Have an Upgrade Plan for Your Website?
When undertaking any type of website maintenance, it is always best to have a plan prior to starting. Upgrading your website should be no different, no matter how minor or major the upgrade. Website projects are much like those around the house, what can go wrong, will go wrong. With an upgrade plan in place, you can avoid any missteps.
At Courtland, we prepare an upgrade plan prior to each website’s upgrade. Our upgrade plans follow these steps:
1. Review What Needs to be Upgraded
Before doing any work, review the CMS versions, templates, and plugins that need to be upgraded. Is the available upgrade version a major upgrade or minor upgrade?
- Minor Upgrade Example: WordPress 5.1.1 to WordPress 5.2.0
- Major Upgrade Example: WordPress 5 to WordPress 6
If it’s a minor upgrade, continue to step 3.
If it’s a major upgrade, continue to step 2.
2. Perform a Test Upgrade
A test upgrade is when your developer performs the website upgrade on a development or staging region to see what will happen in a safe (non-live) region. A test upgrade is recommended for complex websites, very customized plugins, new template upgrade, or any major version change for the CMS. After performing the test upgrade, fully test the website on the back- and front-end.
3. Schedule and Maintenance Page or Alert
If you have users that log into your website or if your website has heavy traffic, it’s good to post a message that your website is undergoing maintenance. An alert can be placed at the top of the page or a temporary home page can be added. The things to include are:
- Why your site is undergoing maintenance
- The timeframe of the maintenance
- Call to action for visitors
- When the site will be back online
4. Back Up Your Site First
Prior to performing an upgrade, always back up your website through your hosting company…always!
5. Disable Users & Upgrade Your Website
Before we upgrade any website, Courtland disables users so no content can be changed during the upgrade. After the upgrade is complete, these logins are re-activated.
Depending on your CMS platform and extensions, the upgrade options may be different. Some offer automatic updates, one-click updates, or manual updates. Here are the common ways to upgrade your website:
- WordPress Upgrade (publish post & link)
- WooCommerce Upgrade (publish post & link)
- Upgrading Elementor (publish post & link)
- Joomla Upgrade (publish post & link)
6. Testing and Troubleshooting
After performing the test upgrade, fully test the website on the back and front-end. During this stage, it’s always good to have another set of eyes reviewing the site. When testing, review any newly upgraded extensions, test for broken links, and formatting or style issues.
7. Enable Users & Remove the Maintenance Page
After the website has passed testing, re-enable all the users and remove the maintenance page or alert and enjoy your newly upgraded website!