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Updating From WordPress 2.2 to 2.3

I have been using WordPress for almost 4 years and have collected a number of database tables, plugin specific directories, and miscellaneous junk along the way on a number of my sites. I wanted to take some time and really do some spring cleaning. After a few hours – I was very pleased with the results and I wanted to share what worked for me.

Here are the steps I recommend to really clean out a WordPress installation:

  1. Make a backup of everything. You never know what you are going to get into – and a backup is very important incase things go bad.
  2. Make a test installation. I always use a test server when I know I am going to make several changes. This way, was not down while I was testing and cleaning up. With your backup files, import your database on the test server, and grab the latest version of WordPress (hopefully using subversion)
  3. Remove old or unused plugin database tables. I then went into the WordPress database and removed (dropped) any tables that were created by any of my old or unused plugins that were still hanging around.
  4. Weed out old, unused plugins. I went through my plugins and deleted any old or unused plugins. I had a few “I should really use this” plugins that were never used – and to tidy up – I deleted them before uploading them to the test server environment. Make sure to also remove any files/folders that old plugins might have used in the root folder and or wp-content.
  5. Move your theme over. Upload the theme file over to the test server.
  6. Move your uploads over/miscellaneous files. Upload the uploads folder (wp-content) so you will have all your old uploads.
  7. Update WordPress. Run through the upgrade process (/wp-admin/upgrade.php).
  8. Debug your plugins. Log in, create a test post to make sure you can write to the database without any errors. I ran into a few problems with this, so I deactivated my plugins and activated them one by one. I found I had a few plugins that were not compatible with WordPress 2.3, but there were updates available, so I updated my plugins and moved on.
  9. Import Tags (if you have them). I used Ultimate Tag Warrior and WordPress has an import option for that (Manage > Import) for that.
  10. Display your WordPress tags in your WordPress theme. Now that tagging is available within WordPress without any plugins, you can easily display tags by using: You can also use a tag cloud (see Codex documentation)
  11. Make another backup. I always make another backup of my sites when I am happy with the end result – just incase something happened – I would not lose all my hard work.
  12. Enjoy your updated installation. Hey – you did it! A clean, lean, updated web site. Nice work. Now go and enjoy it!