How to Safely Upgrade Your WordPress Site [VIDEO]

How to Safely Update WordPress

Upgrading a WordPress site can be a simple, safe and quick process.

It can also be a nightmare.  🙂

What it becomes, depends on how you upgrade.

Major upgrades (version that go 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, etc.) are something to be taken seriously.  They are the ones that might conflict with your plugins and/or your theme.  Sometimes these conflicts are minor and sometimes these can cause serious issues (like not being able to login to your WordPress admin panel).

In this WordPress training video, I’d going to show you how I upgraded

Here are some quick, basic tips you can take from the video…

1.  You don’t have to upgrade the second a major upgrade becomes available.  It’s OK to wait a week or two (or three!).

2.  If a minor upgrade pops up (3.3.1, 3.3.2, etc.) you should be fine to upgrade quickly.  These are minor security patches.

3.  If there is a problem with your upgrade, it’s normally your theme or your plugins.

  • Is it your theme? Contact the developer or use Google to search and see if others are having issues.  You can even install a new test version of WordPress, activate the theme (no plugins) and see if it looks good.
  • Is it your plugins?  Deactivate all your plugins, then reactivate one by one… checking to make sure the site is working before activating the next.
4.  ALWAYS… ALWAYS… ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP!  Backing up your site (database & content) is the best insurance you’ll ever have.  If an upgrade doesn’t go as planned, you can always restore your backup and try again.


(Watch How to Safely Upgrade WordPress on YouTube)

I’m also curious to hear what your thought about the new video style.  Is it better than the standard slides/screencast style?

As always, I’ll be glad to try to answer any questions… just leave them in the comments below!

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Leave A Reply (25 comments so far)

  1. Duane Ford
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer,

    Just wanted to say, I like the new format. Seeing you and what you’re doing makes the experience more personal.


  2. GraphicsTuts
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer – I happened to be in the neighbourhood when the Blog post came through…

    This is very interesting. In the past I gaily upgraded, never backed up because I didn't really know how to and didn't think that things could go wrong. Ignorance is bliss – LOL

    What a great video – so useful to see it in real time. As for the style? Yes, an interesting question. I think it makes the video much more personal, but for me, it jumped around a little too much. Perhaps seeing you at the start, maybe half way through and then at the end?

    PS. BTW – what is an incognito window? I shall have to Google it.

    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Hey Caroline! ALWAYS backup… you never know. 🙂 Thanks for the tips on the style. I wanted to bring in a more personal touch and still keep an active interest… sometimes it can get boring looking at a screencast. As for incognito… I use them constantly. They\’re great when I want to view the WordPress site without having to logout.

  3. Rick
    8 years ago

    Hello Mercer

    Good post and an excellent presentation style format, although… I agree with Caroline a little about the jumping around the viewing angles and… also agree with you that plain screencasts can be slightly staid, I’m sure there’s a happy medium to be found – overall I like the video commentary style though.

    Yikes!! also like Caroline I have, until now, just clicked the automatic upgrade for WordPress and my existing plugins (but I’m still building my site).

    Thanks for the post and your continued very useful advice.


  4. trish
    8 years ago

    I’m all about content and cutting out ‘fluff’ just to extend video time but you don’t do that at all; I really love your tutorials and have just bought the videos to download having watched every single one.

    Just out of interest, are you ‘Chris’ or ‘Mercer’ lol; I thought Chris was your first name and Mercer your second!

    For me personally, this was a great video, different style from all the others I’ve watched recently and it served the purpose today. I love to get to the meat and learn and the screencast ones do that perfectly. They are truly content and value loaded and whilst it’s great to see you every now and then (Chris/Mercer:)), I want to watch, pause, implement and it’s easier (for me) with screencast.

    Can I ask a couple of questions please? What is the ‘caching plug-in’ that speeds up loading and also how could I get my ads to sit side by side like yours. I have 250px wide ones, but would far rather have 2 x 125px like you have?

    Thanks again, brilliant


  5. Andrew Tudor Jones
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer,

    I much prefer the new format of video you are using.

    The only thing I would say is the actual shots of your screen were a little difficult for me to see, as if they were distant, not a close up shot.

    Some great info, I usually do wait a little while before updating but I don’t usually disable plugins etc. I can see how it would be a good idea to do this though.


    Andrew Tudor Jones.

    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Thanks Andrew… I appreciate the feedback. The actual screen shots should have taken up the entire size of your screen. Were you able to view it as \”full screen\” and in HD?

  6. Cheryl
    8 years ago

    I love the new Video,,,I also Messaged you a message on FB so make sure to read it. Thanks for all you do Im learning!!

    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Thanks Cheryl! I\’ll check FB now…

  7. Ellie
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer.
    I've been behind in so many things. Not a good way to start the New Year! LOL

    I like BOTH styles of videos. But it's always nice to have a person connected to a voice. Some of the videos are short, sweet, easy to understand and to act on. I think that's vital. At the same time, you had a lot of info to share that just using the typical slide presentation would have seemed to long. By having you speak directly to us, I think it kept our attention between screen activities.

    So I vote for continuing both styles, depending on the info you need to present. GREAT JOB! Your ability to explain things to the newbie is awesome. But even more so, your knowledge is invaluable to those of us who may have been using WP for a long time.

    Keep up the great work. And yes, I'll make it a point to go back and review some of the videos I've missed in the past month.

    Wishing you a 2012 spilling over with deLIGHTful surprises. Warmly, Ellie

    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Love the feedback Ellie! Thanks again and have an OUTSTANDING 2012!!

  8. Andy Moore
    8 years ago

    Excellent post, Chris. I was thinking of talking to you about this within the next week.
    I have backed up just the other day and will do so again before Upgrading.

    Thank you so much for your videos. They really are exceptionally well explained.

    Best Wishes to you,


    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Thanks Andy… You know where to find me if you want to chat!

  9. Andy Moore
    8 years ago

    Forgot the styles…

    Quite frankly I like the screen casts and I like seeing your handsome face too.
    I remember thinking while watching you: so that's what he looks like.
    It's quite often good to see the speakers face while explaining important points.
    Then the screen for the showing bit. So a mixture is good IMHO.

    Cheers, mate.


    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Great feedback… thanks again Andy!

  10. Davina
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer,
    As always, the content of the video is very useful.
    With regard to the new format I think giving the viewers the chance to see you is agreat way to build a relationship with your audience as it provides some of the non-verbal communication which makes us trust, and relate to a person.
    It is a case of 'ok so this is the face behind the voice, it is a real person' etc.

    In this video I would have preferred to see you at the beginning of the video, maybe once in the middle and then finishing off at the end. I found it a little distracting moving from the screencast to one shot of you then another.
    I know you were not doing anything on screen at the time but it did break my concentration and I would have preferred to continue looking at the screen cast. I love the use of screencast as one can show whilst telling as occasionally just using words complicates matters.
    A combination of seeing yourself, slides and screencast is probably the right mix.

    I am also interested in how you were able to use 2 cameras, then a screencast and put it all into one video. I presume it is all in the editing. Also what camera and audio equipment are you using?

    I for one would find a video on how to do what you have just produced ie using a camera and then switching to screencast, extremely helpful. Any chance of making one?
    Keep up the great work you are doing, Davina

    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback Davina! I\’m starting to really like the idea of the beginning, middle, end concept as well. PLUS it\’ll be a lot easier to edit. 🙂
      Speaking off, yes… the magic is all in the editing and I\’ll have a product out on that a little later in the year. As for equipment, I used a flip camera mounted on a tripod (you\’ll see it in some of the shots) and a webcame mounted on a monitor (which you\’ll see on the other angle). I used an external mic (large gray thing you\’ll notice in the shot) but also had a lapel mic connected to a digital voice recorder as backup. Finally, I used a screen capture software (from Applian). Then I put all the feeds into Sony Vegas and went at it! All in all I went from hitting recording to uploading a finished video in about 3 hours.Not bad for a first time crack at a new format.

  11. Rick - XTREME I.T.
    8 years ago

    Hi Mercer, the format is great and entertaining! I like the 2 camera edit and screen capture. Very easy to watch and understand the content. Don't change a thing..

  12. Laura Jacobson
    8 years ago

    Hey Mercer!

    I really liked your new style of video! It was very nice to put a face to the voice I always hear.

    My only comment is that I was slightly distracted from what you were talking about because I was looking around your room, looking at what was on your white board, looking at the video cameras set up, also noticing your keyboard and two screens, etc…. goodness… I'm not ADHD, but I am a detail person which is likely why I was distracted by all the visual things I saw. Is there a way to modify that part so we only see you? Just a friendly suggestion, but otherwise, I think it's a great idea for relationship[p building and trust.

    Thanks for your great content as usual ~ You rock!


    • Chris Mercer
      8 years ago

      Those are great suggestions! I do have a 3-fold screen I can try to use as a consistent background (in fact, I used to use that in other videos) but I also like the idea of people being able to do EXACTLY what you did. Whenever I watch a video I like to see the office, see how it\’s put together… especially what\’s on their Whiteboard. 🙂 I\’ll probably do a combination of both and see how it goes. Thanks again for the feedback!

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