Upgrading to Textpattern CMS 4.5.7

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Textpattern CMS version 4.5.7 was released toward the end of September on the ten year anniversary of the first public commit from Textpattern’s creator Dean Allen. If you’re running Textpattern already, it’s time to plan your upgrade. The process of upgrading is straightforward, and as long as you make take common sense precautions your website should be back online within a few minutes. This article will explain how to upgrade your Textpattern instance(s) to the latest version.

Before you do anything at all, take a backup of your website files and database(s) and confirm their integrity. This is important, and I make no apology for being almost evangelical about computer backups. I’ve been stung before – not with Textpattern, I hasten to add – and not had backups when things went wrong. Take a few minutes to snag a safe copy of your files and databases, and then read on.

The overview of a Textpattern upgrade goes like this:

* Confirm working backups of database and files
* Download new Textpattern distribution
* Extract new Textpattern distribution
* Replace existing Textpattern files with new Textpattern files
* Log in to complete the upgrade process
* Perform post-upgrade cleanup

Make a local or safe copy of `/textpattern/config.php`. This is important. I’ve often missed this crucial step and had to scoop a safe copy from a backup. The `config.php` is the glue that binds the files to the database.

When you’ve confirmed a known-good backup and a local copy of `/textpattern/config.php`, you’re ready to go. Log out of the Textpattern administration area. Visit the Textpattern download area and download the .zip or .tar.gz file. If you’re running a multi-site Textpattern instance, grab the .tar.gz as the .zip distribution of Textpattern version 4.5.7 doesn’t include the multi-site files. Unzip or extract your chosen distribution and you’ll see the Textpattern version 4.5.7 files.

Before you go all gung-ho and start uploading files to the server, take a minute to bear this in mind: don’t overwrite everything without thinking as you may lose some of your stuff. The `files` and `images` directories on your live site may contain files and/or images. Uploading the equivalents in the newly-downloaded files to your server and choosing to overwrite will delete your files and/or images. This is bad, so don’t do it.

Everything in the `textpattern` directory should be overwritten and replaced with the new files. You will also need to upload the `textpattern/config.php` file that you copied earlier. In the root directory, you will also need to overwrite `index.php` and `.htaccess`. When you’ve done that, check if you have an `rpc` directory and overwrite it with the new copy if you do. Ditto for `css.php` – overwrite that if it exists. Check the front-side of your website to make sure it’s running as expected.

That’s about it for FTP things, but don’t close your FTP program just yet. Log in to the Textpattern administration area and you will be taken to the language panel where you’re prompted to update your installed language(s). When that’s done, click or tap on the Admin → Diagnostics tab and note any pre-flight check errors. It’s likely you will see a reference to the `textpattern/setup` directory still existing, and that directory should be removed. Use your FTP program to delete it, then close your FTP program. If you have any other pre-flight error messages, leave a comment here or check the Textpattern support forum and we’ll figure out the best way to fix it.

Congratulations, you just upgraded Textpattern. In my next article I’ll show you how to strip back the upgrade files if you’re on a slow connection, saving you bytes and time.

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Author Spotlight

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - petecooper.org - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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