How to Update WordPress – And Protect Your Website

Cynthia Bartz • April 19, 2016

Is your WordPress website up to date? Are you sure? Do you know where to check? Keeping your WordPress website up-to-date with the latest WordPress software is the most basic way to ensure that your website is secure. WordPress regularly updates their core software to plug security holes, introduce new features that make it easier to use, and be generally awesome. The most important reason to update WordPress is security. Old versions of WordPress are more likely to be hacked leaving you and your site visitors vulnerable. In this article I will show you how to update WordPress, as well as explain some of the updates in the latest release.

Current Update – WordPress 4.5, Coleman

WordPress released the 4.5 update on April 12th, 2016, which focused primarily on streamlining your workflow when creating new pages and posts.

Inline Links

WordPress has made it easier to focus on content creation by allowing you to create links right in the wysiwyg editor, instead of a bulky pop-up window.

Formatting Shortcuts

Horizontal Line – Insert a horizontal line just by typing three dashes.

Code Format – Format text to look like code by using back-tics

`like this`

Cool Stuff You Won’t See

In addition to the formatting updates there are some backend features that have been updated too. Images will now load up to 50% faster without any quality loss. WordPress has also updated some code libraries and other fancy developer things you can read about in their release article.

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How to Update WordPress

Step 1: Login to WordPress

Login to your WordPress account. NOTE: You must login to an admin account in order to update WordPress.

WordPress Admin Login Screen

Step 2: Backup WordPress

It’s rare, but things can go wrong when you update WordPress. Just to be sure, it’s good to make a backup of your website BEFORE you update WordPress. That way, if something goes wrong you can always revert back.

Go to Tools > Export

How to do a quick backup of WordPress

Select All Content

Make sure that “all content” is selected, and not just posts, or pages.
How to Update WordPress: Export Screen to backup content

Save File

Save the .xml file somewhere safe on your computer. Keep in mind that this file does not have all of your settings or your theme. So if you were to import this file into a new WordPress website you would still need to install the correct theme, set up menus, etc. The export file does not represent a “complete backup” of your website. However, it does ensure that you have all of the content on your website, which can be the most difficult to recover if something goes wrong.

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Step 3: Update WordPress

WordPress is pretty good about telling you when you need to update. It is likely that you have a big banner following you all over your WordPress Admin telling you how to update WordPress to the latest version. If you don’t see this banner, you can always find your list of available updates in two places: 1) the little refresh symbol with a number next to it in the top most bar, and 2) in the Dashboard sub-menu.

How to update WordPress - two places

Click on the “Update WordPress” button.

How to update wordpress - updating screen

The page will reload and show the status of the update. This should take less than ten minutes. When the update is complete you will be redirected to a page that shows you the new features of WordPress 4.5, credits, etc.

Step 4: Double Check that Nothing Broke

Switch over to your live website and make sure that everything is working correctly. Fill out your contact form, view all your important pages, view a couple of blog posts. It’s better for you to find out that something isn’t working correctly then one of your prospects.

Wordpress new update overview screen


That’s it! Easy peasy. Knowing how to update WordPress is an essential part of keeping your website secure. WordPress always recommends that you update the core software when an update becomes available.

Get Personalized Email Reminders to Update WordPress.

Feel like you never remember to update WordPress? You’ve got more important things to worry about. Get simple reminders about new WordPress releases and a personalized link that takes you straight to your WordPress Admin.





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