How to Update to WordPress 3.2: Plugins & Advice

It’s that time again, WordPress 3.2 has just been released so it’s time to update your blog to the latest version. In this post I’m going to take a look at what you need to do to ensure this process goes nice and smoothly. Includes a checklist and some recommended plugins.

Upgrade Checklist

1. Check Hosting Requirements

WordPress 3.2 has some requirements for hosting so you before deciding to upgrade you should check with your hosting company that they meet the new minimum requirements, which are :

  • PHP version 5.2.4 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.0 or greater

Support for Internet Explorer 6 has also been dropped (thank god!) so if your currently using that, you will need to upgrade your browser, or better still choose another browser all together.

2. Export Your Site

The next stage is to save your site using the built-in export tool, this will save all your posts and comments. Go to “Tools” > “Export” and click “Download Export File”. This is so you can recreate your site should anything go wrong during the update process.

3. Backup Your Database

You should have backups configured for your blog anyway, take a look at the tutorial I wrote about using Backup Buddy to automate this process. If you do not, you can carry out a site backup using your hosting control panel or you can use a plugin like WP-DB manager to carry out the backup. This is a good plugin you can also use to optimize and repair your WordPress database.

4. Disable Your Plugins

This isn’t an essential step but is recommended as some plugins that aren’t update to work with the new version of WordPress can cause the upgrade to fail and lock you out of your admin panel. You can tick the bottom box and the use the bulk actions drop down to deactivate them all at once.

5. Automatic Upgrade

Now you are ready to carry out the upgrade, hit the “Please update now” link in the yellow nag bar at the top of your admin screen :

Click “Update Automatically” and on the next screen you will be prompted to enter your ftp details to begin the update process.

6. Automatic Update Failed

If the automatic update fails and your site is not accessible – dont panic, its a simple fix to FTP in to your site and you will see a file called .maintenance – just delete this and you can try the update manually.

7. Manual Upgrade

From the WordPress update page :

  1. Get the latest WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file.
  2. Unpack the zip file that you downloaded.
  3. Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host (through your FTP or shell access).
  4. Using FTP or your shell access, upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories to your web host, overwriting old files.
  5. Upload the individual files from the new wp-content folder to your existing wp-content folder, overwriting existing files. Do NOT delete your existing wp-content folder. Do NOT delete any files or folders in your existing wp-content directory (except for the one being overwritten by new files).
  6. Upload all new loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing wordpress root directory.

8. Enjoy shiney new WordPress

Im loving the new interface design – feels a lot fresher, there is also a number of new features which WPCandy covers in great detail.



Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!

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4 thoughts on “How to Update to WordPress 3.2: Plugins & Advice”

  1. Thanks for the info – I am curious about the automatic upgrade option you discussed. I have never seen the FTP details pane. Is that something new, or did I pre-configure my site and forgot about it?


  2. A great post, really glad I read this before updating, I always forget to back up my database before updating, luckily i’ve set WP-DB Manager to do scheduled back ups to my email address now just incase. 

  3. Great Post!  I never knew about Disabling the Plugins before the automatic update!  Great Tip.  Luckily nothing disastrous has ever happened to my updates by not doing it.  Doesn’t mean I won’t be doing it in the future though!  Thanks again!
    Jupiter Jim

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