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Little Tips: When Upgrade Issues Happen, Don’t Panic

As I expected, the WordPress forums are clogged up with issues related to the upgrade to version 2.3. Many of you were either caught unaware (though I did predict it and posted about it here), or you were blindsided by the fact that parts of your theme or plugins you thought were safe were using the older now unsupported database calls. If you have been affected by the upgrade effect–either you get a totally whitescreen with nothing showing, or parts of your site don’t appear–DON’T PANIC! There are some things you can do to at least get your site running until you can fix everything back to how you want it.

1) First thing, if possible go to your Admin Plugins interface and deactivate all of your plugins. If you can’t log in to your site, the last resort way of deactivating your plugins is to go to your servers file system (either FTP or through a web admin interface) and delete all of the plugins from the plugins folder in the wp-content folder. Of course make copies of them to your local system first.

2) Second thing, if your site still looks crazy or won’t load, go to the Admin interface Themes area and select either the “Classic” or “Default” theme that comes with WordPress. Unless your database is totally hosed this will at least allow your site to load. It probably won’t look like how you had it before, but at least you won’t be down. In an extreme case where you can’t load your admin area go to the wp-content folder and delete your theme folder (of course, like above, make a copy first to your local system if you don’t already have a copy). Then rename either the “Default” or “Classic” theme to have the same folder name as your non-operating theme. This should get you back to being able to log in and see your site.

3) If it appears your database is hosed and deactivating all of your plugins and using either the classic or default themes still won’t allow your site to load….well, you DID create a backup database didn’t you? It’s not a fun process but you will need to reload your old database. I can’t give you a quick rundown on that, but there are plenty of Google findable sites that have PhpMyAdmin tutorials or Cpanel or whatever you use for setting up databases on your server. Once you have that in place you can copy your older WordPress files (you DID back up your original files didn’t you?) back to the server and do research on how to upgrade in a way that will work for how your WordPress is set up.

4) Go to the WordPress.org website and post on their forum for help. There are many people there already, maybe they have already posted about your issue and received a response that might help you.

5) Go to the developers sites for your theme and plugins and see if there are updates available. If the software is still being maintained it will hopefully have an update soon, if it’s older and no longer maintained….you’ll have to find a replacement that fulfills it’s function. The good thing is anything that is normally a good idea for a plugin or theme will have someone making it or redoing it for compatibility with the newest versions of WordPress.

6) In worst case scenarios you can hire someone like me to fix things for you. If you have some cash there are plenty of people that are willing to work for you to fix things up. WordPress.org forums always have people posting to have someone help them for a fee, plus I’m available too :)

In general it really shouldn’t be hard to get a working site back up in an hour or so. Then the long process is figuring out how to upgrade without getting the same issues again. In some cases you may have to go find a new theme file and redo how you had your old one set up. It’s a bummer, but that’s how this stuff happens sometimes.

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