Andy Capaloff
July 9, 2020

Do-It-Yourself WordPress Site Updates Seem Scary – Part One

Do-It-Yourself WordPress Site Upgrades

I’m an old-school techie. This may make me more dangerous than someone with little to no technical knowledge at all. Or maybe it makes me more scared. Because I know the damage that barreling in fearlessly to some do-it-yourself upgrading can cause. And this stuff is nothing like what I used to do professionally – so my old knowledge is little help.

But that fear isn’t about to stop me! It’s time to do some site upgrades and if I can do some or all myself, I’m going to. And what’s more, I’m going to keep a journal of what I do. My intention is to publish my experiences in a week or two. Hopefully, this can help some other people as to what they might just be able to do themselves.

Is Your Version of WordPress Up-To-Date?

This is the biggest and scariest of all upgrades – or may the second biggest and scariest behind a theme change. Mess this one up and you mess everything up!

If your WP version is out-of-date, you could have problems adding new plugins. You could even have problems updating some that are already installed.

Is your theme compatible with the upgrade? If not, can you easily install a new theme without having to spend a fortune on technical help?

You may also want to read: Top 8 Paid Plugins you Must Install on a WordPress Website

Whatever You Do, Start With Backup Points

I don’t know how your Host handles backup points. WP Engine – the best in the business as far as we’re concerned – makes them really easy.

From their menu, click “Backup points” (you can see it highlighted in the menu):

I think you could have guessed what to do next, but just in case: Click the pretty purple “Back up now” button.

It will create an intra-day checkpoint, like the one you see I created on July 7th. And yes, I have reverted to one of these checkpoints before. That happened when I found out that some plugins aren’t compatible with our WP theme/version combination. The sinking feeling that I had when I saw the problem, was short-lived.

Not-so-pro tip 1: If you ever need to revert to a backup point, be sure to clear your cache once the backup is complete. Again, this might sound scary, but I promise you, it isn’t. In effect, it clears out the recent memory your device has of the website. Clear the cache, and you’ll see the way it really looks now. Don’t clear it, and you’ll see what was there before, and that nasty sinking feeling you have will linger longer than it needs to!

You’ll find some version of the following under “General Settings” in your back end:

Not-so-pro tip 2: Did you notice where it says “Legacy staging” just above the backup list in the first screenshot? If you’re going to do any major work, ALWAYS do it in a Dev or Staging environment!

I hope that in part two of this, I can bring you good news and some great do-it-yourself tips. More than that, I hope you can learn from my experience, whether good or bad.

Over To You

If you have any do-it-yourself experience and tips, please leave a comment. If you’re non-technical, perfect. Our readers will relate. If you’re technical, please take pity on us and dumb down your language! This isn’t what we really do, even though we may need to do it now!

If you’ve found this article helpful and want to read part two, Click on the following link:

Tips From a Scared Dumbass: You Too Can Upgrade Your WordPress Site: Part Two

(Full disclosure: WP Engine is the fourth host we have used. It is easily the best – I mean, not even close! We wouldn’t recommend it if we didn’t love it. But if they have an affiliate link for us to share them with the world, we’ll happily use it. So yes, if you sign up, we stand to make a little money. But we promise you, they are a serious upgrade on your current provider, whoever they are!)

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Andy Capaloff

Andy Capaloff is the COO of Curatti. Prior to moving into the world of Content Marketing, Social Media Management and the day-to-day running of a Digital Marketing company, Andy spent over 3 decades in various aspects of IT. It is here that he honed his writing and technical skills, and his ability to ask uncommon questions.