Recent WordPress Upgrades

WordPress 4.1.1  WordPress 4.1.2, NO, Okay WordPress 4.2,  What? WordPress 4.1.3

It’s Saturday and my head is still spinning from all the WordPress upgrades I completed this week, and, for some of the websites I host vis-à-vis Adventures Online, it was WordPress upgrade upon WordPress upgrade.

As a WordPress specialist and having developed over 70 WordPress websites and blogs, a typical week includes upgrading WordPress for one client or another. And there is the business colleague of a client who calls and requests an update as well. Always room for the occasional additional WordPress update.

The original goal of the week was to upgrade all the websites and blogs to version 4.1.1, including upgrading and testing each website’s plugins, and installing 2-3 security plugins to those websites to which they had not been previously added.

No sooner had a bunch of upgrades been completed than the security release WordPress 4.1.2 was released. WordPress.org said,

WordPress 4.1.2 is now available. This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

WordPress versions 4.1.1 and earlier are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site

upgrade-to-wordpress-4-2

WordPress 4.2 is available

So, I started all over updating WordPress websites again. While working through the list of websites and blogs to upgrade to 4.1.2, emails starting arriving in the Inbox announcing the release of WordPress 4.2 – and at the same time – that some websites had been automatically upgraded to WordPress 4.1.3. Huh?  Slow down Automattic.

WordPress 4.1.3

Why was 4.1.3 released on top of 4.2? Now, I needed to do some research. I found the most succinct answer at wptavern.com. Jeff Chandler looked into the WordPress 4.1.3 release and explains that it includes code that fixes writing to the WordPress database for some “esoteric character sets” and that highly popular character sets like UTF-8 and latin1 (used by my client base) were unaffected.

I’ve tried setting the automatic updates to “all WP components”, to core files + plugins, and core files + themes, and the only combination that works consistently without causing drop-everything-and-go-fix-this-website issues, is the “core files only” option. Then the plugins are manually updated and the website is checked after each plugin is updated, so, if a plugin “breaks the website” I know immediately which one and am able to take corrective action right away.

In the times when all WP components were upgrading automatically, when a site failed, there would be more work – and I would be starting from a place of “mystery” not knowing which update caused the issue. All updates would need to be backed out and re-applied manually until the offending component “broke” the website and I could move forward from there debugging and fixing. Too much time burnt that way.

Truth be told, I had started the week with more WP websites to update than usual because I had been on vacation for two weeks. Most of the WordPress websites in my care are set to automatically update core files. Once updated, I manually update the plugins. This helps me avoid control (when I might see) the “WordPress white screen of death“. (See the aside for more information about my experiences with automatic updating.) Other websites I manage are highly customized and/or using vulnerable files, so all WP components on those websites are upgraded manually.

So what started as the simple, “let’s make sure that all WP websites are running 4.1.1”, turned into a hair-raising WordPress frenzy. It felt like the “All-WordPress All-the-Time” radio station. AND, I am working today in order to complete updating all my clients’ WordPress installs to ensure that each is running WP 4.2!

WordPress Updates

I AM very happy about the evolution of the WordPress updates. They have become quite sleek and reliable.

Years ago, it was so time-consuming to upgrade a WordPress website, I had to charge my clients in order to be compensated for some of the time.Nowadays, the updates are so reliable that updates are included in the hosting packages.

This week, I have updated websites running WP 3.9.5 to WP 4.2 as well as versions after WP 4.1.n to 4.2.  Next week, assuming that the client gives permission, I have an update from WP 3.7.1 to 4.2. That will be interesting.

 

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