The long Upgrade: Taking WordPress from 2.0.4 to 4.7.2

I started this blog in 2005, running on WordPress 1.5. As it was then already customary (but not nearly as easy as it is now), I chose a theme and modified it extensively, adding several plugins along the way. After working on the blog for about two years, I moved on to different things, and it has rested mostly untouched, running on wp 2.0.4, for about a decade; that is, until last November I got a warning from my hosting provider that several files were infected with a virus.

In all honesty I was lucky that it took so long for serious issues to arise, and even luckier that I could get things back to normal, but unfortunately for me, “normal” still meant a blog with more holes than a Swiss cheese. I thought on closing it for good, but many articles are still current and I felt indebted to the people that contributed great articles and helped me so much, so I took the plunge and decided to update.

Here goes a quick review of the process:

  • A note on my mindset: At this point I was more concerned on the blog being vulnerable than on the risks of updating. I had assumed that all the old plugins would be obsolete and I was fine with losing the custom layout and theme.
  • Made a backup of the old blog and the database
  • Turned off all the plugins
  • Went to the WordPress codex and found a list with all the wordpress versions ready to download, so I proceeded to upgrade wordpress version by version, up to v3.7 (I did skip a few minor revisions after v2.3)
  • After v3.0 I had to upgrade the security keys, as noted here. I also revised config.php, as per this post
  • At v3.3 I had an issue with the admin page not showing. I found solutions here, but actually I just needed to move forward with upgrading the site, as noted here
  • I also dealt with some characters not showing properly. Turns out it was a problem with the encoding (solution here)
  • At v3.7 I decided to “update to latest” from the admin panel (the feature had been available since v2.7 -I was just being very cautious). Everything went well -success! The blog auto updates itself now, and I have high hopes for the next ten years 😀
  • In all, the process was tedious, painless, and mostly uneventful. The list above is half the story though, as I still had to go over the theme and plugins. I won’t extend myself much further as that is really another topic -just a few notes:

  • If you handled your images with Owen Wrinkler’s Exhibit, there is a plugin to help you migrate to the current Gallery system
  • If you handled your tags with Ultimate Tag Warrior, there is also a plugin to help you migrate the tags
  • Some of your old plugins might still be active!
  • If by any chance you find yourself in a similar situation and happen to land here, I hope you’ll find this information useful -good luck!

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