If you are a WordPress user, you’ve likely noticed that you’ve been getting update notifications for your site(s) telling you that WordPress 3.0.2 has been released.
If you haven’t updated your installation yet, it’s best to get on top of it as soon as possible. Not only is the update only a minor security release, meaning it shouldn’t affect any plugins, themes, or other elements of your site, but it fixes a rare but potentially nasty security hole in WordPress as well as other bugs that have cropped up along the way.
So for WordPress users, this is an exciting time, even if it is a bit of a headache to update all of your sites. Fortunately, the update process is easy and should only take a few moments for each domain.
Upgrading to WordPress 3.0.2
The main function of the 3.0.2 release is to fix a relatively minor security issue where someone with author access to a site could escalate their privileges to gain further access.
This issue doesn’t affect many blogs, just those that have multiple authors and restrict at least some of those authors to lower access levels. For example, group blogs are a common place to see this behavior.
If you are the only author of your blog, it shouldn’t be a major concern as it doesn’t seem to be an exploit a non-account holder can use. However, the update is still highly recommended as it also addresses other bugs and addresses features that might have been prone to abuse.
To update your site, all you need to do is either click the notice that appears at the top of your admin panel or go to the Dashboard -> Updates menu to run the installation. Remember, depending on your setup, you may need your FTP information.
Likewise, if you are an author to a blog and don’t have administration access, you may need to notify your admin, as per the screenshot above.
Looking Ahead to WordPress 3.1
WordPress 3.1, the next version of WordPress, which is currently in beta, is largely a shot at Tumblr and other microblogging platforms with the addition of post types. This will enable a Tumblr-like feature where the user can designate the type of post that they are working on and the theme can then create a custom style around it.
This is designed to be similar to how Tumblr breaks apart quotes, images, audio, video and other post types and will enable theme developers to create simple to use microblogs using a WordPress installation.
WordPress 3.1 will also introduce theme search, which will make it easier to locate new themes for your site and a new internal linking interface that will make it faster to find related content on your site to link to within your new posts. The version also includes several improvements to the admin interface, including the new admin bar, and improvements/updates to the visual post editor.
While Automattic and WordPress developers discourage installing beta software on an active blog, you are certainly free to download a copy and try it out on a test site. Just bear in mind that it may crash, erase data or do other horrible things to your site.
All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a WordPress user. A security release is out and a new version is right on the horizon.
Though neither may be the major overhaul we saw with previous releases, it shows that, after a fairly long lull, development and releasing of WordPress is picking up again and we can expect new features and new releases sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, it is crucial that WordPress users upgrade to the latest version, even if they don’t have other authors on their site, not only so they can get the bug fixes and stay secure, but so that they can be as ready as possible for WordPress 3.1 when it is released.