Updated: March 27, 2020
DO NOT UPDATE THE NEW VERSION UNTIL YOU READ THIS FIRST!
On March 31st, WordPress is planning to release a major update. WordPress 5.4 will have lots of new features and changes, which brings the potential to break your site if you are not careful updating. If you want to read more about the WordPress 5.4 changes, click here.
Before You Update to WordPress 5.4
Now more than ever it is very important for you to be careful when updating to this new version. There is a good chance that this update will break your website or blog, and if you don’t handle it the right way and in the correct order you could… break your site.
Whether it’s a major release or just a regular update, I always recommend my clients wait several weeks before proceeding to update either The Genesis Framework or WordPress itself. NOW is the time to wait! This allows time for the software developers to work out any issues the release may have so then you’ll have less chance of having issues when you do proceed with the update.
Whether you do it now or later, here are my recommendations for proceeding with the update to Version 5.4:
1. DISABLE AUTOMATIC UPDATES:
WordPress has the ability to automatically push certain updates to user websites. Some of these auto-updates have also become an inherent part of each WordPress installation. So, with this new WordPress version coming out, it’s a good idea to disable WordPress auto-updates NOW! And while we are at it, disable any automatic updates, using a plugin called Easy Updates Manager by Easy Updates Manager Team.
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.
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 always a good idea. If you don’t already have a backup plugin installed, I recommend installing the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore Plugin by UpdraftPlus.com and David Anderson.
Under settings, I recommend a FREE DropBox account for your remote backup storage location with weekly file and database backups, keeping 3 backups at a time. Keeping more than that and you may have to upgrade to the Dropbox Plus paid account.
Once you have the plugin all set up, please run your first backup NOW.
IF you already have this plugin or another backup plugin installed, run a new backup NOW before proceeding with the updates.
3. UPDATE ALL PLUGINS AND THE GENESIS FRAMEWORK FIRST:
Make sure that all of your Plugins and The Genesis Framework are updated and ready for the new WordPress release. The better Plugin and Theme developers will have their software updated and tested before the release but there will be some that have not been updated and those can cause issues.
If you’re not sure, research to see if the plugins are 5.4 ready. If you can’t find any information, I recommend contacting the developer to see if they can help.
Plugins first, the Genesis Framework second.
4. UPDATE TO WORDPRESS 5.4:
If you’ve done as suggested in number 1, 2, and 3 above, you can go ahead and click that update button to WordPress 5.4 (when it’s been released)!
Once you’ve completed your 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 the update because it will be harder to narrow down any issues later, so spend the 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 and wait another 1-2 weeks before you try updating again.
NOTE 1: As of today’s date, there is a new Genesis Framework update to Genesis 3.3.1. By the time WordPress 5.4 is released, you should feel comfortable in updating any plugins and The Genesis Framework BEFORE moving on to waiting the 2 weeks to update WordPress. Plugins first, then The Genesis Framework.
NOTE 2: I can NOT guarantee that even after waiting the 2 weeks that the WordPress 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 this or any updates.
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