Updated: June 1, 2020
It’s VERY IMPORTANT to keep your plugins, the Genesis Framework, and WordPress Version up-to-date, and in that order. Updates happen when developers release security patches, add extra functionality, and performance improvements. Security issues or a bug in an old version of any of these three can affect your whole site. The top two reasons for sites being hacked are insecure passwords & outdated (vulnerable) software.
Equally important is WHEN and HOW you update, which is outlined below in detail. To summarize and to dig the point in, The Genesis Framework AND WordPress should be updated about 2 weeks AFTER a new version is released. This is great advice from WordPress Developers and Experts! This allows time for testing and for any issues to be resolved, which they do very quickly. But 2 weeks is a good wait time. When both of these awesomeness have updates at the same time, the Genesis Framework should always be updated first, then WordPress.
PRO TIP: Try to log into your dashboard at least every couple of days just to make sure everything is up-to-date.
When & How to Update
Here are my recommendations for proceeding with any updates, following in this order no matter which one needs to be updated:
1. DISABLE AUTOMATIC UPDATES:
Due to the recent MAJOR WordPress update to version 5.4 (April 2020), I am now recommending that you disable any automatic updates that you currently have enabled on your site. As I previously wrote on this post, WordPress has the ability to automatically push certain updates to user websites. With this new WordPress version, it is now a good idea to disable WordPress auto-updates for its Version Updates and any automatic Plugin updates using a plugin called Easy Updates Manager by Easy Updates Manager Team.
How to Use the Easy Updates Manager Plugin:
Install and activate the plugin. On the same page, which is the plugins listing, click on the “Configure” link under the Easy Updates Manager Title, which is the only place to get to the settings options. Next, make sure that you see GREEN on all options listed on the very first left-hand side. All the way down, GREEN. This disables all automatic updates so that you will have to manually update WordPress, Any Themes, the Genesis Framework, and Plugins, which is always good, especially in this case. At the bottom under Notifications, type your email address and click on the Save Email Addresses button. And that’s it!
Before doing any update, I highly recommend that you run a full backup of your site, which should include both the database and all files. If something goes wrong during the update, you can restore the backup immediately with no or very minimal loss or disruption.
Most hosts already have a backup system in place for their customers. You can contact your host to see if they can help by running you a new backup before you complete the update.
HOWEVER, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t have all of your eggs in one basket, so having another backup safely in an offsite location is key. If you don’t already have a backup plugin installed, I recommend installing the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore Plugin by UpdraftPlus.com and David Anderson.
How to Use the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore Plugin:
Install and activate the plugin. Under Settings / UpdraftPlus Backups / Settings tab, I recommend doing a weekly backup keeping 3 backups at a time for the File Backup Schedule and the exact same for the Database Backup Schedule, weekly backups keeping 3 backups at a time. Under Include in Files Backup, tick Plugins, Themes, and Uploads and tick Any Other Directories Found Inside wp-content. Under Email, tick the box so that you will get an email report every time a backup is run. In the email you will be notified of a successful backup and any unsuccessful backups, so please read each email you get. After placing in the options, scroll to the bottom and click on SAVE CHANGES.
For the remote storage location, I recommend using a FREE DropBox account for the weekly file and database backups, keeping 3 backups for each at a time as instructed above. Keeping more than that and you may have to upgrade to the Dropbox Plus paid account. Open a new browser window and register for your free account and keep yourself logged on.
Back on the WordPress plugin settings page under Choose Your Remote Storage, click on the Dropbox icon and scroll down to the bottom and click on SAVE CHANGES again. Scroll back up to the same area and under Authenticate with Dropbox, click the link and follow the instructions to authenticate your Dropbox account with UpdraftPlus. If you have any problems, please contact me and I’ll try to help you.
2. UPDATE PLUGINS:
Always update all plugins first. Plugins can be updated as soon as new versions are released.
To update any plugins go to: Plugins / Installed Plugins and click on the “Update Now” link under each plugin that needs to be updated.
3. UPDATE THE GENESIS FRAMEWORK:
The Genesis Framework should be updated about 2 weeks AFTER a new version is released. This is advice from StudioPress Developers and Experts! This allows time for testing and for any issues to be resolved, which StudioPress developers do very quickly.
If you aren’t sure when the update was released, you can always go read the StudioPress Blog OR make a note of when you first noticed the available update and go 2 weeks from there. I often do this when I’m too lazy to go check, LOL
To update the Genesis Framework after a 2 week wait go to: Dashboard / Updates and tick the box to the left of the Genesis update and then click on the “Update Themes” button. Do not leave the page until the update is completed.
4. UPDATE WORDPRESS:
WordPress should be updated about 2 weeks AFTER a new version is released. Again, this is advice from WordPress Developers and Experts! This allows time for testing and for any issues to be resolved, which WordPress developers try to do very quickly.
If you aren’t sure when the update was released, you can always go read the WordPress News Blog OR make a note of when you first noticed the available update and go 2 weeks from there. Again, I often do this when I’m too lazy to go check, LOL
To update WordPress go to: Dashboard / Updates and tick the box to the left of the WordPress update and then click on the “Update Themes” button.
Once you’ve completed any updates, it’s very important to thoroughly test your site to make sure everything is working as expected. Do your testing as soon as you’ve completed updates because it will be harder to narrow down the issue later, so spend some time going through all areas of your site to make sure there are no issues. If you find you have issues but can’t narrow them down, you can always restore your site with the backup you completed. Try updating again another day.
6. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR SITE BREAKS AFTER UPDATING?
Remember that backup you created? You can always roll back your site to before the update if something goes wrong. Then start the updates again and this time, test after each item is updated FIRST before moving on to the next so that you can narrow down which plugin or theme update caused the issue.
Update plugins first, then the Genesis Framework, and lastly WordPress!
PLEASE NOTE: I can NOT guarantee that any update will go smoothly. Some problems may still arise. You take updating at your own risk. I am not responsible for any problems that may arise from completing updates.