Self Hosted WordPress Upgrade – The Easy Way


There was a meeting last week with my colleagues and we discussed how to upgrade the WordPress most effective way without any issues and with least downtime. It’s available all over the internet to upgrade the WordPress sites yet I chose to post it here with my experiences after handling and deploying more than 30 sites in the last couple of years.


There are mainly two types of WordPress sites upgrade,
1. WordPress Core Upgrade
2. WordPress Plugins Upgrade


WordPress core upgrade can be distinguished in two more sections.
a. Minor version upgrades
b. Major version upgrade


As we have seen in last year, WordPress got many major and minor both upgrades and as a being system administrator, website hosting provider or as a web developer we need to make sure that site is upgraded to the latest version. Upgrading the site will not only give access to improved functionalities but also will improve the security of the site. While upgrading many people face the White Screen of Death for the WordPress or many times the upgrade process stuck at the maintenance page. If you face any difficulties while upgrading or need any clarification please feel free to ask.


Before Upgrade:
Before upgrading the WordPress Core, visit the WordPress upgrade the page and check the change log. If only a few files need to be updated, list the files, take back up from the server for those files and replace the files with the newer version of the files.


For the minor version upgrade, the WordPress structure will touch only a few folders and files. Remember, the wp-content folder is important, in any case, do not touch this for the WordPress core upgrade.


For the major version upgrade, use the following steps
1. Take backup of the complete WordPress site using any of the backup plugin (Personally I prefer All in one WP Migration)
2. Delete wp-admin folder and replace it with the newer version of wp-admin
3. Delete wp-includes folder and replace it with the newer version
4. Replace all other PHP files on the root folder
5. Delete readme.html files – for the security reason
6. Access the site from the admin panel, You may need to apply the DB upgrade.
7. After upgrade check site


With this procedure, you can update the site with no or very little downtime


For the plugin upgrades:
Disable the plugin from the WordPress backend and upload the newer version of the plugin using FTP of SSH. Activate and reconfigure the plugin if required.