Updating my WordPress Blogs to Version 3

I set up my two WordPress Blogs some time ago, one as a potential replacement for my ‘Diary of a Homepage‘ on the web site and the other for a ‘Club’ I belong to which needed a discussion area. Unfortunately I never documented what I did very well and I am now having to face up to updating from WordPress version 2.5.1 to version 3.0 . The newer versions have an automated update system but not going back far enough for me. WordPress is actually very well documented but it is lengthy and it is often difficult to see the wood for the trees. I had spent some time customising my blog with a theme and some custom styles to match the web site so I needed to get it right.

I followed their instructions on how to back up the databases on the server which use MySQL – they covered many of the common sorts of server software including Plesk which is used by by ISP Freezone. I have no idea if it is a valid backup without reloading it but at least I have a file.

I then backed up the rest of the files which reside in a single folder which, by default, is called wordpress. My own diary is all in a folder called diary. I renamed my local folder and used ftp to download a new copy with all my previous customisation carried out through WordPress.

I now downloaded the new WordPress version 3 as an archive and extracted it to replace the local folders (diary and wordpress).

You now need to replace parts of the new version before uploading otherwise you will lose everything you have done. This is all in the folder wp-content and the file wp-config.php so rename them in the new folder and copy in your old versions of the folder wp-content and the file wp-config.php. Unfortunately this also copies in some plugins which no longer work in the new version so you need to copy the new versions across now you know why you renamed the folder rather than deleted it! The folder you need to have the new version of is wp-content/plugins.

Before you upload the new version you need to log in as an administrator and remove all your existing plugins (in case they do not work) and I also went back to the default theme just in case. Standard widgets should be OK.

I deleted the on-line folder and uploaded the new one using gFTP and it all worked – the first time I logged in as an administrator it updated the MySQL database to a new format. I then changed back to my selected theme which was called Evanescence. I was lucky, some themes do not work under version 3 or need to be replaced by updated versions.

I then spent some time trying to find out how I had set up to use some of my existing css so the format matched my web site and found that I had added a lot of custom styles into the Evanescence Theme. You can edit the theme from within WordPress 3 when logged in as an administrator by expanding the left hand menu on the dashboard to reach Appearance -> Themes -> Editor and then Right Menu -> Styles and editing styles.css and print.css. I have added custom styles at the end of both to give my blocks of terminal code, terminal output, script code etc. The idea of duplicating these styles from my web site was to allow interchange of blocks of HTML without losing formatting.

This post is a check that everything still works

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