As I suspected, upgrading your site is easier said than done. The first order of business is to make sure that you don’t lose the content already on your site. This means that you either (a) manually make a backup of each and every post and comment or (b) use the tools at your disposal to make the upgrade as painless as possible. In the WordPress forum there are some handy tips from those who’ve had to undertake this same journey. The new versions of WordPress (like this one) comes with a handy “Upgrade” button and in the future it should be as “easy” as clicking the link. But, that’s another adventure.
Back-up and Export
Backing up your site is no mean feat. First you need access to your website’s database (MySQL) and use a tool such as PhpMyadmin to find and export your WordPress data. This backup (*.zip) you save somewhere on your PC. This step is not necessary if you are doing a “clean install”, in other words, you intend starting from scratch by manually (Copy & Paste!) putting your posts back in, one by one. Unless you are immortal and thus have all the time in the world, this is not recommended.
Exporting is the option I used. Logging in as the site administrator to WordPress, there’s an “Export” function listed under “Site Management”. This tool allows you to export your users’ post into an XML file, complete with comments. To test how well this would work, the content was exported and then imported into a WordPress installation running on a mini LAMP server running on an old machine. Amazingly, all my posts and the comments with them were there!
The real thing
The next step was to “go live” and install the system on the website host provider. Checking (i) the database server settings (name of database & username) and (ii) the web path (where installed), you are ready to install WordPress. The forum’s packed with “how to’s” in this regard. The new WordPress version was installed and then the “test” , importing the posts and comments … and …. Viola! .. it’s up and running. Luckily, this option worked just fine, otherwise there would have been an”import” to database and other issues to be dealt with.
Next, some configuration such as installing themes and linking the other bits and pieces (such as links) which were not part of the export, and the site was good to go. Over the next few days …err … maybe weeks, the “fine-tuning” will take place. Your patience will be appreciated.