Ever wondered how to upgrade WordPress? Want to know what WordPress 2.5 looks like and if you should upgrade? I’ll kill 2 birds with one stone in today’s hack…

Today’s hack is more of a tutorial and a guide. First, many people ask me how to upgrade WordPress to a new version, because they’ve never done it. So, in response is a quick checklist of “what-to-do” and how easy it is to upgrade your WordPress installation. In addition, since the latest version of WordPress (2.5) is such a MAJOR release, I’m also going to go over everything you need to know about it so you can decide if you should upgrade now or not.

Sometimes I wait quite a few months before upgrading to the latest version of WordPress because I use so many plugins and I want to be sure I don’t have any conflicts. Also, I had read so many reviews that said “wait” or “I don’t like the changes”. I guess since I’m admidst my 30 Days of WordPress Hacks I feel I owe it to my readers to upgrade to 2.5 and be sure that all my hacks don’t have any issues in the latest version of WordPress.

If you are considering upgrading from a previous version of WordPress to 2.5 – first look at the WordPress 2.5 Plugin Compatibility List. See if the plugins that you use are on the “working plugin” list, but more importanly see if there are “conflicting plugins” that you can’t run at the same time, or if you use anything in the “non-working plugin” list. If you use a plugin with issues, go to the author’s plugin page and see if there’s an update, or at least an announcement of some kind when it will be 2.5 compatible. You could always email the plugin author. Now you have to decide whether you can move on and upgrade without it (for now) or wait to upgrade to 2.5 until later. Another possibility is, you might even be able to look through the working plugin list and find a suitable replacement that does the same thing.

So, if you decide to upgrade to 2.5 (or any version), here’s what you do:

  • Visit WordPress.org and download the latest version of WordPress
  • Unzip the file to your desktop, you should have a folder named “wordpress”
  • Connect to your site in FTP and download a copy of all your files “just in case”
  • Backup your database (“dump” a copy you can copy or download) in your webhost control panel
  • Connect to your web site in FTP, and upload all the files in the “wordpress” folder to the root of your web site, copying over all the existing ones. Don’t worry, this will not overwrite your existing theme or plugins in any way *unless* you are using the default WordPress theme (Kubrick)
  • Once the files have uploaded, immediately go to your browser and bring up www.yourdomainhere.com/wp-admin/upgrade.php. You should get a page saying your database needs to be upgraded for the new version, just click on it (one time), and once it’s finished you’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.5!
  • Login to your WordPress dashboard to see what’s new!

When you login to WordPress 2.5 for the first time you’ll find that the dashboard has been revamped quite a bit. Please keep in mind when you view *my* screenshots that I have a *lot* of plugins intstalled, and you might see a thing or two that you won’t have in a regular WordPress 2.5 install. I’ll try to point out my “extras” as I go along – you may want to add them as well…I’ll going to show you exactly what I saw right after upgrade, in fact I’m writing this post as I do the upgrade, so you’re going to get my first hand views and thoughts of WordPress 2.5.