How to safely upgrade plugins and test?

It seems like every couple days or so, there is an update available for a plugin. I get really nervous upgrading plugins especially since I have 20+ sites using various plugins. Just recently, I upgraded Subscribe2 and turned out there was a major bug that affected multi-sites. It killed a few of my sub-sites and had to revert back.

Is there a recommended way to upgrade plugins carefully? What is a good way to test WordPress's health after the plugin upgrades to ensure everything is still functioning as before. Updating plugins blindly is not something I want to do anymore. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Arun Basil Lal
    • New Recruit

    Hello Basem,

    I have been there and it sucks. I think WordPress should have an in-house "Roll back update" feature, like we have in windows.

    Our snapshot plugin can actually do that in terms of creating "restore points" and going back to that point where you know everything works, have you checked it out? https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/snapshot

    Here is what I do:

    - I read the changelog first. Both for plugins and WordPress. If it is a security update, then I go for it, if not and if the feature added isn't something that I am looking for, I do not update them.

    - And if you have to update, never update on day 1. Developers test their plugins but it is impossible to test them on all environments. Let the users update and report back the bugs and let them get fixed. Why be a lab rat when there are other people who can do that for you.

    - Backup database before update. This is your life jacket.

    - If you have a high-profile site where even a couple of hours of downtime isn't good, like some paid Membership sites, the best way to do this is to do the update on a test environment. Our snapshot plugin can come handy here. Create a snapshot and get it up and running on a test install. Now do the updates and see everything works fine, then go for it on the main site. You can keep the test site for further updates as well.

    Some hosts like WPEngine http://wpengine.com/ have a staging area for such updates. very cool :slight_smile:

    To sum-up, the best and easiest way for you would be to read the changelog and see what has been changed. If it isn't a security update or a major bug fix, then do not update it every now and then. And when you do update, do it on a staging area before going live.

    Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck!

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