Most of the websites we build for our clients run on WordPress. This is great, especially for users responsible for updating site content. WordPress sites are user-friendly and convenient, and the platform itself is well documented and actively supported. As such, new versions of WordPress are released fairly frequently, and updating to the latest version is highly recommended as it provides additional features and helps keep your site secure.

One ¼ber-important thing to keep in mind before you update to the latest version of WordPress:

Back up your site.

Especially if your site is more than a year or two old, this becomes a really crucial step. Since most WordPress sites rely heavily on plugins, updated WordPress core files can occasionally conflict with one or more plugins “” or your custom theme. These conflicts can affect the way your site displays and/or result in your site not functioning as designed.

backup

From the WordPress documentation:

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to back up your website. This means if there are any issues you can easily restore your website. Complete instructions to make a backup can be found in the WordPress Backups section of the Codex.

Now, if your site is hosted on Flywheel you don’t need to worry about backing up anything yourself because they do this for you, automatically. This is a super-awesome feature and something to definitely consider when you’re choosing a hosting company.

If you’re hosting your site elsewhere, you have a few options:

  1. Install and use a backup plugin.
  2. Manually back up your site.
  3. A combination of the above.

I’m not going to go into a ton of details here because these processes are documented elsewhere. But the goal of a backup is to save a copy of two components of your site: the database and the actual site files. This post describes this concept really well. You need a copy of both in order to restore your site to a previous version.

As a site owner, it is your responsibility to manage your website appropriately. Updating to the latest version of WordPress is an important and necessary step in maintaining your online presence, and in the majority of cases everything works perfectly. Backing up your site simply ensures that if the unexpected happens, you have an accurate snapshot of your site that you can use to quickly get back in business.