I've been putting together a WordPress powered blog or two recently and diligently documenting the steps required, as ever. The documentation available from the WordPress site is pretty good, but sometimes it's over verbose, whilst frustratingly also stopping short of giving you exactly the details you need. So here's what works for me to upgrade an existing WordPress installation to a newer version. This is using the manual approach BTW rather than the built in auto-upgrade functionality, which asks for FTP details (of what I'm not sure, and it doesn't bother to elaborate) and therefore makes a mockery of the term 'auto'.

The official instructions that got me going initially are at http://codex.wordpress.org/Upgrading_WordPress FWIW, but I do precisely this on Mac OS X:
  • Download the zipped upgrade package and unzip it somewhere - e.g. to wordpress_upgrade directory for the sake of this example.
  • Backup existing installation in full – both the wordpress directory itself and the associated MySQL DB, just in case.
  • Merge the newly downloaded package over your existing install (assumed to be a directory named wordpress here) with the following incantation at the command line, which takes advantage of the fact that cp merges, whereas Finder copying just oafishly replaces:
  • > cp -r  wordpress_upgrade/ wordpress_original
  • Compare the new wp-config-sample.php with your existing wp-config.php (e.g. using FileMerge) to see if any new config items have been added. If so, manually add those into your wp-config.php file, or if easier rename the sample to wp-config.php and put back the DB connection and other relevant bits.
  • Load up the /admin page in your web browser and follow the instructions to complete the upgrade, which involves it upgrading any DB bits, etc.

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