Whichever script you choose for your website, you’ll most likely find that they will periodically release updates. If they don’t, you might want to find a different script as you do want to be on one under active development. Upgrading your site can be a stressful, uncertain thing if you are new to the process. This article will help provide you tips for creating a safe upgrade process so you hopefully have as little trouble as possible.
Tip #1 – Development Site
A development site can be one of the best lifesavers when upgrading. If you make your development site a clone (copy) of your main site, when you upgrade it, you can see what issues you could face on the live upgrade. Development sites can be set up as local installs (on your computer) or as subfolders or subdomains on a live server. If you have extra funds, it’s best to have a development site on a separate server if the script license of the script you use allows it.
Tip #2 – Check Third Party Products
In most cases, people add themes, widgets, plugins, apps, languages and customizations to their sites. These things are generally coded up to specific versions of the script you are using. When considering an upgrade, always check with developers of the products you are using and make sure they work with the version you are upgrading to.
If it is a recent release, you need to give developers time to update their products. This also brings us to our next point.
Tip #3 – Patience is a Virtue
Never, and I repeat, never upgrade a live site on the first day a script releases. Even stable versions can have bugs in them. Some bugs can be missed due to different environments, version upgrades vs fresh installs, etc. As such, it is best to wait to upgrade your live site until you wait a few weeks to see how it goes for everyone else. Noting that the exception to this is security updates. However, still do step #1 first before upgrading live.
Tip #4 – Check the Issue Tracker
Most scripts have their issue trackers posted in public as it helps them to get bugs reported faster, and hence, bugs are also fixed faster. Before you upgrade your live site, make sure you check the issue tracker for any bugs that you consider deal breakers for upgrading.
Tip #5 – Test the Demo
Many scripts provide a live demo. Before you decide to upgrade your live site, or spend time upgrading your development site, you might want to test the live demo and see how it is. If you find issues or features you don’t like in the new version, and if it’s not absolutely necessary to upgrade, perhaps skip upgrading this time. Testing live demos is a great way to save time and effort upgrading only to find you don’t like features or find issues.
Tip #6 – Hire Professionals
If you just don’t have time, or are concerned with issues from upgrading, hire professionals such as BryZar to do the upgrade for you. You’ll still want a development site to test out the new version and any possible conflicts with third party products, customizations, server issues (maybe it needs updating to new requirements), etc.
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