Updating the Content Management System (WordPress), themes and plugins in play is a natural part of having a dynamic website and it allows not only for better performances and functionalitybut it ia also essential to keep hackers away.
Most of the times updating a site is easy and painless but before you do any updates I strongly advise you to make a backup and be 100% sure that all your data and files are safe.
If your site was built by The Concept Catcher it already has an automatic backup system, it was put in place when the site was built. It copies the database daily (i.e. the written content of your site) and files monthly (usually covering the last 3 months only), so you’re not starting from scratch here.
Before you update your site it is advisable to make a fresh backup of database and files to avoid any data loss.
Here’s how to proceed (or if you don’t want to do any of this maybe go ahead and check the Maintenance Plans):
Start by logging in to your site backend and finding your backup settings and existing backups on Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups
Click on “Backup Now”, select both checkboxes so you copy the database AND the site’s files and hit the bottom “Backup Now” button.
And now you wait until the backup is complete.
If you have a fairly big site this may take a couple of minutes, but the system will tell you with a message on the log that will state “The backup apparently succeeded and is now complete (date and time)”
Ok, you’re safe now. It’s time to make updates.
Go to Dashboard > Updates and see what is available to update.
Some updates are minimal changes and others are a very big deal, a WordPress core update being the biggest of them all as it concerns the whole website.
Once you have done your backup you can go ahead and hit the Update Now button.
When updating the site will be briefly unavailable and it will come back automatically once your update is done. While updating do not interrupt the process by navigating away to another link. Just watch beauty unravel as the site updates itself.
Plugins and Themes updates
Plugins are small parts of the website that expand its functionality. It can be a calendar, a contact form creator, a slider… Nevertheless the process here is basically the same, difference being that you can select several plugins to update at the same time.
Tick all the plugins you wish to update, and hit the “update plugins” button. Once again do not navigate away from this window. Once the process is done the site automatically moves to a different window and will state per plugin that the update was done successfully. When there are no more plugins to update on that batch it will display the message “All updates have been completed.”
Note: if your hosting was selected by The Concept Catcher then you have your site on a fast and versatile host. If your host is slower you may not be able to do a lot of plugins updates at the same time and you may want to select around 3 at a time and update them in batches.
And that’s it. You are done!
Oh oh, this looks different from what it was!
If something’s missing or different from what it looked like before the update you can remain calm as you have backed up the entire site before doing any updates.
You are now going to restore a backup and bring the site back to what it was before the updates.
Go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups and click on “RESTORE”. You will be directed to the “Existing backups” tab where you can see a list of backups available. The top one is the latest one and should have the full backup consisting of “Database Plugins Themes Uploads Others”.
Press the corresponding “Restore” button and select all the boxes on the pop up dialog. We’re particularly interested in restoring the database and the plugins but to be sure go ahead and restore everything.
You will see a message saying “The backup archive files have been successfully processed. Now press Restore again to proceed.” so go ahead and press the restore button again and the full site will be back to what it was.
Once you’ve restored the backup so go and do the updates available one by one, checking the site every time an update is complete. When you notice that something has happened you’ll know which plugin as caused the issue and it’s probably time to get in touch.
The maintenance plans
If your site is complex and you feel you need more peace of mind by having off-site backups and tough security measures on your site or if just all of this is something you do not want to be concerned about, then one of the Maintenance Plans may be what you are looking for.