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Should You Upgrade to WordPress 2.5?

10 March, 2008 (14:42) | WordPress | By: Nick Dalton

After almost six months of development WordPress version 2.5 is slated to be released today. (Version 2.4 was supposed to be released just after the Christmas holidays, but it was skipped.)

What’s New?

Here are some of the major new features:

  • The admin pages have been extensively overhauled. They have a new, more “web 2.0” look.
  • Avatars are supported in comments. By default Gravatars, recently purchased by Automattic (the company behind much of the WP development), is supported.

Not Another Upgrade…

I know it wasn’t long since you upgraded to 2.3.3 (I hope you did!) There are always bugs that slip into major releases and they are fixed in the next point version. Here’s a look at the history of major WordPress releases:

Major Release Release Date First Bug Fix Bug Fix Released
2.0 Dec 31, 2005 2.0.1 31 days later
2.1 Jan 22, 2007 2.1.1 30 days later
2.2 May 16, 2007 2.2.1 36 days later
2.3 Sep 24, 2007 2.3.1 32 days later

As you can see from the history there is a new major release every 5-6 months, and a bug fix coming about 30 days later.

I want to focus on blogging. Do I have to upgrade?

If you’re not worried about keeping up with the Joneses in terms of sporting the latest and greatest WordPress software and plugins, then by all means stay on version 2.3.3. (If you’re on a version prior to 2.3.3 you should upgrade immediately due to security issues in all prior WordPress versions.)

The WordPress developers typically maintain the two latest major branches. That means 2.3.x code will be kept up to date with the latest security fixes as long as 2.5.x is the most current release. Once 2.6 is released (planned for July 7, 2008) the 2.3 branch will probably be orphaned and you would be highly advised to upgrade.

I want to be on the bleeding edge

Ok, come along for the ride…

  1. Do a complete backup your blog. See my video tutorial.
  2. There are not many theme related changes in 2.5 so most themes should continue to work. But there are some extensive changes to the plugin API, so some plugins are going to break. Check your theme and plugins against the known working/not working lists: Theme Compatibility and Plugin Compatibility. If your theme/plugin is on the not working list, then you should change your theme and delete the incompatible plugins. If your theme/plugin is not listed as not working, then that’s not a guarantee that it will work. You may be the guinea pig for testing and reporting any issues.
  3. I recommend that you don’t start with upgrading your live blog; you are bound to get some unhappy readers while you’re upgrading and fixing any issues that come up. Instead restore your backup to a new location, e.g., and also restore the database to a different instance, e.g. wpbackup. Use this backup instance of your blog to upgrade and test things out first. Once you’re happy with how everything is working, then upgrade your live blog. I’ll have a video tutorial on this soon.
  4. Disable all plugins.
  5. Upload the new 2.5 WordPress files.
  6. Run the upgrade script: /wp-admin/upgrade.php
  7. Test your blog and enable plugins one by one.
  8. Write a post telling the world that you are running the latest and greatest WordPress software.

Lorelle has another good checklist of things to do before upgrading to 2.5.

What am I going to do?

I will upgrade one or two of my test blogs to make sure that the products I’m developing related to WordPress still work with 2.5. I will wait to upgrade this blog until 2.5.1 comes out. By then most of the initial bugs should be fixed and the plugins I can’t live without should also be upgraded to work with 2.5.

What are you going to do?


Comment from Business Growth – Ryan M. Healy
Time: March 10, 2008, 15:20

Well, seeing as I JUST upgraded to 2.3.3 over the weekend, I will probably wait to upgrade for a while. I can only handle so many upgrades per week or month. ;-)


Comment from The Talker
Time: March 30, 2008, 05:36

Had just got 2.3.3 to be useable, went to version 2.5. For me it is unusable as the Manage Posts and Pages section changed, eliminating the very best features of that section. Any way to easily go back to 2.3.3 , otherwise will need to find another program that suits my needs. Not a knock against WordPress per-se, once one has the basics learned, it really purrs. I depended on the ease of the ID access, and access to view the eight major blog segments I have. No longer can do it the same way.

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