For each WordPress update released, I will note specific recommendations, if any, and provide additional insight in regard to any new features and functionality. Bookmark this article (Press Ctrl + D to Bookmark this page) so you can come back each time there is a new WordPress release.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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Table of contents
- WordPress 5.7 “Esperanza”
- Important Considerations with this release…
- WordPress recommends your host supports:
- But first…
- Step-by-step WordPress Update Instructions
WordPress 5.7 “Esperanza”
Bringing you fresh colors in the admin, simpler interactions in the editor, and controls right where you need them, WordPress 5.7 lets you focus on the content you create.
With this new version, WordPress brings you fresh colors. The editor helps you work in a few places you couldn’t before without getting into code or hiring a pro. The controls you use most are right where you need them. Layout changes that should be simple, are even simpler to make.
Font-size adjustment in more places: now, font-size controls are right where you need them in the List and Code blocks. No more trekking to another screen to make that single change!
Reusable blocks: several enhancements make reusable blocks more stable and easier to use. And now they save automatically with the post when you click the Update button.
Inserter drag-and-drop: drag blocks and block patterns from the inserter right into your post.
Important Considerations with this release…
I always hold off on major releases (5.7vs. 5.6.X) to see if there are any bugs once the software is out in the wild. If you remember, 5.5.2 had an immediate release the very next day due to unanticipated issues and 5.6 caused older sites that had not kept up to break.
You can download WordPress 5.7 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.
WordPress recommends your host supports:
- PHP version 7.4 or greater.
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater.
- HTTPS support.
WordPress Updating Tips
WARNING: The upgrade process will affect all files and folders included in the main WordPress installation. This includes all the core files used to run WordPress. If you have made any changes to those files, your changes will be lost.
When updating WordPress themes or plugins following the simple steps below can save you some headaches. First off, do a quick double-check with theme and plugin developers *before* updating.
You want to review if they have any concerns or comments about your theme and the new version. Some theme shops may ask you delay updating if their testing reflects issues they need to address first.
You may then be advised to update your theme before, updating WordPress. The benefit of using a quality premium theme and plugins means the developer(s) are always on top of this.
If you are ever unsure about how or if an update will impact your website, you can always do a dry run in your staging area. Check out my article: What's a Staging Site and Why Do I Need One?
Step-by-step WordPress Update Instructions
To help you safely and easily update to the most recent version of WordPress, let's do a little housekeeping first:
Save your Database and WordPress XML file off-site.
For your XML file click on the Tools icon in the left sidebar and then Export. On the next screen click on Download Export File.
You might want to create a new folder on your hard drive where you keep all your website files. Name it WP Backup so you know to save all backup files for WP there (and you'll know where to find them if you need them).
It is a good idea to back up this file once a week/month anyway regardless if an update is needed. If you post more often, backup your site more often. I have my calendar marked to do so each Friday so I don't forget.
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Backup Your WordPress Database
If you are on a Managed WordPress Hosting (aff) platform, go to your hosting Dashboard and create a backup-point there. Then download a copy. On most WordPress Managed hosts you can create a “backup-point” in your hosting dashboard.
If you are on shared hosting, there is a nifty plugin that makes this process a no-brainer, UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin. This plugin is also a must have for repairing and optimizing your database (which you should be doing minimally monthly to keep things running smoothly).
FTP into Your Web Server and Download that Backup
If your host doesn't offer a way to download that backup from within your hosting dashboard, we have to go directly into the server. We need to have copies off your server. That backup won't do you any good if the server crashes or has issues.
Even better, store the backup file in the cloud or on an external drive in case you have computer problems.
Cover All the Bases
Download your theme/framework/child theme folders to your local hard drive. This is just good practice if you have customized any theme files. Better yet, download your entire wp-content directory.
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It is a good idea to review my article:
WordPress How To: Do the Mother of All Backups
Don't forget to update your plugins. You'll see with each WordPress update that plugin developers also update their plugins which you can also do with one click. You'll see the nag bar under the plugin name in the plugins area with a link to “update now.”
If you find after an update that something is not working as it was you have a couple options.
- Easily restore to your last backup. Managed WordPress hosting makes this easy.
- Troubleshoot for conflicts. I have an article for that: How to Easily Troubleshoot Your WordPress Website for Conflicts.
When it comes to plugins, if the developer is not testing his/her plugin to work with the lasted WordPress version, find another plugin whose developer is on top of these things.
Always Backup and Update Promptly
Updating should not be ignored or put off. Every update includes security hardening and that's why hackers always target sites that are not maintained.
When you promptly process WordPress updates and stay on top of Premium Theme and Plugin updates, you not only are in step with technology, but you make sure your site is secure and has the best chance to function error free.
At your service,