Update: Since I wrote this post, I have updated this, and several other WordPress blogs to WordPress 4.4. So far, I have not encountered any problems.
Apparently, WordPress 4.4 got released today.
I didn’t notice until I logged in just now and noticed the nice little box at the top saying, “WordPress 4.4 is available! Please update now.”
This always makes me a little nervous. On the one hand, I don’t want to update and then find out that this update is causing problems. On the other hand, I don’t want to not update and then find out that I’ve left a major security problem open on my website. Fortunately, I have some strategies to handle this for your own writing blog websites.
How To Know When To Update WordPress
(You know, looking at that header, I think I’ve got a real blog post here to write out, but it’s nearly midnight, so here comes the short-short version. I’ll write up details later.)
First, see what the update is about. Some updates are all about new features. You can wait on these. Others fix “critical” security issues. You need to install these as soon as you can. That being said, wait for a low-traffic time for your website. You don’t want your main freelance writing site down during business hours.
Second, check Twitter. You want to wait 12 or 24 hours, to get the reaction of people actually installing. Until then, the results will be mostly people writing “news” type articles about it, not people talking about actual experience with it. Do a Twitter search for WordPress 4.4, or whatever the new version is. If you see a lot of people freaking out, wait and see if there is an update to the update. Remember that people with trouble are always a lot louder than those without, so don’t overweight just a few people. Go ahead and check my timeline on Twitter. I’ll cry like a baby if I have any issues 🙂
Next, check Google. Search for WordPress 4.4, and then use the more search tools to restrict your results to Last 24 hours. See if there are a bunch of articles popping up about issues.
If you feel like you are getting the all clear, update your least important sites first. Have a vanity site that never really gets much traffic and doesn’t generate much traffic? Update that one first.
Remember, things seem to go smoothest if you update all of your plugins BEFORE doing the WordPress update. Some plugin developers get out new versions pretty quick, and you should have the latest ones first. Just go to the update screen and update all the plugins first. Then, go ahead and see how the WordPress install works.
Move up your tree of websites. Least important, least money making websites first, then next least and so on until your do your main websites last. When you do those, do them in slow hours. Most of my sites lose a lot of traffic after 10:00 PM or so, so I do updates then. (Theoretically, I could do them before 6:00 AM, but then I have to get out of bed, and stuff, and the whole point of being a freelancer is not having to do things like that.)