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Better update instructions?

  • I just wanna petition for better instructions on the whole upgrading bit.

    WordPress really shines for making things simple, but I’m afraid the brevity of the instructions included in the zip file “readme.html” file are rather unnerving to follow.

    I don’t run an FTP server, because I don’t need an FTP server. So automated updates aren’t really an option. I’m fine with manually extracting an archive into my wordpress root, but here are a few things I’d like to see out of the upgrade directions:

    Old text:
    1) Delete your old WP files, saving ones you’ve modified.
    New text:
    1) Delete your old WP files, except for themes, plugins, or anything else you’ve modified. Oh, and don’t nuke your wp-config.php file, because that’s kind of important.

    (( step 2 is fine: Upload the new files. ))

    Old text:
    3) Point your browser to /wp-admin/upgrade.php.
    New text:
    3) If you nuked your wp-config.php in step one (since we didn’t remind you that you should have kept it), dig around in your other projects to remember what the hell your database password was. Then continue.

    New text:
    4) Read the next message about how you’ve already got WP installed, and that you should now drop your database.

    New text:
    5) Scream in agony because it sounds like you’ve just broken the entire thing. Looks like you’ve got to start over, rewriting that post that you didn’t back up because you thought this was supposed to be easy.

    New text:
    6) But wait– disregard that nonsense in step 5. You’ve actually succeeded, since giving WP you database info again secretly performed the task required, yet not-so-cleverly dumped you an inaccurate page.

    New text:
    7) Heh, you thought that was all? You forgot to do a recursive chgrp and chmod on the whole operation to get your apache user (www-data or the like) write-permissions.

    It was strange to me that simply unzipping the archive over top of my old setup wasn’t enough, and that an update attempt could not be detected when I visited that /upgrade.php link.

    Am I the only one thinking that step one being “delete everything” is a little bit strong, and should sacrifice brevity for better info? I’ll of course know how this whole things goes down in the future, but I wasn’t exactly comfortable doing an upgrade for the first time. I have to believe that there are more people out there who defer upgrading because they aren’t really keen on deleting their whole blog without any more instructions than are given. I delayed upgrading since version 2.6-something.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Maybe this will help: Upgrading WordPress Extended

    I don’t run an FTP server, because I don’t need an FTP server.

    Are you self-hosting this? Its your web-host that needs the FTP server.

    New text:
    1) Delete your old WP files, except for themes, plugins, or anything else you’ve modified. Oh, and don’t nuke your wp-config.php file, because that’s kind of important.

    You mean like this?

    # Delete the old WordPress files on your site, but DO NOT DELETE

    * wp-config.php file;
    * wp-content folder; Special Exception: the wp-content/cache and the wp-content/plugins/widgets folders should be deleted.
    * wp-images folder;
    * wp-includes/languages/ folder–if you are using a language file do not delete that folder;
    * .htaccess file–if you have added custom rules to your .htaccess, do not delete it;
    * robots.txt file–if your blog lives in the root of your site (ie. the blog is the site) and you have created such a file, do not delete it.

    since we didn’t remind you that you should have kept it

    Even though it would have been something you’ve modified.

    Read the next message about how you’ve already got WP installed, and that you should now drop your database.

    Are you sure the message says ‘drop’ your database. Dropping a database irreversibly deletes the whole thing– config, posts, everything. I have never seen WordPress recommend that action. It would be kind-of insane. It does sometimes mention needing to update or upgrade the database. I can’t recall the exact language.

    … rewriting that post that you didn’t back up because you thought this was supposed to be easy.

    Backing up the DB should be in there.

    7) Heh, you thought that was all? You forgot to do a recursive chgrp and chmod on the whole operation to get your apache user (www-data or the like) write-permissions.

    Never had to do that. This is probably a server specific issue.

    Am I the only one thinking that step one being “delete everything” is a little bit strong, and should sacrifice brevity for better info?

    Overwrites fail. They aren’t 100% reliable. Uploads fail too but you’ll get errors if a file is missing. You may not get an error if a file was not overwritten, though you’d be using an old file and may end up with other problems. Files come and go. Functions move around and may result in naming conflicts if everything is left in place. You may also be leaving vulnerable files in place if all you do is overwrite.

    I have to believe that there are more people out there who defer upgrading because they aren’t really keen on deleting their whole blog without any more instructions than are given…

    You aren’t deleting your blog. Your blog is in the database. The WordPress files are user-interface really.

    Thanks for the reply. I hope my initial cheeky post isn’t too forward.

    Are you self-hosting this? Its your web-host that needs the FTP server.

    Yep. I should have made it a bit more clear.

    You mean like this?

    I should like to take the time to make a point:

    The very reason why I was following THE DIRECTIONS THAT ARE WITH THE README.HTML FILE is because I wasn’t sure what to be doing. By very definition, THAT’S WHAT THE DIRECTIONS ARE FOR. I hate that people who run the show always treat people like me as if I’ve failed humanity. Look, if you included directions, then PROVIDE A LINK TO EXTENDED DIRECTIONS IF SUCH A LINK IS NECESSARY. This isn’t my fault that the directions in the readme.html are so half-baked.

    Even though it would have been something you’ve modified.

    I hardly remembered that *I* modified it, since it was generated when I set the thing up so long ago. Once again, the directions ought to have pointed out just how careful one should be, and no so calmly state “oh, just delete your files”.

    Are you sure the message says ‘drop’ your database.

    Well, here’s what it says.. wp-admin/install.php, line 83:

    ‘You appear to have already installed WordPress. To reinstall please clear your old database tables first.’

    Note that I never went to “install.php” manually– that’s where it pushed me after it had me rebuild my wp-config.php. In short, I understand why it did what it did, but I disagree with the lack of info that I got along the way.

    Backing up the DB should be in there.

    Yes it is, but you missed the point. I thought it was going to be a snap, so I figured I was safe. I know that that was my own fault, but it was just a shovel-full on top of the pile at that point.

    Never had to do that. This is probably a server specific issue.

    I have not set up my server to automatically dish out apache-user permissions by default on my docroot. Which is why I keep my own user as the owner of the files, with the apache user privileged to alter the files as well. I hadn’t thought that this was a strange thing to do.

    You aren’t deleting your blog. Your blog is in the database. The WordPress files are user-interface really.

    Yes, I’m aware, however the PHP is rather critical to the thing functioning, and to any user who may have visited my site during this circus, my blog was gone. In effectual terms, I had nuked the engine powering the otherwise useless little chunk of database tables.

    And so, I stand by my initial petition, to provide a link to those more extended instructions. Why is this so wrong? You people who know the process in and out are quick to dish out the classic “RTFM” response. How about you inform people that the F-ing Manual exists?

    And don’t tell me I should have researched it first. Yes, arguably. But the directions in the readme.html make it sound so easy that you can’t go wrong. Until you end up screwing stuff up.

    http://i46.tinypic.com/2i22o6.png

    Nowhere does it say to drop your database.

    I agree, though, a link to extended directions would be prudent.

    Nowhere does it say to drop your database.

    Read my reply– I point out where it told me to do that. Please read the context too, and you’ll see how I ended up getting the message.

    No, I know how you got there, I’m just pointing out that since it’s not in the upgrade directions, that should have been a red-flag for ‘Wait, this doesn’t look like what the stupid directions said…’

    I followed the whole story and I do understand that, by not knowing what files to delete, you got shafted. I agree that having that link in the readme would probably have spared you agony. It may not sound like it, but I am empathic to your pain, been there too.

    WordPress’s ‘flaw’ is that it assumes if you’re self-hosting, you’re knowledgeable about how self-hosting, in general, goes, so it assumes you’ve got some experience built in. A little clearer update instructions would have helped a lot, though. Yeah, I’ve got a though! Most newbies these days use the automatic updater inside the Admin section, so this is becoming less common an occurrence than it was a year ago. Just a partial explanation.

    Oh, as soon as it told me that I ought to clear my database to “reinstall”, I of course knew I was getting off the green. That’s when I went and started jiggering around with stuff and discovered the actual state of things.

    I would love to use the automatic updater too, but like I kicked it all off by saying, I don’t run any FTP server, and so I can’t just go and make up login/password info to give to WP to do it for me.

    Is it possible to just let WP fake a file upload of the updated zip archive, and then let it extract the new one all by itself? Since Apache is doing it, the owner would automatically be www-data (in my case), and things could go on without any speedbumps.

    I suppose there are security implications to letting a file upload to remove all the existing stuff, but hey– we accomplish lots of crazy stuff today.

    I would love to use the automatic updater too, but like I kicked it all off by saying, I don’t run any FTP server, and so I can’t just go and make up login/password info to give to WP to do it for me.

    *headscratch* Okay, that really doesn’t compute.

    How do you upload files to your website, out of curiosity?

    I run it myself– that’s what I thought we had established before. It literally sits in my house. I SSH into it to maintain it (remotely if needed).

    For me, this is less of a “website” setup, and more of a “linux” setup 🙂 I do tons of stuff on this server. Several projects, and SVN server, etc, etc.

    Yeah, but it’s in the middle of everything and I got confused (sometimes I like to step back and look at just ONE aspect of a problem).

    If you have SSH, you should be able to use that same user ID and password with Secure FTP via the update page within WordPress. I say this because, in my experience, with most hosts you’re far more likely to have FTP access than SSH, and if you DO have SSH you probably actually do have FTP. If you’re 100% self hosted (i.e. you built the server or it’s a VPS) then you should be able to turn on FTP for your login account.

    Yes, the SFTP thing has worked for me in the past, but I can never make it accept my credentials. It always tells me that it fails to log in. I haven’t the slightest idea why this doesn’t work.

    I tried to remedy the problem a while back and install an FTP server. I had started my box with almost nothing on it, so as to avoid any extra stuff I didn’t need. It’s not exactly a new computer 🙂 I’ve somehow catastrophically iced my package manager, though, and I’ve spent days trying to iron it out again, but to no avail. Therefore, I’ve been considering just trying to wipe it out and go with a fresh install of a newer version of the OS.

    The short story is that I have no FTP server, since I don’t need an FTP server, and when I succumed to try it, I had already severely broken my package manager, and I haven’t the courage to care enough to fix it, nor to do everything by raw source tarballs.

    .. Which led me to download the archive and do it myself. It was certainly the easier approach. .. At the time.

    Yes, the SFTP thing has worked for me in the past

    Sorry– that was ambiguous. SFTP works for me in other applications, such as using WinSCP/PuTTY to connect via SFTP.

    Made sense actually. If it works for putty/WinSCP (which I also use now and then), it’ll work for WordPress in my experience.

    Make sure of two things:
    1) Firefox isn’t auto-filling the wrong information. I can use the same ID for FTP as I do for WordPress, and since FireFox saved my wordpress password, it eternally screws up when I want to change that.

    2) You select the secure connection option on that page.

    It always tells me the following, contrary to the port number I would expect:

    Failed to connect to FTP Server mangos.dontexist.net:21

    SFTP should listen on port 22.

    Does WP have a long-standing bug, or does the SFTP option totally not act like in other programs?

    It means you’re not using the secure connection option. It’s FTPS (SSL) (the second radio button).

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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