With the new release of WordPress 3.2, I learned (the hard way) about how important it is to always backup your current website version before updating.

I was using the theme Arras, which I thought was a really nice theme that worked really close to what I wanted my website to look like. But I didn’t realize that it wasn’t compatible with the newest version of wordpress (V. 3.2).

The thing about the new version of WordPress is that it is suppose to be lightweight, meaning faster database calls which results in faster website load times. However this also means that they’ve stripped a bunch of the base php code away that use to exist in previous versions (3.1.x and below).

Unfortunately this means that any theme that relied on this code (specifically themes that are customizable within the admin panel) will break, thus crashing your website/blog.

If this has happened to you, you might be thinking, “NO! No! nonononono! All my content, all the time and effort I put into my website for months/years is all gone! NOO!”

To you I say, calm down for a second. Your website content is safe and sound, tucked away in the MySQL database.

So for anyone who has had this issue and doesn’t know what to do, fear not, I’ve fixed my site twice since trying to update.

Here are some basic instructions to fix the issue:

If your webhost has automated wordpress install capabilities such as “SimpleScripts”

  1. Access the SimpleScripts section from the cPanel of your webhost. (I use Blue Host)
  2. Find your website in the “MyInstalls” section. Click Advanced
  3. Click “Update Version”
  4. Select the last stable version of WordPress you were using

If you don’t have automated scripts or if the above option didn’t work you’re going to need to reinstall an older version of wordpress from scratch. Here’s how to do it (note: you will need to have either file management access to your website via your webhost or ftp access using an ftp client like cyberduck)

  1. Go to wordpress.org’s release archive
  2. Scroll down to find the last stable version you were using (in my case 3.1.2)
  3. Download the zip file to your computer and unzip it
  4. Upload all files in the zip folder EXCEPT the “wp-content” folder and overwrite all these files on your website (note: do not overwrite your current wp-content folder or you could potentially lose any customized themes)
  5. Check your website after all files upload and try loging in to the admin panel (you will probably get a message saying that you need to update your database)

That’s it. There might be some other ways to fix this issue, but this is what worked for me. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, especially if this post helped you.