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WordPress pre-update checklist to help avoid any problems

WordPress gets a major update about twice a year. If you’re responsible for doing the upgrade here’s a pre-update checklist for WordPress to help you identify any bugs that will get in the way of a flawless update.

The main point of the checklist is to reduce risk of failure by helping you identifying potential issues and roadblocks and give you confidence in a fast update process.

A second point to remember is the cost of not running the update – staying on an older version of WordPress can expose you to security issues which are fixed in the new update and also make it harder at a later time to run an update.

Pre-Update Checklist – Points to consider before starting the WordPress Update

1. Database upgrade fails – Install my plugin, then backup and export your SQL database before starting the update.

2. White Screen of Death (WSOD) – do you know what to do if there is a failure during the update?

3. Time of Day – when is it best for your visitors and your colleagues to run the update? The update may only take a few minutes but if something goes wrong, make sure you’ve set aside at least an hour.

4. Theme conflict – check if your theme has an update before you upgrade. Theme and plugin conflicts are

5. WordPress Maintenance Page – do you have this ready to turn on before starting the update?

6. What’s changing – have you read the release note and other blogs to get an idea of what is changing?

7. Understand Why you need to keep updating WordPress – Security, Bugs and other issues are good enough reasons to keep WordPress up to date.

8. FTP / SSH / SQL & Server Account details – do you know how to access the server hosting your site? what about PHPMyAdmin?

9. Can you run the update on a local or development version of your website – improve your confidence and run the update on a local or dev version.

WordPress 3.4 RC2

The second release candidate for the next version of WordPress 3.4 is here and the project team is hoping to go live next week.

WordPress 3.4 what you can expect

WordPress 3.4 has had a couple of beta releases and 1 RC – so this is getting close to the finished product.

WordPress 3.4 has some cool features – including Theme customisation which kind of like a WordPress Getting Started Wizard.

Should I update to this release candidate?

As this is a release candidate you shouldn’t use this on any live site – but it does mean it’s pretty stable and useful.

To install the release candidate you need the WordPress beta updates plugin and then just go to your updates sections.

WordPress 3 2 Updates

Before you update any live site – backup

This is very easy to do from any logged-in wp-admin page – but you should always follow a simple process like this:

  1. Make sure you have a current WordPress database
  2. Enable your Maintenance mode page.
  3. Disable any / all plugins
  4. Run Backup
  5. Run update
  6. Update any plugins that also got updated
  7. Enable all plugins that you need
  8. Check for any bugs or other issues
  9. Disable your Maintenance Mode.

If you’re still stuck … get in contact and I’ll be happy to help you out. Perhaps you’re interested in setting up your own WordPress site or blog

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Linkage

WordPress.Org

Change your WordPress Multi-Site Domain URL

I’ve just finished changing my domain name URL for my WordPress multisite. After running WordPress as a network for nearly 2 years and managing a number of other WordPress sites, domain changes should be easy to do (but over time things get more complicated).

WordPress multisite adds a layer of complications – if you just want to update the domain URL for one of your blogs, then check out Domain Mapping plugins.

It’s fairly easily to modify the domain names for a WordPress single stand-alone install. Just go look at your WordPress settings.

Before you change your WordPress Network URL

Changing the website domain can be complicated and you need access to DNS domain management tools as well as feel comfortable with using PHPMyAdmin and editing SQL tables.

If this makes you squeamish, then you’ll probably be better of setting up a new instance of WordPress with the new domain and importing / starting from a clean install.

SQL

  1. Always make an EXPORT of your SQL database using DBC Backup 2 BEFORE you do any of this or you will break your website. Yes, break your website as in 404, 503, database connection errors, redirects and worse search engine errors!
  2. You’ll need to use a MySQL editor like sequelpro or SQLyog. Editing with PHPMyAdmin can take too long.

DNS Records

  1. Remember to update your Domain Registration and remove any redirects or unpark the new domain you’ll want to use.
  2. Add the * wildcard sub-domain redirect for your new URL.
  3. Do delay by a day or do this on a slow traffic day if your DNS records take time to ‘flush’.

ISP Host

You’ll need to check and configure redirects for your Host Provider. If your hosting provider has CPANEL you’ll want to check Add-On Domains, Redirects and Sub-Domains.
You want to check that newsite.com is pointing to the same folder as the oldsite.com, look for something like
public_html/oldsite.com
and make sure your new domain is also mapped to this folder.

Let’s Go Change your Multi-Site Network WordPress Site URL

wp-config.php

You only make one change here the value of

Domain_current_site

from oldsite.com to newsite.com

[php] define( ‘DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE’, ‘damiensaunders.com’ ); [/php]

Note … adding the hack in wp-config for SiteURL or HomeURL doesn’t seem to do anything here.

wp_options

You make 2 changes here

siteurl

and

home

from oldsite.com to newsite.com

wp_blogs

WP standalone doesn’t have this table. You need to change the domain value for every single one of your blogs. I’m lucky, I’ve only got 10 blogs to change.

You need to look for and change

siteurl
home

for each of your sub-blogs.

Images, Guids and other things

Once you can login – Install Search and Replace plugin and do a ‘sweep’ of your website for references to your old site name.

Be very careful with you Search and Replace ….

don’t just replace http://oldsite.com with http://newsite.com  because your manual changes should have done this.

don’t replace oldsite.com with newsite.com as you’ll break folder paths etc.  e.g. if your folder path is public_html/oldsite.com/wordpress then you can’t do a search & replace.

don’t change the GUIDs unless you know what you are doing!

Google Analytics & Adsense, Adwords, Feedburner

Once you’ve changed your domain name you need to update your Google Analytics and other web-tracker accounts. If you run Adwords you probably have 1/2 a day before Google will recognise and disapprove your ads.

SERP, SEO & Google Webmaster Tools

Now’s the time to read-up on 301 redirects and .htaccess rewrite rules. Afterwards, submit your new site map via Google Webmaster Tools and also follow the options to migrate your old URL to the new URL.

HELP – it’s all broken

Well no – it’s not all broken. You just have to figure out where things were changed that stop stuff working. In the first place, check your database options and look for the changes you made – maybe you overwrote URL’s in too many places.

If you need help — then email me

LINKS

Change the Site URL – multisite

What’s the RSS Feed for a Custom Post Type?

WordPress introduced custom post types allowing creative and technical types to do more then just write pages and posts. Your websites main RSS feed doesn’t include custom post types — but custom posts do have their own unique RSS feeds which you can use.

What’s the RSS feed for custom posts?

The custom post rss feed looks like this

yourwebsite.com/feed/?post_type=yourposttype

So a link to my Presentations would look like this

http://damien.co/feed/?post_type=portfolio

Linkage

HT WordPress.org

WordPress Security make sure you update today

When ever there is a security update for WordPress you should always update your blog and website as soon as possible. According to Kaspersky one of the reasons that the recent Flashback Mac OSx Trojan malware infected 600,000+ computers was due to infected WordPress websites.

So how did this happen? When developers build you a website there typically is no time or budget left over for maintenance and updates. This means websites can be left running on old versions of WordPress with known security issues and these can be exploited by hackers.

Even worse – for customer usage, the ability to update WordPress can be locked off from the backend or these messages can be hidden.

The message is clear – always, always, always include maintenance and support in your WordPress projects.

WordPress 3.3.2

WordPress 3.3.2 is here … and it’s not to be confused with the 3.4 beta releases. Being a point release, you shouldn’t expect significant changes.

WordPress 3.3.2 is a security release, which means it’s critical that you update your site. The release note for this

  • Media Upload – the Flash Uploader and the newer Plupload have been updated
  • Vulnerability where a site administrator could deactivate network-wide plugins
  • Cross-site scripting vulnerability when making URLs clickable and in redirects after posting comments in older browsers, and when filtering URLs.

How to Update Safely

This is very easy to do from any logged in user page –  but you should always follow a simple process

  1. Make sure you have a current WordPress database backup
  2. Enable your Maintenance mode page.
  3. Disable any / all plugins
  4. Run update
  5. Update any plugins that also got updated
  6. Enable all plugins that you need
  7. Check for any new issues
  8. Disable your maintenance mode

Having Problems with this update? then read 3 steps to recover from WordPress website killers

STILL NEED SOME HELP? THEN I’M AVAILABLE TO HIRE

If you’re still stuck … get in contact and I’ll be happy to help you out. Perhaps you’re interested in setting up your own WordPress site or blog

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