A Couple of Gotcha’s with WP 3.0 Upgrade to Avoid

The other day I was asked “Hey, Dave, you upgraded to WordPress 3.o yet?”

Kinda, I have most of my sites on WP 3.0.   The newer ones were easy.   Three of those were already on 3.0 Beta or 3.0 RC.

The small sites running 2.9.2 were a snap as well.   I don’t know if I mentioned it earlier or not, but if you are running any kind of cache plugin you will want to de-active it before you upgrade.   Since WPMU is now integrated into 3.0 there can be an issue with a cache plugin.

I found another this week while upgrading the Tucson Real Estate blog.   It has quite a few plugins running and some special code in place to speed up page load times.   Because of this I hesitated to run the upgrade till I had more than a few minutes to dedicate to it.

I can’t stress enough that you:

  1. Backup your Database
  2. Backup your wp-content directory
  3. Have a copy of 2.9.2 available to FTP back if needed
  4. Be prepared to restore your database from OUTSIDE WP itself
  5. Optional but recommended for this update (DE-Activate all Plugins)

I had all this in place when I pushed the button for auto upgrade.   All except the De-active all plugings.

Yep, you guessed it.   FATAL ERROR.   BIG TIME.

I restored the DB and uploaded the 2.9.2 files back in place.

This time I de-activated all plugins except for a few that I needed to keep the theme functioning.   And a couple I thought totally safe.

The upgrade was successful.   Now I started activating plugins in groups.   My second group brought back the Fatal Error.   I deleted those plugins with FTP but to no avail.   You guessed it.   Restore all again.

This time it was one at a time re-activation.

NexGen Gallery Fatal Error

The NexGen Gallery plugin was the one.   There wasn’t anything wrong with NexGen Gallery.   There was an update to the plugin.   But I hadn’t take the time to see if the upgrade was needed before the upgrade or after.   It turned out to be before.

Once I deleted the nexgen gallery by FTP and refreshed I was able to get back to the admin panel.   Using FTP I put the nexgen gallery plugin back into the plugin directory.   Before activation I updated the plugin then activated.   All was fine.

So I’ve found two ways to take a site into FATAL ERROR territory.   (Not a fun place to go)   But there was no panic.   I knew I had all the files I needed and the knowledge to fix any issues that would arise.   It is nice not to see FATAL ERROR and have your heart in your throat.

What about the Lab?   No, it is still on 2.9.2.   I have a lot of plugins active here at the Lab.   I’m going to run a fresh backup of the database and files then de-activate all the plugins before hitting that auto upgrade button.   I might get to it yet this weekend.   When I do I’ll let you know.

Is it Safe to Upgrade to 3.0?

Yes, I think it is.   This major upgrade was released on June 17th.   We are at July 10 and there have been no bug fix releases.   This is testimony to what a great job the WP community has done in getting 3.0 ready for release.   Don’t cut corners and you should do fine.   But I can’t stress enough de-activating plugins for this release.   Especially if you have a lot of plugins running on your site.   And when you turn them back on, do it one or two at a time.


  1. Hmm, regarding backing stuff up, does the “Export” feature of WP do the job of points 1 and 2?
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..Three Rivers Community Roundtable’s 2010 Summer Workshop =-.

  2. Joe,

    Unfortunately, NO, the export feature does neither. It will backup your pages posts, images, but it won’t backup the database itself. It does backup the content inside the database.

    But there is much more in the database.

    This is why an FTP backup of the wp-content directory and a phpadmin backup of the database is the safe way to go. With those two you can restore about any blog.


  3. I made the mistake of only backing up my WP blog using MySQL when transferring hosts… Little did i know i lost ALL pictures. Needless to say it was a long night. Just like Dave said… FTP backup of wp-content and phpmyadmin of database is 100% the way to go.

  4. We upgraded over 30 sites in our office and thank goodness go glitches. we are however now planning on using the back up buddy from ithemes before we pull the trigger with our content like that.
    .-= Curtis Reddehase´s last blog ..Calling all Little Cedar Park Swimmers… =-.