What should I do when I want to upgrade WordPress to the latest version?

Back up WordPress

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to back up your website. This means if there are any issues you can easily restore your website. Complete instructions to make a backup can be found in the WordPress Backups section of the Codex.

Ready to Update

Now that you’ve checked that you’re ready to update, you’ve turned off your plugins and you’ve got your backup, it’s time to get started.

There are two methods for updating – the easiest is the Automatic Update, which will work for most people. If it doesn’t work, or you just prefer to be more hands-on, you can follow the manual update process.

Automatic Update

Current versions of WordPress (2.7+) feature an Automatic Update. You can launch the automatic Update by clicking the link in the new version banner (if it’s there) or by going to the Tools -> Upgrade (or Update for version 3) menu. Once you are on the “Update WordPress” page, click the button “Update Automatically” to start the process off. You shouldn’t need to do anything else and, once it’s finished, you will be up-to-date.

For Automatic Update to work, at least two criteria must be satisfied:

(a) file ownership: all of your WordPress files must be owned by the user under which your web server executes. In other words, the owner of your WordPress files must match the user under which your web server executes. The web server user (named “apache”, “web”, “www”, “nobody”, or some such) is not necessarily the owner of your WordPress files. Typically, WordPress files are owned by the ftp user which uploaded the original files. If there is no match between the owner of your WordPress files and the user under which your web server executes, you will receive a dialog box asking for “connection information”, and you will find that no matter what you enter in that dialog box, you won’t be able to update automatically.

(b) file permissions: all of your WordPress files must be either owner writable by, or group writable by, the user under which your Apache server executes.

On shared hosts, WordPress files should specifically NOT be owned by the web server. If more then one user owns different files in the install (because of edits made by deleting and re-uploading of files via different accounts, for example), the file permissions need to be group writable (for example, 775 and 664 rather then the default 755 and 644). File permissions (in general) should be adjusted as appropriate for the server environment (the shared host RackSpace CloudSites for example recommends 700 and 600 for a single ftp user, or 770 and 660 for multiple ftp users). See the file permission section for more (some files and folders require stricter permissions).

If you have customized a standard theme (Twenty Twelve, etc.), you should not use the automatic upgrade, as it will overwrite your changes – you should use a manual update instead.

If you see a “failed update” nag message, delete the file .maintenance from your WordPress directory using FTP. This will remove the “failed update” nag message.

If the automatic upgrade doesn’t work for you, don’t panic! Just try a manual update.

How do I FTP?

There are two ways of getting files onto your site, and once there, changing them.

  • By using the file manager provided in your host’s control panel. Popular file managers: cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk
  • By using an FTP or SFTP client. This guide will show you how to use FileZilla.

FTP or “File Transfer Protocol” has been the most widely used transfer protocol for over thirty years, but it does not offer a secure connection. SFTP or “Secure File Transfer Protocol” transfers your files and your password over a secured connection, and should therefore be used instead of FTP whenever possible. Most hosting providers offer support for SFTP connections, though you may have to contact them to enable SFTP on your account.

Why use FileZilla? Because, like WordPress, it is released under the GPL. So, it is not just free, it is staying that way too. FileZilla is also a stable client that works on all flavors of Windows.

Need an FTP or SFTP client for your Mac? Try Cyberduck, which is also free and released under the GPL.

The following pages will show you how to setup and use Filezilla:

Want to try a different FTP or SFTP client? Find more on Wikipedia.

How do I configure the ‘wp-config’ file?

WARNING: Before editing this page. Please, do not edit this Codex Page with the settings for your own server as you are giving the world access to your website’s MySQL password, and will not make your install work. Thank.

As part of the WordPress installation, you must modify the wp-config.php file to define the WordPress configuration settings required to access your MySQL database.

This file, wp-config.php, does not exist in a downloaded copy of WordPress; you need to create it. The wp-config-sample.php file is provided as an example to work from. Save it as wp-config.php before editing. Advanced settings and examples are provided below.

To change the wp-config.php file for your installation, you will need this information:

Database Name
Database Name used by WordPress
Database Username
Username used to access Database
Database Password
Password used by Username to access Database
Database Host
The hostname of your Database Server.
A port number, Unix socket file path or pipe may be needed as well.
If your hosting provider installed WordPress for you, get the information from them.
If you manage your own web server or hosting account, you will have this information as a result of creating the database and user.

Which license do I need to use an item in a commercial?

You only need a regular license where the end product is an advertisement. It doesn’t matter if the advertisement is for things that are being sold.

Example: Footage used in a TV commercial would only need the regular license

I’m a freelancer. Can I use the item for an end product I’m doing for a client?

You’re essentially buying the file on your client’s behalf. Whether a regular or extended license is needed will depend on your client’s use of the end product.
With both the regular and extended license you are allowed to charge your client for creating the End Product.

Once you transfer the end product to the client (eg giving them source files for the item), be sure to link your client to our licenses and delete the item itself from your computer.

Is the regular license the same thing as an editorial license?

No, our regular license is for a free end product (whether or not the item is used in the end product in an editorial way).

And our extended license is for an end product that’s sold (whether or not the item is used in the end product in an editorial way).

If you want to use an item in an editorial way in your end product, choose the regular license if your end product is distributed for free, and choose the extended license if your end product is sold to the end customer.

What is a single application?

A single application means one unique end product (which can be copied and made available to end users of that product). The end product depends on the nature of the item – for an item like a logo template, the end product is the final, unique logo, which can be used in unlimited ways. The next few FAQs explain some situations where we consider a series of related uses to be a single application.

Example: A website theme can only be customised to create one customised website. If you want to create a second website from the same theme, you should purchase another license.