It’s important that you always keep your WordPress website updated. But do you know whether you are doing it properly?
Quite often I hear of website owners who hastily update their own site and run into problems they could have prevented beforehand just by taking a few precautions.
Here’s a pre- and post- update checklist you can use to ensure you update your website properly, whether it’s the core part of WordPress, your theme, or plugins.
Pre-WordPress Update Checklist
Step 1: Check your system requirements and compatibility status
Whenever you update WordPress’ core, check WordPress.org’s Requirements page to ensure your host supports the required versions of PHP and MySQL.
If you’re updating any plugins, look at the compatibility status according to the author. The status gives you an idea of whether the new plugin update is compatible with your current version of WordPress. Depending on the compatibility status, you may choose to wait until it’s tested out. Or, you may choose to apply the update and see if it works well with your site. The choice is up to you.
Step 2: Create a Backup
There’s a chance that something can go wrong when you update your website. So having an up-to-date backup is imperative because it allows you to rollback any changes if necessary. Either create a manual backup on your own or make sure you can get your hands on an automatic backup that your host creates.
Step 3: Perform Updates
Now, you are ready to install your updates to your website. Whenever I have a lot of plugin updates to preform, I try to do them one or two at a time. That way, if something goes wrong, it’s easy for me to pinpoint which plugin is the specific issue. Otherwise, when you do multiple updates all at once, you may find yourself having to undo all the changes and perform each update one at a time anyway to figure out the issue. So, save yourself the hassle and do a few updates at a time.
Post-WordPress Update Checklist
Immediately after your updates are complete, go through this post-update checklist to ensure all is well with your website. Sometimes WordPress updates are quick and easy, and other times they can break your website. So it’s best not to assume that everything is okay, only to find out that your website was down, or not working to its full capacity. These are the things I check after I update either my own or my client’s WordPress website.
Step 1: Review your pages
Does your website look the same? Is your content showing up as intended? Sometimes after theme updates and plugin updates involving page builders, you may see your website display differently. If you see an issue, refer to the note I give below.
Step 2: Test Your Website
Now, it’s time to test out the functionality of your site. The very first thing I check is… the contact form. Sometimes updates can cause your contact form to suddenly stop working. You don’t want to miss out on a potential client looking for your services.
- Send a test message through your contact form
- Place an order through your store (if applicable)
What To Do If Something Goes Wrong
First, don’t panic. If you created a proper backup before installing the updates, then the worst case scenario is that you have to use that backup to restore your site to its previous working state.
Second, take note of the issue. Write down the error message if one is presented, because that notice may expire or disappear even if the issue is still present. Remember to also take screenshots of the pages affected by the recent updates.
Next, if you’re the DIY type, Google search your problem. Since WordPress is a widely used platform, you are bound to find a fix, especially if it’s a common issue that others have experienced before. I’ve found the answer to my problems by searching forums, looking at YouTube videos, and reading WordPress related blogs written by gurus.
Yet, if you are not the DIY type, you should consult a professional designer like me. If possible, you should try to restore your last backup so that your site is operating correctly again until a professional can look at it.
Need Assistance With Your WordPress Updates?
WordPress updates happen often and can be quite difficult to keep up on a regular basis, especially when your running your own business. That’s why I offer WordPress Maintenance services for those that don’t want to deal with the hassle of updating their own website.
Hire me to do your updating, so you can stress less.