With the recent release of WordPress 2.8 this past week, there has been a number of complications and/or frustrations from the WordPress community, leading to a lot of discussion about how long you should wait to upgrade WordPress when a new branch is released.  Historically the WordPress team has always done a great job of testing their releases, which I think lead to a strong confidence from the WordPress community when it was time to upgrade.   Combine that with the one-click upgrade option that is now built into WordPress and the annoying tag reminding you to upgrade, and you’ve got a huge number of people who upgraded to WordPress 2.8 immediately upon its release.

Unfortunately, with each new WordPress branch comes changes which sometimes break WordPress plugins, create problems with the WordPress theme you are using, and usually includes changes to the code.   If you upgrade before the themes or plugins you rely on have been updated, this can cause problems.   The iThemes team recently touched on this subject with their post, When Should I Upgrade WordPress?  Their post also includes five helpful things that need done BEFORE you do your one-click upgrade:

  1. Make a backup of all your site data
  2. Upgrade of all your plugins
  3. Visit plugin and theme author websites
  4. Disable all plugins
  5. Ask yourself if you need to upgrade now

I also recommend waiting a week or so to view feedback before upgrading.

I know several of you haven’t upgraded WordPress to 2.8 yet.   How long do you plan on waiting until you upgrade your WordPress installation?  Please include which version of WordPress you are currently using with your comment!

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Connect with Kyle on Twitter or Google+!

  • http://www.ezyblogger.com/ Roseli A. Bakar

    I’ll wait for a few more days before upgrading..

  • http://learn.jacksonhq.com/ Tim

    I upgraded yesterday and had a problem. After disabling my plugins as suggested and reading a couple of forum posts I went through the plugins one by one, renaming them to discover the one causing the issue.
    A bit of luck meant that the first one I chose was the one causing the issue (Google Analytics) and then replaced it with a new one performing the same task (Yoast’s Google Analytics Plugin) which as it goes is better for me.

    I will update quickly again in the future, but probably wait a couple of days and have a scan of the forums to spot potential issues first.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I’m using WP 2.7.1 and will be waiting for a while to upgrade. I saw a lot of people having issues with 2.8 and I can see some many of the plugins I use are not upgraded yet…

    I love upgrades but don’t want them to become a headache!

  • http://www.techmadly.com Nitesh patel

    i updates only after having a lots of good feedback coz dont want me in mesh by upgrading earlier.

  • http://kennethyounger.com Kenneth Younger

    It’s called a test site. Take a copy of your production site, upgrade the copy and see what breaks. If it doesn’t, then you’re good to go.

    You can’t just update all willy-nilly and not expect to have a problem now and again. There’s only so much testing the WP core devs and RC testers can do!

  • mitch

    Great post. I’ve been advising my clients the same way for the last year or so.

  • http://polizeros.com Bob Morris

    I upgraded a small blog no problem. Will probably wait until the first bug fix version to upgrade my main blog. Have already checked all plugins and the theme for comptaibility

    I upgrade manually. It’s easy enough, and the WP forums do report people with seriously borked sites because autoinstall apparently didn’t work.

  • http://thefrosty.com The Frosty

    I’ve updated a few of my sites, only one had issues. But it was a theme problem, one that I didn’t feel like debugging, so I chose to reverse back to 2.7.1 on that site.

  • Bullardino

    I have already upgraded to 2.8. I had no problems and it was easy and smooth.

  • http://kovshenin.com Konstantin Kovshenin

    You shouldn’t wait to upgrade. At all ;)

  • http://toscho.de Thomas Scholz

    I’ll wait for 2.8.1. I did the same with 2.7 and had far less trouble than many other people.

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  • http://accidentalmommies.com Kim @ What’s That Smell?

    I upgraded my main site because some of the new features are ones that will make my life easier. I also read the dashboard was faster in 2.8 and mine has been historically SLOW.

    I had 1 plugin completely incompatible, and it’s too bad because it was one of my favorites called ‘NoFollow Links in Posts’ and I had only one other issue upon upgrade. The visual editor in my posts was GONE in Firefox. It was there in IE (which I don’t use but I checked it) There were a ton of suggestions out there about refreshing your browser cache and re-upgrading and none “seemed” to work for me. After I re-booted my computer for another reason, my visual editor had returned in Firefox.

    I haven’t noticed any other issues but I will NOT be upgrading on my other sites right away. The dashboard speed does NOT seem improved and I can wait on those sites for the other features until they work out all the bugs.

  • http://lifegames.com.au Elizabeth Richardson

    I upgraded my Photography website almost instantly as I’ve never had a problem before…big mistake.
    The slideshow and some other features of the next gen gallery plugin wouldn’t work. File permissions changed almost magically too. Took ages going through all files and folders and correcting permissions. That didn’t work.
    Tried to revert back to the original version of both the plugin and wordpress, to no avail. Ended up using the backup from my server…thank heaven for backups.

  • http://onefinejay.com One Fine Jay

    Most of the issues that I have encountered when upgrading are over plugins. I personally think that there should be no wait time whatsoever: if the issues are with plugin compatibility, there is enough information for a plugin author to update his work for the core release. That is his responsibility. As someone who manages WP installs for clients, this can be a problem, but I can’t curse the core dev team for that. In most cases my clients rely more on what is offered by the core release than plugins. Everyone’s case is different, though.

  • http://ilovecolors.com.ar Elliot

    Wait until 2.8.1. Just to be safe. There’s an important bug issued on trac with the highest priority, where WP unadvertendly would erase some core files during upgrade due to some typos.
    http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/10140
    The bug has already been fixed but the patching is available from version 2.8.1. If you have your old WordPress 2.7.x go ahead and update. if something goes wrong you can always overwrite it with the old WP. The ticket has the two lines to be changed, you can also open WP 2.8, change the lines and update.

  • George Serradinho

    I upgraded and my site is running smoothly, no problems as of yet. I know many people normally wait until the next version is out, like 2.8.1.

  • http://damoneypage.com Bcarter

    I almost always wait about a month after a new release before upgrading my sites, this gives the plugin authors time to get their acts together and many times the .1 version is out by then.

    Most people here know this, but if you don’t make sure you back up your site first, just in case something breaks.

  • http://lifegames.com.au Elizabeth Richardson

    I had troubles with a WordPress UPgrade (as descibed in a post above) but I’ve just built a brand new site using the new WordPress 2.8 intallation and I think it’s MAGNIFICENT. The admin panel is so much faster and the new functions are extremely useful…thanks to WordPress and the supportive community of developers for making continued improvements to an already superb platform.

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  • http://deborahgraydesign.com Deborah Gray

    I upgraded 2 of my blogs last week and didn’t run into any problems. I deactivated the plugins and made sure they were compatible with 2.8 before I started.

  • http://www.stereotruth.net Scott

    If you’re working on a serious blog and using it to make money and you don’t have a dedicated dev blog, you’re just asking for trouble. It’s just too easy to set up a sub domain (beta.mydomain.com) install WP, theme, plugins and test data etc.) and do all your testing there.

    No way would I upgrade my primaries before testing in dev. That’s just asking for trouble.

  • Chad

    Yeah. Upgrading can be beyond frustrating. When I upgraded to 2.8, my WP backend got trashed. Only later did I find that my theme wasn’t supported. I was planning on changing it anyway, so I just took that as the catalyst for that change. But then I found every theme I was interested in wouldn’t format properly with the latest version. I did happen to have the latest Options theme and so I decided to use that. But then I found out my feature gallery won’t work with 2.8. Upgrading to 2.8.1 fixed the backend, but front end is still dicey and has some features which won’t work. I feel a little jilted by the author of the theme since it doesn’t support WP’s latest versions and is no longer in production. Also, I think WordPress has an obligation to put a disclaimer on their upgrades, warning people that their site might break if they decide to go with the latest version. I can’t understand why these upgrades aren’t backwards compatible. This reminds me of how Joomla has basically, left its 1.0 users in the dust.

    That said, I think all users should check the internet before upgrading to see if people are having problems with the latest version. Also, I wouldn’t upgrade immediately unless it’s a security vulnerability. Other than that, wait until all bugs are out of the system and, of course, back up like there’s no tomorrow.

    BTW, I’m still a huge fan of both WP and Joomla 1.5.

    Have a great day.

  • http://www.blog.peterfisher.me.uk Peter Fisher

    Wise words Thanks for posting.
    I think next year i may cut down on the amount of plugins I use or look at developing some of my own. There is always a risk that a plugin may be out of step with the latest word press release and could rely on legacy or worse deprecated features. This would result in a unstable blog. I think waiting at least of a week or two is well worth it.