Last night I updated this site to the most recent version of WordPress. I ran the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin with great success, first using it on my still-under-construction photoblog — afewgoodlenses.com — then holding my breath and taking the plunge on this site. I had installed WordPress for the photoblog a couple of months ago to learn about setting up a site from scratch on my own (as opposed to using the automated install Yahoo! provides), and it was an update from version 2.5. I had no issues with that upgrade, with the minor exception of being unable to log in toward the end of the upgrade (when the tool attempted to reactivate plugins). Clearing private data in Firefox solved that problem.
Upgrading this site — which was at version 2.0.2 and was a Yahoo! install originally — also went quite well despite a couple of minor problems. The plugin wouldn’t activate at first, though I’ve experienced that on occasion with other plugins so I know it has nothing to do with the plugin itself. It’s either a Yahoo! hosting issue or a WordPress 2.0.2 issue, which, strangely, seems to happen more often when I access the plugin panel with Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. So even though Firefox is my default browser, switching to IE got the plugin activated and I was able to continue.
The upgrade plugin does two backups at the very start, and provides links to download the zip files it creates to your computer. The links didn’t work; Yahoo! kept returning a 404 page-not-found error, so I used FTP (FileZilla, an excellent FTP utility) to locate and download the zip files myself. After this, the remaining steps in the upgrade completed normally, in about five minutes.
I was surprised — though I’m not sure why — that the theme I’m currently using still worked. I hadn’t expected that, had chosen a new theme to replace it, and will probably still do so when I can spend a few hours (or days, which is more likely) customizing it.
I did run into two problems that required correction. First, I was unable to navigate the site using the “previous” link at the bottom of the page, which turned out to be a problem with the permalinks. I don’t know why this problem occurs, but I think it has to do with the way Yahoo! handles permalinks, which are structured as “friendly links” containing the day a post is created and the post title. Recreating them didn’t work, though setting them to the WordPress default style did work. Switching to the default permalink style, however, meant that all my internal linking was busted, and any external links to posts or pages on my site would no longer work. I found a solution to the problem here…
… which consisted of installing and activating the plugin Tony Adam describes and recreating the original permalink structure. I have no idea what “canonical redirects” are, but the solution worked great!
The second problem, a strange one, was that none of my category descriptions came over from the old version of the site. The WordPress categories panel showed a couple dozen blank lines instead of the categories, and even displayed the number of posts in each (blank!) category. I wasn’t able to find a solution for that problem that I understood how to employ, so I ended out deleting all the blank categories, creating fresh ones, and reassigning categories to each of the posts. With about 90 articles on this site, it took me a couple of hours to get it done, which wasn’t too bad but certainly wouldn’t have been an appealing option if I had hundreds of posts.
So… overall I think the upgrade was a smashing success, and, with that (and quite a bit of non-blogging life-stuff that has kept me busy for the past few months) behind me, please stay tuned while I catch up on my networking activities and start churning out some new content.
Thanks, as always, for reading and for stopping by….