Are you afraid to hit this link looming at the top of your site?

You’re not alone. In fact, most WordPress users I know stay away from updating because their afraid of what might or might not happen. I’ve seen it a lot lately. It’s not too surprising, everything from an entire site breaking, to only the backend turning white screened, to various errors and odd behavior after updating WordPress can happen. The thing is, updating protects you from security holes (heard of anyone site being hacked lately?) and often times is required for new features. Our websites are like computers now, they need updates.

Why Does It Break?!

It’s no one thing, it’s everything. WordPress is a platform that works with lots of other platforms and services, so when one of those elements change, everything involved has to be able to handle those changes. Makes sense right?

A lot of the times, updating works just fine, but there are times the core WordPress application fails, or a plugin, or some sub-element. The failure or error commonly shows up as blank white pages, or 2 or 3 lines of code at the top of a white page, and if you don’t know what happened, there’s no going backward to revert and fix your site.

What to Do

Backup. Always backup your site, database and files (those are two different things), in case you need to get someone involved to do a full site restore after a meltdown. I recommend BackupBuddy for backup.

Disable plugins first. If you head into the plugins section of WordPress, select any or all plugins and disable them before updating, it’s often the cleanest way to upgrade, be forewarned, you may need to reconfigure or setup some plugins after this happens.

Understand, be prepared. Upgrading can take literally 30 seconds, or sometimes it can take hours repairing design and technical breaks after you upgrade your site, plugins, and potentially themes. Awareness is important, if only to be on guard in case something happens and to plan accordingly. Hint: Upgrade during low traffic times.

Solve This Forever Option

If you want a set it and forget it solution, let someone else manage backup and fixing your site when updates break it so you can worry about your message and mission, not the back-end.

IT Arsenal offers a low cost one time and monthly option to keep your site backed up and updated. You check that out anytime here if you didn’t know that. Includes simple maintenance requests and friendly advice.

Here to help!