Update Process

When working with the Open Source Systems like WordPress and Drupal with numerous plugins / modules, there are constantly updates being released for modules, themes and the core.  When are these updates needed and what’s the best process for updating your site?

Most updates are minor functional updates which are not urgent, but when the occasionally security updates are released it is very important that these updates be made as soon as possible.

With the newest version of WordPress you should be able to run automatic updates, which download, unpackage and install the new plugin.  For WordPress this is usually the best method for updating your site.  It is still recommended that you view the ReadMe file for the plugin or core update for any specific instructions.  And it is always a good idea to make a backup of your site files and site database before an update.

Drupal is slightly more complicated.  Our NUAMPS update process is:

  1. Notify team / client that the site will be updated and may be down for 20-30 minutes
  2. Download updates (modules / core)
  3. Backup mySQL database
  4. Backup site files
  5. Put the site into maintenance mode
  6. Delete the old modules or core files, leaving .htaccess and sites folder
  7. Upload new modules or core files
  8. Run Drupal’s Updates
  9. Confirm the site is working correctly
  10. Take the site back out of maintenance mode
  11. Re-confirm the site is working correctly
  12. Notify the team / client the site has been updated and is back online

This is not the only way that you could manage your site updates, but it has worked well for us.  The same basic process can be used for WordPress but seems like overkill when the automatic updates usually work well.