How to Avoid a Big Meltdown Next Time You Update WordPress
Wordpress is an excellent CMS, but as I learned recently, not all updates to the it's core, themes and plugins go smoothly. Take some simple precautions to help safeguard your database and content when performing updates.
Backup, Backup, Backup!
This one should be fairly obvious, but is often overlooked. Wordpress has sever backup plugins available. Among my favorites are BackWPUp and UpdraftPlus. It's important not only to schedule regular backups, but to perform them manually whenever you are updating Wordpress, themes or plugins. While Wordpress core updates are usually pretty solid, theme and plugin updates often introduce new bugs that can wreak havoc on your site.
Use Reputable Theme and Plugin Providers
I try to stay away from themes and plugins that are not produced/distributed by reputable providers. Too many times I have had to restore a site or repair damage by themes and plugins made from sloppy code. Before I select a theme or plugin, I will research the developer to ensure they provide adequate support for their products.
Research Update Stability
Last year, a simple update to a popular form plugin brought down one of our sites for several days. Even though the plugin was by a well known developer, bugs will happen... sometimes awful ones. Since that time, I now take a few minutes to review the release notes for a theme or plugin updates and I review user feedback to ensure the update is stable.
So long as you have a current backup of your site, you should be able to restore easily if an update causes trouble for you. I can only hope that my past experiences and advice might save you from a day of headaches!