Keeping your WordPress installation and plugins updated is an important yet annoying task. Following and the news on WordPress releases, monitoring the versions for the dozens of  plugins installed, and then going through the upgrade can be very time consuming, especially if you’re running a few blogs. This post includes a few tips and ideas on how to make the WordPress installations and plugins upgrade easier.


WordPress up to date using a plugin

Consider using the InstantUpgrade Plugin. Although it might be scary to have some program do the whole upgrade automatically upon a new release – it usually works quite well  :

There’s no doubt about it: Upgrading is annoying. You must download the new version, unpack it, delete the old files, copy in the new files, run an upgrading routine.

Now for WordPress users, much of this is obsolete. The InstantUpgrade plugin provides is a easy and safe way to upgrade your WordPress automatically with a single click! (It is to say that it needs some preparations, though.) You can upgrade to the latest WordPress version, or you can upgrade to a version of your choice.


WordPress up to date using a PHP script

Aaron Brazell of Technosailor wrote a PHP script that will take care of the upgrade for you. Use this with extreme care. You can either execute as any other PHP file, running PHP from your shell or using a PHP-shell, executed as a cron job etc.

I mentioned before that I run WordPress trunk and that every day, the auto upgrade script runs, upgrades this blog and sends me a detailed email regarding the upgrade. Not only does this help me keep track of changes from revision to revision without having to go browsing the repository, it gives me a handy reference in case I have to roll back.


WordPress up to date using a shell script

You can use most of of the upgrade scripts with PHP-shell. K’s blog has a shell script that will do upgrade your installation automatically-

The script is very simple:

  1. Download the latest WordPress archive from the website
  2. Uncompress it to a temporary location
  3. Migrate all of the themes, plugins and uploads
  4. Copy over wp-config.php
  5. Back up the old version
  6. Move the new version into the proper folder

Not exactly right? try Harper’s script

So I was thinking, I hate upgrading my wordpress. I hate it. I agree 100% with Matt Cutts about how wordpress has one of the most clunky and cruft creating upgrade process. So annoying. And it gets even more annoying when you are doing it with 50 blogs. stupid friends. hah. So awhile ago I created this script which basically lets me just execute a small number of commands to upgrade a wordpress blog.

Or maybe Techtites’ :

For those who have shell access upgrading WordPress can be a lot less painful and this guide hopes to set you establish just that. I upgraded three installations in less than fifteen minutes. It would have been faster but I am sure I saved a great more time had I to do it the hard way!


Other small WordPress upgrade issues

A few additional suggestions :

  • Whatever you choose to do, it is recommended that you run an automated backup of both your WordPress database and files.
  • Don’t use Fantastico for automated upgrades, or better yet – don’t use Fantastico at all.
  • recommends that you disable all the plugins before every upgrade. To quickly do that use “1 Click to Stop & Start Plugins“.


WordPress plugins up to date

Now plugins is where it gets REALLY complicated. The Update Manager plugin used to do a really good job, though recently started playing around with turning their API off/on:

Update Manager is a new WordPress admin plugin that helps you keep your plugins up to date. This helps to ensure you always have all the latest bug fixes, security patches and gadgets at your fingertips.

If that’s not working, try PlugInstaller WP plugin which uses a alternative method:

PlugInstaller is a WordPress plugin-management plugin that eliminates the need to download a plugin archive, upload it to your FTP server and unpack it manually. With PlugInstaller, you can easily enter a plugin URL (e.g. directly from a plugin repository website like the plugin repository) within the admin interface which is in turn automatically downloaded and installed on your server or you can upload a file from your local file system which is also automatically installed.

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6 Responses to Top methods for keeping your WordPress installation and WordPress plugins up-to-date

  1. Ilan says:

    what happens if I use the hebrew version of WP?

  2. fiLi says:

    I really don’t know much about the Hebrew version, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t work. I bet Hanit from Dakar has something to say on the subject.

    From what I’ve seen, the way WordPress is translated is a bit awkward. You can upgrade Drupal from 5.0 to 5.1 without having to worry about the Hebrew translation, but it doesn’t work that way for WordPress. That’s a real shame.

  3. I’d be very reluctant to use a one-click upgrade program to update WordPress and plugins, there are soooo many things that can go wrong along the way, especially if you have modified your theme and tweaked plugins etc.


  4. fiLi says:

    I say try it once and see how it goes. I was surprised how well some of those work with most of my installations.

  5. Well, it’s a thought, but what if it goes screwy and I have to rebuild, that’s potentially more effort than the time saved, perhaps.


  6. I’ve had a total rethink on this and tested with WordPress Automatic Upgrade (which not only automates the upgrade but does database backup along the way). Very slick and easy and re-enables all plugins too. I reviewed it here for those interested in my further thoughts on one-click upgrading of WordPress

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