Hi, I am working on a WordPress theme redesign that uses version 2.7. The existing site has a lot of readers and 4 years worth of posts (also a lot basically). The existing installation uses v2.3.1 and is sitting in a folder withing the root. Basically the existing URL is like this http://www.domain.com/site/. I'm not sure as to how I can approach this upgrade. My options seem to be
1. Upgrade existing WP v2.3.1 to 2.7. And then apply the new theme I did. But there's a huge risk of breaking the existing plugins that are installed. Also the new layout I did uses a set of different (newer) plugins. Seems like there'll definitely be down time.
2. Create a whole new directory (i.e. http://www.domain.com/site_v2/) and do a fresh install of 2.7 in there. Export the XML from the 2.3.1 installation and then import it into the new WP installation. But the site is so large that the XML that I export is very large as well. And it times out during export/import process. ( I edited all the php.ini parameters already, increased file upload and memory allocation to 64M and also the timeouts to 60 seconds). My last attempt had the timeouts set to 60 seconds but I still get fatal errors on the exported XML. I'm not sure how much more I should increase the script time outs.
Also if I go with option #2, that would risk broken links and and affect SEO.
I've never done a large scale wordpress upgrade before, can someone please chime in with some advice as to what the best solution would be?
Any help is much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.