The smart way to update WordPress

If you are currently running WordPress 2.0.6 or an earlier version, it is recommended that you update to WordPress 2.0.7. Unlike previous updates, this one is so small that WordPress published a list of files which have changed since 2.0.6. You’ll only have to upload these files and not the complete installation. You can get a ZIP (or a diff file, if you’re able to use it) of the changed files at Mark Jaquith’s blog.

However, what if your current installation is older than 2.0.6? If you still have a copy of the older WordPress version on your local PC, you could use WinMerge (open source, Win32) to identify the changed files and copy them to a directory from which you can then upload them. Simply unzip the latest version of WordPress, run WinMerge, chose File > Open and select the directory containing the previous and current version. Make sure that “Include subfolders” is checked:

WinMerge will then compare all files and show the results in a list. Sort the list by clicking on “ Comparison result” at the top. Now select all files which are different and copy them to an empty directory by right-clicking and choosing Copy > Right to…:

This, of course, assumes you opened the new version’s folder on the right side. You could also unselect certain files you don’t want to change before copying them (e.g. files in the “wp-content” folder).

Now all you have to do is to upload the changed files, overwriting the existing ones. If you want to make a ZIP of changed files available to others, WinMerge can do this, too, but you’ll have to install the 7-zip plugin for this option to become available.

Warning: Using this method you can save a lot of time, but you should be aware of the following limitations:

  1. It won’t delete any files which have become obsolete. Always scroll down in WinMerge’s sorted list to see if any files are no longer part of the newer version.
  2. It won’t “repair” any files which might have been compromised (other than the ones you’ve selected for upload).

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