Upgrading WordPress

The site’s been crashing a lot lately. I’ve had to reboot it almost daily. We’re still on an old WordPress version and need to upgrade. Now that John A’s retired, the site has been on autopilot and needs a little bit of piloting. I would appreciate it if one of the regular readers with computer knowhow would volunteer to do this for me. Add-ons are listed by John A here – this looks a bit stale and I’m checking with John A. Contact me offline – see http://www.climateaudit.org/?page_id=778.


  1. BarryW
    Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    Could you provide a short job description? What capabilities/experience your volunteer would need, how much time would be involved, would you need daily, weekly or monthly support, or just for upgrades? OJT?

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    The site has operated for a number of months more or less on autopilot. So I’m really just looking for a one shot bit of assistance, but it would be nice to have someone to ask questions without feeling a sense of imposition. John A would help in an emergency but I don;t want to impose.

    I don’t know how hard it is to do an upgrade. I can’t imagine that it’s endlessly complicated as dozens of blogs do upgrades. It’s just that I don’t want to spend the time learning the nuts and bolts when there are readers who can do this far more efficiently than I could.

  3. Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    I love doing that kind of stuff for fun, so it would be no imposition to ask me.

    You must really be trusting to ask people you have never met to take the keys to your site and do this for you.

    Not that I am not trustworthy, and most of your readers are surely upstanding also, but be wary.

    With that said, this is one of the easiest jobs ever. It should be a one click upgrade. Most hosting companies offer a way to do it. Backing up first would be the hardest part (still easy though).

  4. Jeff A
    Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Steve. I can help out. I’ve upgraded many Drupal sites and other web software, so I can read up on what’s needed for WordPress.

    Just email me at jeff at jalberts dot net with the details (WordPress current version, where you typically get updates if known, which additional modules are installed, etc)

  5. John A
    Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Short job description: Compulsive worrier about Ubuntu, WordPress, php and mysql. Willing to work long hours into the night on occasion without worrying what the wife is thinking. Masochistic desire to be painted as a supporter of GWB, or a neocon, or a paid-for shill of Big Oil/Tobacco/the Illuminati.

    More sensibly – must know their way around Linux, Apache, php and MySQL.

  6. Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve, it’s really not a big deal to upgrade the site, and it’s something you should do quickly. That old WordPress version is vulnerable to hacking. I can upgrade you pretty quickly and easily if you’d like. I wouldn’t want to commit to a long term relationship, however. I spend far too much time on my own blog as it is.

  7. Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    Steve, check with John_A to make sure the code hasn’t been mod’ed in any way. If so you’ll like loose those changes during an upgrade. Especially backup an additional copy of whatever template you’re using as if it was mod’ed you’ll need access to those mod’s quickly. It can be one click but if its not it can end up being a lot of work you hadn’t planned for. The good part is the data is usually safely stored away in your database.

    I doubt if upgrading WordPress will fix your server problems. Even an older version shouldn’t cause a problem on the server. An excetion might be if anyone added some crappy code (rather than just a simple mod). Most of the bad code you see on WordPress sites is client side (e.g. Java, Javascript, and ActiveX ads and plugins). But you should upgrade your WordPress and upgrade soon as there has been some security issues with older WordPress versions. But don’t just let anyone do the upgrade as its possible plant malicious programs, keyloggers, etc. Also change the Admin passwords (server and WordPress) after they’re done (even if you do trust them).

  8. Posted Jun 8, 2008 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Have a look at the way the MySQL database is called. That can lead to server problems.

  9. MrPete
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    I’m coming up to speed on wordpress… hopefully can integrate some good analysis tools sooner than later.

    True, upgrading may not solve the server problems. However, it can be dangerous to get too far behind the current development path.

  10. Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    In my opinion, the database should be backed up daily, and that should be scripted so that there is no additional effort to do it. Before I did anything else, I’d put that into place if you don’t already have it.

  11. John A
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    Before the upgrade:

    1. Backup all files below /var/www
    2. Change the permissions for the MySQL user that connects to the DB to SELECT only (ie make it read-only)
    3. Backup the MySQL database
    4. Deactivate all plug-ins


    Overwrite all files. That should leave the wp-config.php file alone.


    1. Give privileges back to the MySQL user.
    2. Run the upgrade script (it will probably prompt you to do so)
    3. If the CA site looks odd, or doesn’t work, change the theme to the standard Kubrick theme.
    4. Add the plug-ins one by one and check for errors. If the site looks screwy after a plug-in is enabled then disable and look for an upgraded version.
    5. Remember to edit kses.php to give commenters the ability to include images and links.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve upgraded this site. I’m really pleased to pass the plutonium baton to somebody else.

  12. John A
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 6:10 AM | Permalink


    I believe Anthony Watts set it up to backup every day automatically.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the replies. I’ll revert some time this week.

  14. jj
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    It’s an easy job. If you are having some problems doing it, you can always check out youtube for instructional videos. Here is one…

  15. Anthony Watts
    Posted Jun 9, 2008 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    Yes it’s set for mirrored backup. The server never crashes, it is simply that the connection between MySQL-PHP- and WordPress comes unglued at times, and a reboot is required. All the modules still up and running, just won’t talk nicely anymore.

    Me thinks the old version of WordPress is at fault…and its so old it smells.

    Since I have the hardware, please don’t do ANYTHING without me being in the loop. My mission is not to control or inhibit, but to help dodge the gotchas.

  16. jeez
    Posted Jun 11, 2008 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    As silly as this sounds, correcting clock on the server would probably not hurt.

    I’ve never heard of an out of sync clock causing problems under linux, but under Windows server, I can’t believe the mystery problems I’ve seen occur.


  17. BarryW
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    \begin{tablular}{l r r}years&extent&weekly change\\2003&14.55281& 0.30781&\\2004&14.28484& 0.15406&\\2005&13.45453& 0.01078&\\2006&13.43641&-0.11641&\\2007&13.78641& 0.06438&\\2008&14.08078&-0.04375&\\2009&14.09531& 0.13250&\\\end{tablular}

  18. BarryW
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    \begin{tablular}{l|| r|| r} years&extent&weekly change\\ 2003&14.55281& 0.30781&\\ 2004&14.28484& 0.15406&\\ 2005&13.45453& 0.01078&\\ 2006&13.43641&-0.11641&\\ 2007&13.78641& 0.06438&\\ 2008&14.08078&-0.04375&\\ 2009&14.09531& 0.13250&\\ \end{tablular}

  19. BarryW
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    \setlength{\tabcolsep}{5pt} \begin{tablular} years&extent&weekly change\\2003&14.55281& 0.30781&\\2004&14.28484& 0.15406&\\2005&13.45453& 0.01078&\\2006&13.43641&-0.11641&\\2007&13.78641& 0.06438&\\2008&14.08078&-0.04375&\\2009&14.09531& 0.13250&\\\end{tablular}

  20. BarryW
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    years &sp&sp extent&sp&sp weekly change
    2003 &sp&sp 14.55281&sp&sp 0.307813
    2004&sp&sp 14.28484&sp&sp 0.154063
    2005&sp&sp 13.45453&sp&sp 0.010781
    2006&sp&sp 13.43641&sp&sp -0.116407
    2007&sp&sp 13.78641&sp&sp 0.064375
    2008&sp&sp 14.08078&sp&sp -0.043750
    2009&sp&sp 14.09531&sp&sp 0.132500

  21. MrPete
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    barry — either construct a table using html (e.g. <table><tr><td> etc) or use &nbsp; to make fixed-space filler…

    • BarryW
      Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: MrPete (#21),

      Html table formatting doesn’t seem to work, a number of people have suggested it and it was the first thing I tried. Also tried Code and even latex. WordPress shows it formatted correctly and then trashes the formatting when it submits the comment (I looked at the page in View Source mode in the Browser)

      I’ll try the & nbsp;

      years     extent       weekly change
      1 2003    14.55281     0.307813
      2 2004    14.28484     0.154063
      3 2005    13.45453     0.010781
      4 2006    13.43641    -0.116407
      5 2007    13.78641     0.064375
      6 2008    14.08078    -0.043750
      7 2009    14.09531     0.132500

  22. BarryW
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    Testing doing nbsp’s

      2003       14.55281        0.30781
      2004       14.28484        0.15406
      2005       13.45453        0.01078
      2006       13.43641       -0.11641
      2007       13.78641        0.06438
      2008       14.08078       -0.04375
      2009       14.09531        0.13250

  23. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Feb 23, 2009 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    Hey, CA is back up! Where is everyone though? Surely there are a few people up still this time of night. Thanks to Anthony and whoever helped getting things back working. I hope there wasn’t too much lost when things crashed.

  24. Lost Weekend
    Posted Feb 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Whew!! I’m sure glad you’re back online, Steve. Without my daily CA fix I was starting to freak out.

  25. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Feb 23, 2009 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    I’m here, but never have anything of substance to add. Like just then…

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