How to Update WordPress: Complete Guide

How to Update WordPress: Complete Guide

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If you are looking for advice on how to update WordPress , you are in the right place. The process isn’t a big deal if you’re updating the core, themes or plugins. In this post we show you how to update WordPress and all the procedures to do it without interrupting anything.

You may wonder why you ever worry about updating WordPress when you have all the features you need?

In this post we will answer this question and many others.


  • Why update WordPress?
  • What to do before the WordPress update
  • How to update the WordPress core
  • WordPress update via the administration dashboard
  • Update WordPress manually via FTP
  • Step 1: Download the latest version of WordPress
  • Step 2: Go to the main WordPress directory
  • Step 3: upload new versions
  • Update WordPress via WP-CLI
  • Update WordPress automatically
  • How to update WordPress plugins and themes
  • Conclusions

Why update WordPress?

Do I need to update WordPress? Of course, there is no doubt.

Are you wondering why you should update your WordPress site when you already have all the features you need?

Well, updating WordPress brings unique benefits like:

  • Better security as WordPress updates fix bugs and vulnerabilities
  • New features and functionality not to be missed
  • Speed ​​and performance improvements provided with every latest WordPress version
  • Compatibility with modern themes, plugins and web technologies

What to do before the WordPress update

Before pressing the update button or making changes to your WordPress site , it is important to prepare in advance for any eventuality.

Mistakes happen when you least expect it and if you don’t have a backup plan, we may end up with a broken site and a migraine right away.

To begin with, get in the habit of creating full backups of your website. .

Secondly, WordPress recommends disabling all plugins before updating WordPress manually , usually the plugin update conflict isn’t a big deal, but when it does it can make your site unusable.

The problem occurs when new WordPress changes conflict with plugins that you have already installed and activated.

After updating WordPress, remember to re-enable the plugins.

With the backup done and plugins disabled, let’s roll up our sleeves and proceed with the WordPress update.

We start with the core of the CMS and then we will deal with updating plugins and themes.

How to update the WordPress core

In this section, we examine how to update WordPress:

  • Via the WordPress admin dashboard
  • Manually through the use of FTP
  • Use of SSH and WP-CLI
  • Automatically via cPanel, wp-config.php and functions.php

WordPress update via the administration dashboard

The simplest of all WordPress update processes, that is, through the administration dashboard, is a point and click question.

If WordPress updates are available, you will be shown a notification at the top of the administration dashboard.

update WordPress

Click the Update Now link to start the WordPress update process.

WordPress takes control and puts your website in maintenance mode until the procedure that deactivates and reactivates the plugins and the download and installation of WordPress is completed.

After a successful secondary update, WordPress redirects you to the Updates screen, where you can update the theme and plugins.

theme and plugins

If it is an important version of WordPress, suppose that you are updating from version 4.9 to 5.2.3, after the update you will be redirected to the welcome screen of WordPress as shown below.

In the image above, you can see how many security issues and bugs have been fixed since the latest WordPress version.

Right now, your WordPress platform is up to date. Now update your themes and plugins.

But let’s proceed quickly and learn how to update WordPress manually via FTP.

Using an FTP program such as FileZilla is useful when WordPress updating is not possible via the administration dashboard for one reason or another.

Update WordPress manually via FTP

The ‘ manual update of WordPress is not as difficult as many think. Yes, there are multiple steps, but it’s not a very complicated procedure.

Note: To manually update WordPress, you can use an FTP program like FileZilla. All you need is access to the root WordPress directory.

To update WordPress via FTP we will use FileZilla and we will need the following host details: FTP username, password, host name and port. With these credentials at hand, we proceed to update WordPress manually.

Make preliminary preparations, i.e. backup your site and disable all plugins.

Step 1: Download the latest version of WordPress

First, go to and download the latest WordPress version available by pressing the blue Download button , then extract the archive to your computer using WinRar or WinZip .

Inside the wordpress folder, you should see the wp-admin , wp-includes and wp-content subfolders , as well as individual files like index.php , wp-login.php , wp-config-sample.php and others.

Step 2: Go to the main WordPress directory

Using FTP details, access the root directory of your WordPress site.

Once entered, you will need to move the files of the latest version of WordPress that you have on your computer to the main WordPress directory on your host.

In other words, we will replace some files and folders on your web host with the corresponding files and folders from the WordPress package you extracted a minute ago.

Important: don’t be in a hurry to replace everything inside the root WordPress directory. You can easily break your site if you do. Follow the instructions below to the letter.

Delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders that exist on your web host. If you are using FileZilla, select the folders, right click and choose Delete :

Do not touch the wp-content folder yet as your themes, plugins and multimedia contents are inside this folder.

Step 3: upload new versions

After deleting the wp-includes and wp-admin folders , you need to upload the new versions from your computer.

Access the WordPress folder on your computer via the left panel of Filezilla as shown below then select the wp-Includes and wp-admin folder , right-click and choose Upload.

Together with the new versions of wp-includes and wp-admin, on your server you will have to upload the other single files inside the WordPress folder.

This time we will not delete any files on the server, we will simply have to overwrite them.

Select all the individual files in the left panel except the wp-config.php file (which contains the configuration of your site) as shown below, right click and choose Upload.

If a confirmation dialog appears, select Overwrite and click the OK button .

Finally, go to your administration area ( ) to verify that everything is working and to update the database .

Update WordPress via WP-CLI

For this section, let’s say you have SSH access to your WordPress root directory, which in our case is public_html.

L ‘ WordPress updated via WP-CLI is divided into two steps, since it is necessary to update the database and WordPress files.

If you installed your WordPress site in a separate folder, such as public_html / your-site , your WordPress root directory is your-site

First, use the cd command to go to the main WordPress directory:

cd public_html
Then check if there is a new version of WordPress:

wp core check-update
Example of output:

+ ——— + ————- + ————————- ————————————– +
| version | update_type | package_url |
+ ——— + ————- + ————————- ————————————– +
| #. #. # | minor | |
| #. #. # | major | |
+ ——— + ————- + ————————- ————————————– +
If there are no WordPress updates available, you will see the message “Success: WordPress is at the latest version”.

Run the following command to update WordPress:

wp core update
Example of output:

Updating to version #. #. # (En_US) …
Downloading update from https: // – #. #. # – …
Unpacking the update …
Cleaning up files …
No files found that need cleaned up.
Success: WordPress updated successfully.
Now that you know how to update the WordPress core via WP-CLI , let’s see how to update everything else.

To update the WordPress database, run the command:

wp core update-db
to update the themes:

wp theme update –all
to update the plugins:

wp plugin update –all

Update WordPress automatically 

You already know that minor versions of WordPress update automatically. Did you know that you can also set to update automatically to the main versions?

If you don’t like tinkering with the code, you can set up WordPress automatic updates using a plugin like Easy Updates Manager .

Don’t you want to use plugins? You can enable automatic WordPress core updates by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file :

How to update WordPress plugins and themes

You could have problems if you leave your themes and plugins unattended during the WordPress update then go to the administration dashboard and click on the Updates menu item , a screen will open where you can update plugins , themes and the WordPress core .

Updating themes and plugins from this screen is self explanatory. Just select Select All and click Update Plugins or Update Themes to update all plugins and themes respectively.

Alternatively, you can update the plugins individually by going to Plugins -> Installed Plugins as shown below.

Note: updating the WordPress theme will eliminate all changes made, to avoid this consider using a child theme (or child theme) instead of directly changing the main theme (or parent theme).


Learning how to update WordPress helps you to perform the procedure without site interruptions. We hope this post has been helpful.

In conclusion, updating WordPress is crucial for maintaining the security and functionality of your website. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your WordPress site stays up to date and secure. Regular updates also enable you to take advantage of new features and improvements that are essential for optimizing your website’s performance.

Remember to always backup your site before updating, and test the updates in a staging environment to avoid any potential issues on your live website. Keeping WordPress updated is an ongoing responsibility, but it is well worth the effort to safeguard your site against security vulnerabilities and keep it running smoothly. Don’t delay – start updating your WordPress site today and enjoy the benefits of a secure and optimized website by Web Digitech IT Solutions.

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