Should You Upgrade to WordPress 3.3?
The folks over at WordPress rolled out the latest, greatest version of their popular Content Management System for blogging on December 12th, 2011. But should you upgrade? Are the new features worth the potential risks you run if you do decide to upgrade? This article discusses the key improvements that WordPress 3.3 brings us as well as some points to consider before jumping into an upgrade.
If you are running anything prior to WP3.0, STOP before upgrading!
What Does WP3.3 Do for Me?
At its core, WP3.3 is really only for websites that need frequently updated content, such as new posts. If you have multiple authors who create and manage content, they are going to love this upgrade because it makes adding content a breeze, especially when it comes to uploading files. Otherwise, the changes are not that significant.
Just hover over one of the menus and a fly-out sub-menu opens— one of several upgrades to WP3.3
I don’t want to downplay this upgrade, though, because it really is absolutely fantastic. The new features make navigation much faster with more tool tips and easier ways to add media to your posts. But from a pure content delivery standpoint— what your site visitors see— there’s really nothing of interest.
Even if you have a static WordPress website, though, you may not want to skip this upgrade. Generally speaking, if you can upgrade without breaking anything, you should, so you have the most up-to-date and compliant code running your website.
The big additions are:
- Drag-n-drop interface for adding content to posts
- Fly-out menus so you don’t have to click, click, and click some more
- Upgrades to support administrators who use an iPad or other tablet device
- Co-editing upgrades so you can begin working as soon as the next person is done
One of the biggest upgrades is the ability to add almost any media through a drag-n-drop interface
Other features are more under-the-hood upgrades for developers. If you have a highly customized WordPress website, your developers should check out the Codex page for WordPress 3.3.
What Risks Do I Run by Upgrading?
The primary risk you run is breaking any custom code and plug-ins you might have. The first thing you should check is which version of WordPress you are currently running. If you are running anything prior to WP3.0, STOP before upgrading! The changes from any WP2.x to WP3.x are major, and you are likely to cause most, if not all, of your plug-ins to stop functioning.
For those running older versions of WordPress, back up your site, upgrade one version at a time, check your plug-ins and general site functionality, back up your site again, and upgrade to the next version until you reach WP3.3. You can find every release that the WordPress team has ever made available on their WordPress Release Archive page. You don’t have to install each version, but you should stick with going from WP2.2, to WP2.3, to WP2.4, and so on. The sub-versions are not as critical.
If you do find that a plug-in does not work, go to the plug-in site page found in your Plug-ins > Installed tab on the WordPress Admin page.
Screenshot of WP3.2 plug-ins page with location of “Visit plug-in site” link
Visit any plug-in’s website to see which version of WordPress it has been tested on and if it’s in the WP3.x range. You should be okay in most cases, as few major changes to the underlying software have been made since WP3.0 hit the scene.
Back Up Before Any Upgrades
While it should go without being said, always back up your database before you upgrade WordPress. Many plug-ins are available for WP3.3, and the top five don’t need my endorsement. I recommend not only backing up the database but also downloading the database— don’t just leave it on your server, as many backup plug-ins will do. It takes a few more minutes but ensures you have a full copy on your computer if something goes wrong.
For More Information
Below is the official video from WordPress.org and you can find a great deal more on “Sonny”— the nickname for WP3.3— at the official WordPress site.
Did you upgrade your business site to WordPress 3.3? Let us know how it went for you in the comments below!
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