manual or auto upgrade.

Still, you can ignore the update, it it is not required for the site.

(Ed. Note: Irrelevant links removed ~Ray)
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by:leblanc
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I have 3.7.3
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by:Ryan Smith
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I've worked on hundreds of WordPress sites and never once seen an upgrade bring a system down by clicking the upgrade button.
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by:Ray Paseur
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As a practical matter, WordPress vulnerabilities appear in plug-ins and widgets.  The Wordpress platform itself is fairly stable.  Wordpress also has a dependency on the version of PHP on the server.  If you keep things at the current levels (PHP 5.4+, WordPress 3.8+) you should be OK.  It's always a good idea to try to stay with current releases.  

It's also worth considering the source of the email that said you should upgrade.  Did it come from someone you know and trust?  If not, you might wonder...
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Jason C. Levine earned 125 total points
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Should I be concerned in doing the upgrade?

Generally, no.  WordPress core upgrades come in two versions:

1) Major releases (3.8 to 3.9)

2) Security patches/maintenance releases (3.8 to 3.8.1, 3.8.1 to 3.8.2, etc.)

As long as you are on a recent version of WordPress, appying a core update or a patch should not be a cause for concern.  The platform doesn't change all that much from recent to recent and nothing should stop working.  The major releases tend to do things like change the layout of the admin back end or add/change methods for doing various things (3.8 changed the widget screen fairly dramatically, 3.9 changes how images/media are handled) and these changes can be disconcerting.  The patches are applied automatically as of 3.8 and you never notice them.  

Will there be downtime?


Assuming your ISP is not powered by hamsters on treadmills, upgrading WordPress takes about 10-15 seconds.  During that time, the site will be inaccessible and users will get a message that "Site is down briefly due to maintenance" during that time.

What if the upgrade crash my existing Wordpress?

They shouldn't but it is possible.  Prior to performing a major upgrade, you should back up your WordPress database and the wp-content folder in case you have to roll back.

I will disagree with Ray slightly and say that you should upgrade WordPress so long as it is recent to recent. Even the major upgrades fix security issues in the core and those issues are what attackers ultimately exploit via poorly coded plugins.  My rule of thumb is four versions of recency and you are probably safe to go modern.  So if you are running 3.5, upgrading to 3.9 should not cause issues. Anything older than 3.5, and I would get a consultant involved to help you do this without problems.
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