Since version 3.7, minor WordPress updates have been automatic. This means you don’t have to do anything when such updates are released; your site is automatically updated. For major updates, you get notified through your dashboard. You can then use the very easy, 1-click process to update your WordPress website.
However, there are times when you may need to update WordPress manually. This could be because you cannot access your dashboard, your site has gone down, a previous automatic update failed, etc. How can we do it?
One easy way to do this is with an FTP client. Using this method, you can download the new WordPress version, upload it to your server, and perform the update. Let’s show you how to update WordPress manually, this is great to avoid failed updates and can be done easily.
Backup Your Site Before Updating
We recommend that you backup your site before updating WordPress. During WordPress update, errors can occur that would require restoring your WordPress website from a backup. Without a recent backup, you may end up losing your data.
If you do not have access to your dashboard right now, you can perform a manual WordPress backup.
Steps to Upgrade WordPress Manually
Manual WordPress update involves 3 simple steps:
1) Download the latest WP version.
3) Upload it to your server using FTP.
In some cases, there is a 4th step, which is updating your database to make it compatible with the new WP version.
To start, download a copy of the most recent WordPress version from WordPress.org download page.
When you have downloaded WordPress, Unzip the file to get your WordPress folder.
Now connect to your server using FileZilla FTP client. If you do not know how to do this, watch our video tutorial: How To Use FTP.
When connected, double-click the folder containing your WordPress files to open it. This is usually public_html folder.
public html WordPress files
On the left side of the screen, open the folder containing your new WordPress version.
local wordpress update files
Next, select all the files in this folder and click upload.
When the “Target file already exists” dialog box pops up, select “Overwrite”, tick “Always use this action” and “Apply to current queue only”, and click OK.
copy wordpress files to update manually
Note: Do not worry about losing your wp-config file and the data in wp-content. For wp-config, the new version doesn’t come with this file. Instead, it comes with wp-config-sample, so nothing gets overwritten. For wp-content folder, the content you have in there will remain as is.
When the upload completes, your site has been updated.
WordPress Database Update
In some cases, you would need to update your WordPress database to make it compatible with the new version. To perform the update, go to your WordPress dashboard. If the update is needed, WordPress will prompt you with a “Database update required” notice.
Click Update WordPress Database. When the update completes, you are done. Go on and use your new version!
If you were facing an issue before performing the manual update, that should be resolved at this point. Also, you can confirm that you are on the latest version by clicking on the Updates menu in your dashboard.
Remember to keep WordPress updated to the most recent version. Ideally, this should be automatic or done using 1-click from your dashboard. Only use the manual process when you are having problems with automatic or 1-click updates, or require a manual update for some other reason. Updating your website regularly is essential for WordPress security.