Easy WordPress Updates with cPanel and SmartFTP

WordPress is terrifically easy to use. From simply posting to installing plugins, WordPress makes it easy to make your blog truly yours. Some people shutter at making updates to it though. Here’s the extremely easy way to get the whole thing done in just a few minutes, with two of my favorite tools, cPanel and SmartFTP.

Start by following the four essential steps in the official upgrade guide, which involves backing up everything and deactivating all of your plugins. When you are done with that, continue here.

  1. Extract the update archive to your disk.
  2. Upload the files in the wordpress folder of the update archive (all of the .php files), but not any folders contained within the root wordpress folder.
  3. Delete the wp-admin folder from your site using SmartFTP, the cPanel File Manager, or whatever file management mechanism you use.
  4. In Windows Explorer or the SmartFTP file browser (that’s where part of the SmartFTP mention comes in, since it redefines convenience), right click on the wp-admin folder on your disk, select Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder. This will give you a new .zip file containing the contents of the wp-admin folder that you would normally upload yourself.
  5. Upload the wp-admin.zip file to your WordPress root directory on your Web server.
  6. In the cPanel File Manager, navigate to the wp-admin.zip file, and in the right pane, click Extract File Contents. This should extract the directory, saving you hours of time that you would normally spend uploading the update file-by-file.
  7. Close the resulting popup window, and delete the wp-admin.zip file on the Web server.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 for the wp-includes directory.
  9. Upload the wp-content directory on your disk to the site using SmrtFTP, which will overwrite the older versions of the Askimet, DB Backup, and Hello Dolly plugins. It will also give you the update default Kubrick and Classic themes. You don’t need to zip it up this time because the total size of these files is pretty small.
  10. Re-enable your plugins, and test everything. If you see something scrambled up, clear your browser’s cache, and refresh that page.
  11. Done!

Now if the rest of life were as simple as that, the world would be much more peaceful. But for now, at least WordPress upgrades won’t give you migraines (in most cases).

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