Guide for Manually Updating WordPress Using FTP

By: | Updated: September 28, 2015

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Updating WordPress is very important. Many of the updates released help to secure your website or blog. You can automatically update WordPress with some of the minor releases, but for major updates, you will have to actually initiate the update. Occasionally, you have to use an FTP client to manually update WordPress.


Why Update WordPress?



Hackers would love it if you never updated WordPress or your WordPress plugins. They use these parts of websites to get in and do their damage. You don’t want to be left vulnerable to these types of attacks.

By updating WordPress when there is a new version, along with all your plugins, you will be better protected. Sometimes these updates have nothing to do with security, but most of the time, they are all about the security of your website. Make sure you ALWAYS update WordPress and your plugins.


Get Your Site Ready for the Update

Before you actually begin trying to update WordPress for your site, you need to back up your site. Even without access to your WordPress dashboard, you can manually back up the database within your cPanel or other hosting admin area.


Once backed up, you want to download the latest WordPress software from This will be a .zip file, which you will use for the update.

If you have the FTP client installed already, you don’t need to do anything else to get ready for the update. However, if you don’t have an FTP client on your computer already, download one and install it.


Upload the WordPress Files with FTP

Now you need to connect your website to the FTP client so that you can upload the files to WordPress. After you’ve established the connection, go to the root directory for your website and upload the files inside the wordpress folder to this directory.


The FTP client you are using will begin to upload the files to your server. This process will initiate a pop up and you will need to choose the “overwrite” option when it says, “target file already exists”.


Once this process is done, you only have one last step.


Update your WordPress Database


The last thing you need to do is update your database. This isn’t always required with a new WordPress release. However, if you need to do this, you will get a screen that looks like this:


Just click the “Update WordPress Database” button and follow the directions.

That is all it takes to update WordPress with an FTP Client. You always want to run the most current version of WordPress or you may be leaving your website open to hackers.


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