Lessons Learned from WordPress Upgrade Scare

I finally listened to WordPress and decided to do the upgrade at 7:00pm one evening. Downloaded the .zip file and went to the WordPress three step upgrade guide. Three steps… sure, but not fast ones. First step — backing up. That’ll make even the long-time geek sweat a little. I’ve played with databases a little over the years, but that doesn’t ease the discomfort of backing them up.
Besides, just reading the backup instructions can scare a non-geek. phpMyAdmin alone will freak ’em out since most of them don’t go near that even in their cPanel (Web site administration application). The backup instructions mention a couple of applications, but they’re not easy either.
Another thing freaked me out. My WordPress database went from 50 megs to 17 megs after the upgrade. The folks at WordPress support forums assured me this was normal of databases and they don’t operate the same way as file systems. All is fine here. Cool that it shrunk that much!
Also, I looked at my SQL file to verify all my entries transferred. The latest post was past 3000, yet the total entries plus draft didn’t come close to that. Turns out the attached files also count in this number. So it’s all good.
I opened FileZilla (file transfer application to move files between my computer and my Web site’s web host). I created a new folder on my computer for my WordPress backup. Then I simply copied everything in the WordPress folder and root folder (one level up from WordPress where wp-config.php and other WordPress files live). The root folder has other files not related to WordPress, but don’t worry about that. Just copy everything — better safe.
Lesson #1: I didn’t realize it until after the upgrade that many WordPress files didn’t transfer. Here I thought I did the right thing only to find I missed a step… I should’ve checked that all files transfered before proceeding with the upgrade.
Lesson #2: Save the wp-config.php file with another name such as wp-config-currentdate.php. The other problem I ran into was the database name and password. Somehow, it got all mixed up and none of the passwords I had worked. Had I saved and known which wp-config.php was the latest one, it would’ve saved me the biggest trouble of all.
The upgrade failed because of the name and password mismatch. Long night — stayed up past my bedtime trying to clean up this mess as this site was down.
Be sure you deactivate all plug-ins, which I did. They all started perfectly… except one. Still trying to figure that out.
Remember you can still win birthday bash prizes.

2 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from WordPress Upgrade Scare”

  1. Hiya Meryl! 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that there is a plugin that makes backing up your WP database a LOT easier (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/)! I’m using the latest WP, and that plugin does work just fine in this version, I use it on all of my blogs. I’m pretty good with WP, so if you would like some help getting that last plugin of yours working, just let me know! (The new version lets you update all your plugins right from admin!) Hope you get it all straight soon!

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