Problem with WordPress Upgrade

Wordpress LogoI think about 50% of my websites are built on the WordPress platform, while I use Dreamweaver for the others. I am not a programmer, and at best, I am a novice developer, so I like WordPress because it’s easy to operate. One of the best aspects of WordPress can also be one of the most frustrating. Whenever WordPress rolls out a new version, or a plugin is upgraded, WordPress lets the publisher know that the newest version is available.

The notice is in a spot to ensure that people upgrade, since security patches are generally a big component of upgrades. It isn’t distracting, but positioning of the notice makes you feel like it’s very important to install the new version, whether it actually is critical or not. All you need to do is click the “Please upgrade now” notice, and you are taken to a page where you can easily upgrade to the newest version with the click of the mouse. Sounds simple, but it can cause major headaches for you.

With a custom designed website residing on the platform, an upgrade that goes wrong can lead to problems, which aren’t always obvious. Despite having an issue a few months ago that was the result of an upgrade gone wrong, I decided to take a chance and upgrade to WP 2.9. I had recently backed-up the entire site, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if things went haywire.

The day after upgrading, I found that a post missed the schedule, which was an issue that happened last time. I did some testing (changing to the default theme and turning off the plugins), and I had the same issue. I got in touch with my designer, and he did a bit of research on the issue. Luckily for me, he found a thread on the WordPress Support Forums, where several people complained of the same issue. In a few minutes, my designer found the potential solution, which worked for my site.

The same type of WordPress problems can exist with a plugin upgrade, patch installation, or other WordPress upgrade. Before you are tempted to upgrade, make sure you back-up your full website. If you do run into a problem, do a Google search to find others with the same problem so you can either diagnose it or find someone who can diagnose it and remedy it for you. It’s great that WordPress makes it easy to upgrade, but it can cause you problems if things don’t work out as expected.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I have found that waiting a while for upgrade bugs to be identified, reported and corrected is a good strategy.

    Also, just upgraded from Internet Explorer 7.0 to 8.0. And was surprised to see a number of unexpected changes in the display of my websites. IE 8.0 forced me to realign some tables and text within tables. Particularly text which was positioned vertically in the middle had to receive the html tag: valign=”middle” to achieve the same result.

  2. E: Do you know if when you subscribe to weekly backups you are getting the whole site or not? Of course it’s on the old version.

    I also find plug-in upgrades problematic because you press upgrade but then get a list that asks you to activate or delete or check all- and then you start getting asked questions after that sometimes that are too technical for me. Any ideas or experience here?

    It’s also trying to have multiple sites and having to go through the upgrades manually for each one every time a new release comes out. Do you know if there’s a bulk upgrade tool?

  3. For all the benefits and pluses of having WordPress available to develop websites, the constant need to upgrade not only the WordPress version but all the plugins too can be a minus compared to html sites. Seems like there’s a new WP upgrade every other week – and most of them warn you that it includes a security fix. Scare tactics?

    Nothing is foolproof. I’ve struggled/hassled with a couples WordPress based sites after upgrading a few months back. It can take hours of searching for fixes and implementing them. If you have dozens or hundreds of sites all this upgrading can be a full time chore. And MM’s point about throwing in browser updates and their affects on existing code … it’s a double full time chore … [/venting]. No wonder parking has been the preferred domainer path.

  4. @ Owen

    If you are only doing weekly backups, I’d recommend changing that.

    We backup everything on our server every single night including all the databases.

    @ Bill

    Yes it is a royal pain in the ass when you have hundreds of customized WP sites to upgrade and definitely a full time chore.

  5. Updating is important for sure. I do recommend that everyone update as soon as possible, as the old versions of WP often get hacked. I’ve had a few of my “neglected” sites attacked with PHP injections, and let me tell you that is not fun at all to deal with.

    Thanks for the post!

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