Keeping on top of WordPress updates is extremely important, patching security holes, fixing bugs, and improving user experience. Before updating your WordPress installation, though, run through this quick checklist to make sure you got everything right.
Check WordPress Update Requirements: Make sure your web host has the most current versions of PHP and MySQL/SQL Server before updating. This is especially important if you’re your own webhost!
Don’t forget to check the official WordPress requirements page as well to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
Update Themes and Plug-ins: It normally takes a little time after a WordPress update is released before theme and plug-in developers release a version compatible with the new update. In some cases, you may have to wait a few days before your themes and plug-ins will be compatible. In worst case scenarios, a theme or plug-in you’ve used for a long time will not longer be supported and you will have to find a replacement that is compatible with the current WordPress update.
Back Up your Installation: This is the most important step! Always back up everything before making any major changes to your site. You can back up your database via your cPanel dashboard or PHPMyAdmin, and make sure you back up your themes and plug-ins as well. You can do this manually by exporting all content from your Dashboard, or you can use a specially designed back-up plug-in.
Deactivate your Caching Plug-in: If you have W3 Total Cache, Super Cache, or other caching plug-ins installed, deactivate them before starting your update. These plug-ins sometimes cache maintenance pages and interfere with the update process.
Be sure to check after your update if your caching plug-in is reactivated. Some plug-ins do this on their own, but others do not.
Now you’re ready to update WordPress. Make sure to double check that all your themes and plug-ins are working properly after the update, and reactivate any plug-ins you deactivated during the update process.