WordPress 2.6 to 2.9 Leap of Faith

Catchy title, but not true.   It was a leap from a far distant version of WP to try and close the gap all the way to 2.9.   But the leap itself was covered by:

  • A complete site backup to the local hard drive
  • A backup of the database
  • A restore of the database to a newly created backup database
  • A test switch to the new backup to make sure everything was there

Only after all this harness and safety netting was in place did I pull the string and FTP the 2.9 files into place on the site.

As soon as the files were moved I opened the browser and went to the site. I expected to be greeted with “Your Database needs to be upgraded”.   That didn’t happen.   The site was there and all navigation seemed to be working.

I went the the admin page to check.   It was there I was greeted with the “Your Database Needs to be Upgraded”.   Clicked “Continue” and in nano seconds it was completed and I logged in.

Once there I made my way to the widgets page to see if they were all in place.   (Check)

Next to the plugins page, 11 had updates available.   I made those update (Check)

Everything functioned perfectly.   Sweet, a jump from 2.6 to 2.9 and not a bug in the boat.

How was it so Easy?

I hope anyone thinking of making this leap will have read this far.   Because there are some reasons this one went smooth.

The Theme

Modified default theme.   This structure has no hacks and was totally compliant with WP functions and calls.

The Plugins

There were   19 active plugins.   All of them straight forward with no exotic javascript functions or hacks to the core WP files.

These two things made it pretty straight forward.   If you have a site with a highly customized theme and 30 or 40 active plugins it might be a different story.

But, with the files backed up and the database backed up.   You have a quick way to fall back to the earlier version if it is necessary.

In this case the leap forward was well worth it.   Because:

  1. Better Security for the site
  2. Many more plugin options for this platform
  3. Much better widget handling since 2.8
  4. Better looking and functioning Admin interface

Those four are reason enough to update a blog that is long in the tooth.   If you have a 2.6 out there believe me it should be upgraded.

Take precautions. Don’t take shortcuts. Have your plan written out so you know exactly what you will do if things go wrong.

Finally, don’t do this during your peak traffic time of the day.   Very early in the morning, or late at night if you aren’t familiar with the process or quick to diagnose issues.

Leaping is best done with adequate provision for the landing, not the jump.


  1. Dave,

    Thanks for the great advice (as always.)

    My upgrade had a few hiccups, and almost all were due to plug-in incompatibilities. But what I did to fix it turned out to be a fortuitous move. Since I couldn’t figure out which plug-ins were causing the heartburn, I used the bulk action command to de-activate ALL of the plug-ins at once, and then re-activated just the ones I needed, one by one. After each activation, I checked the function of the site, just to be sure.

    You know what? The problems all went away, my site runs WAY faster than it used to. On top of that, I recovered the WP search capability (which wasn’t working before.) This exercise helps you do clean sweep of your plug-ins — it also makes you really evaluate what plug-ins you really need, and weed out those that you don’t.

    Oh yeah, the culprit turned out to be PodPress. Go figure….
    .-= Chuck Gillooley´s last blog ..Entry-Level Home Market Remains Hot in San Carlos.. =-.

  2. Chuck,

    Great advice. I did a lot of house cleaning of plugins on the Tucson site this week in an effort to improve load time. I went from 5.8 seconds to 2.8 for most page loads.

    I should do a post on this soon. It was a combination of:

    1. getting rid of plugins that were making lots of database queries
    2. cleaning out the wp-options table
    3. removing a lot of tags in the header
    4. optimizing the database
    5. replacing database calls with static HTML in the sidebar widgets

    And a couple of other things related to the theme and database.

    You obviously had some real hogs in those plugins. I recommend that process of plugin cleaning every 6 months to get rid of the dead wood we “try” and then don’t remove.

    LOL, PodPress can really put a lot of stress on the server.


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