Upgrading WordPress 2.9 and Thesis 1.6

*Update – Click here for the WordPress 2.9.1 Update Notes*

I have spent the last two days upgrading all of my sites to the latest version of WordPress 2.9, and for Kikolani, the upgrade for Thesis 1.6 as well.

Upgrades generally make me nervous, as you never know what kind of issues you are going to run into with various plugins and other customization work you have done. Fortunately, I had a lot of sites to mess around with before moving onto my this site and my client sites. So here are my experiences in the magical world of upgrading.

WordPress Upgrades

Dofollow – from WordPress 2.8.4 to 2.9
My first attempt at upgrading was with my Dofollow Blog Directory. It was sitting at version 2.8.4, and I used the automatic upgrade option which went smoothly. No issues with my plugins, which I forgot to deactivate before upgrading.

Soulmates Wedding – from WordPress 2.7.1 to 2.9
This was definitely my most challenging of upgrades, as I had never upgraded this site to WordPress 2.8. The automatic upgrade absolutely did not work, and after it failed, Soulmates Wedding was left as a blank white screen with nothing but a favicon.

After a bit of reading around forums and WordPress documents, I ended up doing a manual upgrade to WordPress 2.8.6 using the files in the WordPress Release Archive. This included:

  • Deleting the wp-admin and wp-includes folders
  • Uploading the WordPress 2.8.6 wp-admin and wp-includes folders
  • Uploading the main files WordPress 2.8.6 files
  • Uploading the index.php files in the wp-content and wp-content/plugins folders

When I checked the site, it was back up again (thank goodness). I went to login, and WordPress asked me to update the database, which worked successfully, and now that the site was at 2.8.6, I was able to use the automatic upgrade feature to move it to WordPress 2.9.

101 Things – from WordPress 2.7.1 to 2.9
It has been awhile since I have done work on my 101 things list. So it was nice to not only run the upgrade manually to 2.8.6 and then automatically to 2.9, but also to see that I have made some progress towards my goals. It was a good reminder to get back to working on those for next year.

Malshi – from WordPress 2.8.2 to 2.9
Another site that is desperate need of updating, one I created for my love of the Malshis, a hybrid / designer dog breed mix between Shih-Tzu and Maltese, was an easy automatic upgrade from 2.8.2 to 2.9.

Artistic Gemini and My Portfolio – from WordPress 2.8.6 to 2.9
Artistic Gemini and my WordPress Customization portfolio were both automatically upgraded to 2.9. WordPress 2.9 caused a nice error with a Post Template plugin that I needed for a previous theme on my portfolio, so it wasn’t too great of a loss when I had to leave it deactivated.

Kikolani – from WordPress 2.7.1 to 2.9
Finally, the biggest, most nerve racking update – this site. I did everything as by the book as possible, including:

  • Deactivating all plugins
  • Deleting the wp-admin and wp-includes folders
  • Uploading the WordPress 2.8.6 wp-admin and wp-includes folders
  • Uploading the main files WordPress 2.8.6 files
  • Uploading the index.php files in the wp-content and wp-content/plugins folders
  • Updating database
  • Running automatic upgrade to 2.9
  • Activated necessary plugins, one by one

There was one moment where my heart sank during this process, as the database upgrade (after the 2.8.6 update) never displayed the successful message. I had to refresh the page, hit the update again, and then wait until it went to the login page. From there the automatic upgrade worked fine.

So far, the only issues I’ve noticed is the loss of my Meet Your Commenters plugin, which showed any social and blog links related to your most recent commenters in the dashboard, and an error message of “RSS Error: The data could not be converted to UTF-8″ on the Incoming Links section of the dashboard.

Also, due to popular demand, I finally added the threaded functionality to the comments section. :)

Thesis 1.6 Upgrade

Oes tsetnoc – Thesis 1.5.1 to 1.6
I experimented with the Thesis 1.6 upgrade on my oes tsetnoc site first, prior to doing Kikolani. I didn’t follow the directions well from the DIY Themes site, as I missed the important key of not trying to upload the 1.6 files into the 1.5 directory, and suffered the consequences of losing my CSS styles, menu, and 3 column layout.

For some reason, the directions on Thesis Tools about how to upgrade Thesis 1.5 to Thesis 1.6 made a little more sense to me, and I successfully installed the new Thesis version. I uploaded the new Thesis 1.6 files to my website, changed the custom_sample folder to custom, and then uploaded my custom.css and custom-functions.php files to the new custom folder. Finally, I changed the permissions on the layout.css, and my site went back to normal again.

Kikolani – Thesis 1.5 to 1.6
So now that I had a bit of experience with the upgrade and better directions, I made a much easier upgrade from Thesis 1.5 to 1.6 with no problems. Now I will be able to update my Thesis customization articles soon with the new Thesis 1.6 changes.

UPDATE: WordPress 2.9.1

Hot on the heels of the 2.9 release is the 2.9.1 update with some bug fixes. I did a direct upgrade of my poetry site from 2.8.4 to 2.9.1 using the automatic upgrade with no issues.

I also have updated a few of my sites listed above directly from 2.9 to 2.9.1. If your site is already updated to 2.9, and you use the automatic upgrade to 2.9.1, it will also notify you if you have some plugins that are also due to be updated, and gives you the option to select those to be upgraded at the same time as you upgrade WordPress. Personally, I’m going to do the plugins separately. In case there are problems, you can at least know what caused it – the WordPress upgrade or the plugins.

One little issue I ran into doing the auto upgrade from 2.9 to 2.9.1 was a time out error. While doing the upgrade, I also opened another website that was having trouble loading. The installation failed due to the error, but when I went to do the upgrade again, this time without simultaneously messing with anything else, it worked just fine.

The only bug I noticed after upgrading to 2.9 on Kikolani was I lost my incoming links in the WordPress dashboard due to a RSS error, and that is now working again with the 2.9.1 update.

Your Upgrade Successes and Issues

So now that I’ve shared my upgrading experiences, it is your turn. Is there any advice or troubleshooting tips you would like to share when upgrading WordPress to its latest version?

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes     Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting


  1. says

    Is the auto-upgrade from 2.7.1 to 2.9 a problem for many people? Does it seem like the auto-upgrade works better between version to version than bigger jumps? Also, I’m curious – since you had to manually upgrade to 2.8.6 why didn’t you just go ahead and do it to 2.9 all at once? Or were you trying to make sure that the auto-upgrade still worked?

    I always upgrade manually – I’m stubborn and it helps me avoid problems when upgrading other sites.
    .-= Kim Woodbridge´s last blog ..Top 5 (Anti) Social Articles in 2009 =-.

    • says

      I tried the manual from 2.7.1 to 2.9, but that didn’t work either. I figured that since the auto upgrade worked between 2.8.4 and 2.9, if I could manually update the 2.7.1 to 2.8.6, I would be able to auto upgrade from there, which worked.

  2. says

    Kristi, Good insights on the upgrade processes. I’m still on 2.8.4 and Thesis 1.5 so your post will give me good motivation to finally getting around to upgrading both WordPress and Thesis.

    I had heard that the upgrade from WP 2.8.4 to WP 2.9 was relatively painless and like you also had run into issues when upgrading from 2.7.1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with WP and Thesis upgrades and best wishes on an exciting and prosperous 2010.
    .-= Mike @ Computer Tips´s last blog ..Norton Product Updates – Windows 7 Compatibility =-.

  3. says

    Some good comments you have made about the upgrading process for thesis and wordpress. When you got the blank screen for Soulmates Wedding did you get a bit nervous? I remember when one of my upgrades resulted in my site having the white screen and I was a bit worried! luckily I got through it and now it is running the latest version WP 2.9.

    Btw, Happy New YEAR Kristi!

    Brandon Walker
    .-= Brandon @ How to Make Money Blogging ´s last blog ..5 Essential Firefox Addons for Bloggers =-.

    • says

      Nervous wasn’t the word for it… it was a mix between frustration and depression when the site crashed. I was just glad I didn’t have that experience on this site first.

    • says

      Normally I would wait, but I figured the holidays was the best time to give all of these updates a try so I could have plenty of time to work out any bugs.

  4. says

    Ah! this explains how much busy you were in the last a few days! Wonderful post, I was lucky when I fist joined the Thesis world because the 1.6 version was already out, but those guys really made the upgrading process easy and fast, thanks for the tip and congratulations for the upgrade and Happy New Year to you, Jason and all the family!
    .-= Hesham @ FamousBloggers´s last blog ..Google decided a PageRank of 3 for Famous Bloggers blog =-.

  5. says

    I’m using 2.9 and truly and frankly earlier version is better. I get page not found error to many time when I click on publish button. Also some people get problem on schedule post section. Only good thing is image editing. I really love the image editing feature but hate the separation of image title and image alt text section. Now I need to type twice.
    .-= Arafat Hossain Piyada´s last blog ..11 Search Term That Can Spoil Your New Year Party (Security Alert) =-.

  6. says

    I had one issue that caused me to roll back to 2.8.6, and that was my SQL database. It is version 4.0.2, and apparently 4.1 is now needed. I haven’t quite figured out the problem, but couldn’t get my phpAdmin to copy the tables from one version to another. I actually have a 4, 5 and a 6 database (the last in beta). But exporting went fine, couldn’t import.

    But I guess there will be a solution when I ask my webhost to copy the tables, and then change servers after I update to 2.9.

    Happy New Year
    .-= Henrik Blunck – Denmark´s last blog ..Be Mindful of Your Privacy =-.

    • says

      When I did the messed up automatic upgrade of Soulmates Wedding from 2.7.1, it didn’t deactivate the plugins. Maybe it failed earlier than that step, I’m not sure, but it definitely didn’t do it. Maybe it does in the later versions though.

  7. says

    I have upgraded from WP 2.8.6, with 1.6 previously Thessis updated. No problems with the automatic update.
    Previously I made sure that the backup was updated.
    .-= Carlos Dagorret´s last blog ..22 =-.

  8. says

    “There was one moment where my heart sank during this process, as the database upgrade (after the 2.8.6 update) never displayed the successful message”
    Yikes! Thankfully I’ve never seen this message as I don’t normally back up my WordPress blog before doing an upgrade…naughty me!
    .-= Michael Aulia´s last blog ..TuneUp Utilities 2010 Review =-.

  9. says

    On my personal blog after I upgraded to wordpress 2.9 I’ve noticed that whenever I try to hit the “empty spam” button if there is more than 150 comments in there, it will time out after doing about 150 of them, its quite strange, still not sure why its happening :( Still happens after i updated to 2.9.1

    Till then,


  10. says

    Thesis has been troubling me (I’m still on 1.5) although now I feel it is time to upgrade, as I’m missing out on the newer features of the latest version. Thanks for the info :-)
    .-= New from Clint@Perth SEO Perth SEO Consulting =-.