WordPress 2.7 comes with an auto-upgrade feature, which makes upgrading much easier but is not without it’s potential problems. So far, I have come across three issues that seem to be the ones most frequently encountered.
The three issues are related to losing theme customizations, the upgrade won’t occur because of a plugin incompatibility, and lack of core support from your webhost.
Loss of Customized Theme
I started hearing reports of a loss of theme customizations after people used the auto-upgrade to 2.7.1 At first, this didn’t make sense to me because I couldn’t see how an upgrade would affect the theme files. I realized that my opinion was biased because I always manually upgrade and don’t touch the wp-content file, which contains the theme and plugin files.
It seems that more than a couple of users have customized the default WordPress theme and have not renamed it. The auto-upgrade feature will replace the default theme and the customizations will be overwritten. If you do use auto-upgrade, make sure that you backup all of your files and your database first (as always). Additionally, if you have customized the default theme, give it a new name so future upgrades don’t touch the files. This issue has been discussed in the WordPress forums.
Upgrade and Nothing Happens
If you click the auto-upgrade button and nothing happens there is probably a compatibility issue with the WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin. Deactivating the plugin may not be enough – you may also need to completely delete it from your plugin directory. Once the plugin is deleted, the auto-upgrade works as expected. This doesn’t resolve issues for everyone but this has worked for a lot of people that used this solution. The issue has been documented and is a sticky thread in the WordPress forums.
Upgrade and Get Error After Error
I attempted to use the auto-upgrade on a site I’m building to see what would happen and I got error after error. Most were related to file permissions but I would change the permissions, start again and then get another error. After awhile I just gave up. Changing the file permissions on multiple files to use auto-upgrade was taking longer than a manual upgrade and I would need to change the permissions back when I was done. I have not pinpointed the exact cause of this problem but my best guess is that it is related to the webhost that I am using. WordPress has a list of hosts that support the core update functionality and mine is not on that list. That in itself doesn’t mean anything because they are a small company and maybe no one other than me as tested it but at this point, I can’t determine another reason why it won’t work. I also have not discussed this with my webhost yet. If something like this happens to you, check the compatible host list, and then go ahead and upgrade manually. It may also be a karma issue for me because I am so adamant about not auto anything when it comes to WordPress ;-)
How about you? Are you using the built-in auto-upgrade feature? Have you run into any of the issues listed here? Have you encountered any completely different auto-upgrade problems?
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