Why & How to Update Your WordPress to the Latest Version?

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Why & How to Upgrade WordPress to the Latest Version

Do you want to update your WordPress to the latest version? Then, you need to learn how to do it in the right way. And that’s what this article is about.

WordPress keeps on coming with new minor and major updates adding more features and improving security. Due to these reasons, you need to update your WordPress version. However, you should do it the right way in order to secure your website data.

So, in this guide, we’ll show you how you can update your WordPress version safely. Plus, we’ll also explain what’s the latest version of WordPress, why you need to update, things to do before and after updating, and so on.

So, let’s start with what’s the latest release of WordPress.

A) What’s the Latest Version of WordPress?

As you might know, WordPress is an open-source content management system used for creating websites. Actually, it’s the most popular website creation platform in use today, covering about 30% of all websites online.

WordPress Website Building Platform
WordPress Best Website Building Platform

Being free open-source software, it’s a community project. The community is comprised of WordPress lovers with different skills like developers, designers, content creators, etc. from across the globe. They spend hours working to improve this platform.

Within the wide WordPress community, there are different teams to look at specific areas of the software. For example, there are teams like this: Core, Design, Mobile, Themes, Plugins, etc. They work actively for the development and improvement of WordPress.

So, to improve, introduce new features, or fix issues, they launch new version updates for WordPress, from time to time. And, the most recent new release is called the latest version of WordPress. The ‘Core’ team is mainly responsible for WordPress version updates.

You can find the latest WordPress version for free download on WordPress.org, the official WordPress site.

Get WordPress Latest Version from WordPress.org
Get WordPress from WordPress.org

WordPress 5.6: The Most Recent Update

About the most recent update, WordPress released a major update at the end of the last year. It’s the WordPress 5.6 ‘Simone’ released on 8th December 2020. And, this release has made history as it was the first WordPress release led by the all-female squad.

This release has come with lots of new enhancements and some exciting features. With several features added in the core and the block editor, WordPress has definitely been improved.

And very recently, WordPress has released the first maintenance release i.e. WordPress 5.6.1. This update was released solving many bugs and errors in WordPress 5.6.

WordPress 5.6.1 Latest WorPress Update
WordPress 5.6.1

So, here are some of the things that come with the latest version of WordPress.

  • New default WordPress theme ‘Twenty Twenty-One’
  • Additional patterns in the Gutenberg editor
  • Updates and improvements in the block editor
  • Automatically update to major releases
  • Password for REST API authentication
  • Better PHP 8 support

For more details, check this news article on the official WordPress site. Now, let’s find out why you should always use the latest version of WordPress.

B) Why Upgrade WordPress to the Latest Version?

How to  Update Your WordPress Version
WordPress Version Update

WordPress comes with lots of updates, some major and some maintenance releases. Anyway, it’s recommended that you update your site to the recent WordPress version whenever it’s available.

Wondering why? Here are some reasons and benefits of updating your WordPress site.

  • Updates fix security issues: Having outdated WordPress software (we simply call it WordPress core) is one of the main reasons why WordPress sites get hacked. With updates, WordPress comes with a stronger core. Additionally, the developers find security loopholes and fix the issues in the updated version.
  • You get new features: WordPress has been evolving since the first release with newer features. Additionally, it has made improvements in the available features for providing you ease and a better experience.
  • For website speed: Faster website makes your visitors’ experience better and also helps your site rank higher. So, WordPress tries to make your site faster by making improvements in the core in every possible way.
  • Updates come with bugs fixed: Like any other software, WordPress could also have bugs. With updates, the developers find out and resolve the bugs in the latest version.

These are some of the benefits that WordPress provides with every update. 

However, you shouldn’t update your site without some things taken care of. Because updating can sometimes cause errors or crash your site.

C) What to Do Before Updating WordPress?

Now, you might be unsure how you can update your WordPress version. We’ll go into it soon. Before that, let’s see what you need to do before updating your site.

Updating your site is an important task and it has to be done carefully. Otherwise, you might lose your important data, files, settings, themes, and plugins.

So, here’re some of the things you need to take care of before updating.

i) Back Up Your Website Data

First of all, you should create a complete backup of your site before upgrading it. Back up your entire site data including your website’s files and database.

Even if you have a backup WordPress plugin installed, you should double-check and do a manual backup yourself.

ii) Check Your Active Theme and Plugins

Before updating, make sure your currently active WordPress theme and plugins are compatible with the new version. You can consult with their developers on that matter.

For free themes and plugins, the theme or plugin installation page in your dashboard helps you find out their compatibility.

Plugin Compatibility with your WordPress Version
Plugin Compatibility

Sometimes, themes and plugins also offer updates after WordPress brings about an update. If there are updates, then make sure to update your themes and plugins first.

iii) Disable Plugins

It’s recommended to deactivate all your plugins before updating your WordPress version. For that, you can go to Plugins from the dashboard, and click on the Deactivate link below each plugin.

iv) Disable Caching 

You should disable caching your site during the update. If you have a caching plugin installed, then we recommend you deactivate it until the update is over.

After all that, you can go to the main step i.e. updating your WordPress site.

D) How to Update Your WordPress Version Safely? (Step-by-Step)

Now, we’ll see about the 2 popular ways of updating your WordPress version. Let’s go into it right away.

  1. One-Click Update from the WordPress Admin Dashboard
  2. Manual Update using FTP

Now, let’s check the update process step-by-step.

Method 1: One-Click Update from WordPress Dashboard

Updating WordPress from the admin dashboard is the easiest way of updating WordPress. So, it’s the most recommended way to upgrade your WordPress version.

Here, we’re updating our WordPress site from version 5.6 to version 5.6.1.

To begin with it, you should log in to your WordPress admin area, and go to Dashboard > Updates.

Then, it’ll show a notice of the new WordPress version if that’s available. Below that, you’ll see the ‘Update Now’ button. Click on it to start the process.

Updates Menu from WordPress Dashboard
Click on ‘Update Now’ Button

Then,  it’ll start installing the newest WordPress version on your site. You’ll also see the progress on your screen.

WordPress Update Progress
WordPress Update Progress

After it’s completed, it’ll direct you to the Welcome page of the new WordPress version.

Method 2: Using an FTP Client (Manual Method)

This next method requires you to install an FTP client and transfer the updated WordPress software directly to your web hosting. It’s a little bit of a technical process, so it’s preferred for tech-savvy users.

Here are the steps of the whole process involved.

i. Download Updated WordPress

First, you need to download the updated WordPress from the WordPress.org download page. It’ll download a zip file containing WordPress on your PC.

Download WordPress from WordPress.org
Get WordPress

After the download is complete, you can unzip the zipped file. You’ll see a folder named ‘wordpress’.

Extracted WordPress Folder and Zip File
WordPress Folder and Zip file

ii. Install FTP Client on your PC

The FTP connects your local computer and WordPress hosting account, so you can directly upload the WordPress software to it. For this method, you need to install an FTP client on your PC.

FileZilla, CyberDuck, Transmit, etc. are some of the popular FTP client software to use for this method. Here, we’re showing it with FileZilla.

iii. Connect Local PC with WordPress Server Site using FileZilla

After installing, open FileZilla to connect with your WordPress site using your login credentials.

FileZilla Connection Credentials For WordPress Server Connection
Enter Credentials in FileZilla

In the ‘Host’ field, you just have to enter the URL of your site by replacing ‘www’ with ‘ftp’. For example, ftp.www.sitesaga.com.

The username and password are provided on your web hosting cPanel. If you can’t find it, then you can contact your web host to get your FTP credentials.

For Port, you can leave it empty or enter the number ‘21’.

After entering all the credentials, click on the Quickconnect button.

Local Directory and WordPress Server Connected in FileZilla
FTP Connected

After that, you’ll see your WordPress site connected to your local pc via FileZilla. You’ll see 2 different columns, the left one contains local directories, while the right one is for your WordPress hosting files.

iv. Upload Updated WordPress to the Server Directory

After connecting, browse the recently downloaded and unzipped WordPress folder in your local directory from FileZilla. Then, open the ‘wordpress’ folder. There, you’ll see 3 folders named wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes, along with other files.

Opening Local WordPress Folder from FileZilla
Opening Local WordPress Folder

Now, select all the files and folders except the folder ‘wp-content’, and upload them to the server directory. To do so, right-click on the selected files and folders, then click on upload.

Select and Upload Files and Folders Except wp-content Folder
Upload Necessary Files and Folders

It’ll show a dialog box notifying that the files and folders already exist. You simply have to overwrite the files. On the dialog box, click on ‘Overwrite’ and ‘Always use this action’.

Overwrite Existing Files
Overwrite Existing Files

The wp-content folder in your server contains all your installed themes and plugins. So, you shouldn’t upload and overwrite that folder.

After uploading, your manual WordPress update using FileZilla is complete.

E) What Should You Do After Updating Your WordPress Version?

After the update is complete, the first thing you need to do is update the database. But it may not be required if you updated WordPress from the dashboard. Mostly, it’s necessary if you updated via manual FTP method.

For that, log in to your site from the browser, and the first thing you’ll see is the notice about updating the database. It shows a button that updates your database with a single click.

Update WordPress Database After Upgrading to New Version
Update WordPress Database After Upgrading to New Version

Next, you should check if your site works fine. Just visit your site with the URL and see the content.

Also, go to your site admin area and check your site content, files, and settings.

If you have disabled plugins before, you can activate them after the update is complete.

The next thing that you can do is check your WordPress version. Let’s see how you can check your WordPress version.

F) How to Check the WordPress Version of Your Website?

There’re various ways to check your current WordPress version. Let’s see some of them.

1. From Admin Dashboard Footer

First, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and scroll down to the bottom. On the bottom right side, you’ll see the WordPress version. You’ll see it on the footer of any page of your admin area.

WordPress Version in Footer
From Admin Area Footer

2. From ‘At a Glance’ Area

After you log in, you’ll reach the Home page of your WordPress dashboard. If you’re on any other pages, then you can go to Dashboard > Home.

There, you’ll see ‘At a Glance’ box containing info on your pages, posts, and comments. Below that, it’ll have mentioned the WordPress version your site is currently using.

See WordPress Version From At A Glance Box
From ‘At A Glance’ Box

3. From the Updates Menu

You can also check your WordPress version from Updates on your Dashboard. For that, simply go to Dashboard > Updates, and you’ll see your WordPress version there.

WordPress Version From Updates Menu
From Updates Menu

4. From ‘About WordPress’

On your WordPress dashboard, you can see the WordPress logo at the top-left corner. Hover over it, and click the About WordPress option. Then, it’ll open a page containing the total information on the WordPress version installed on your site.

WordPress Version From About WordPress Menu
From About WordPress Menu


That’s about it! We hope that you liked this article on how to update your WordPress version. We also hope that you understood the importance of updating, ways to update, and to-dos before and after updating your WordPress version.

You can bookmark this article so that you can return back easily if you have any confusions during updating  your site. Or, you can also comment below so that we can help you solve your problems.

You can also like our helpful article on ‘How to Install WordPress Locally?’. It’ll help you install WordPress on your local computer server for learning and testing purposes.

Lastly, you can get in touch on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Written By SiteSaga Editorial
SiteSaga Editorial is a team of highly experienced writers, marketers, and web developers led by Sunita Rai. We're here to help beginners get online with their self-made websites or blogs and succeed.


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