How to Manually Update WordPress using FTP

Apr 11, 2018 | Updates

Are you looking for an easy way to update to the latest version of WordPress? If for either reason, the default automatic update is not an option, then you can manually update your WordPress installation to the latest version.

In this short tutorial, we will methodically walk you through the steps of a manual update using FTP.
Warning 1:
When updating WordPress all core files will be deleted and overwritten, it’s highly recommended that you make a full back up of your website. In the event that the process gets interrupted or is unsuccessful, it’s important to have a restore point.

Warning 2:
 If you are running legacy WordPress plugins (plugins that have not been updated in a while) on an outdated WordPress version, you may find when updating to latest version WordPress that your plugins will not be compatible and may crash the site. In this case, you will want to consider deactivating all your plugins while performing the upgrade.

Prep Work
The first step is to backup your installation. We recommend working with Updraft plus. A free plugin (with premium add-ons) that allows you to restore and create a backup of your theme, plugin, core files, and database.
Next, we will want to download the latest version of WordPress and unzip it.
Finally, we will FTP into our installation’s root directory. If you don’t have an FTP client, you may want to consider FileZilla.
Manually Updating WordPress via FTP

WordPress FTP upload
WordPress FTP update
In the root directory on your WordPress website, delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders. Then replace the folders with your freshly downloaded files.
Do not delete the wp-content folder. The wp-content folder is where all your theme and plugin files are stored as well as your images.
Copy all the files remaining files in the root directory (e.g. wp-mail.php, wp-login.php, index.php etc…) of your freshly downloaded copy of WP, and upload them into your installation’s root directory. By doing so, you will overwrite the existing files with the latest version. Don’t worry about your wp-config.php file, since WordPress is never distributed with a working wp-config.php file.
However, review the wp-config-sample.php file for any new settings that you may want to use.
If you notice a .maintenance file (often the case after a failed auto-update), simply delete it and that will get rid of the Briefly Unavailable for Maintenance notification.

After performing the above steps, login to your website.
In some cases, new WordPress releases may come with changes to the database, requiring a database update. In that event, you will see a notification opting your to update your site’s database, simply follow the instructions.
If you disabled your plugins, re-enable them and clear your cache to ensure you can see all changes.
And that’s it! Hopefully, you will have successfully manually updated to the latest version of WordPress.
Keeping WordPress up to date is crucial for the performance and security of your website. When possible, you will want to consider automatic updates. For feedback and questions, please leave a comment below.