Avoid sitemares – WP version and plugin updates can kill!

Last time I updated WordPress it threw this site into a hideous spin, with infinite redirect loops and a nasty Google Authorship balls-up. What a nightmare. 

Plugin updates nightmares

It wasn’t WordPress itself. The plugins I’d downloaded to help secure my site against hackers and so on also needed updating. In combination, they were the real culprits. And the fact that I’d updated everything in one go didn’t help.

I had a go at sorting it out myself but it was hopeless. So I waited for my husband Tony to get home. After some fiddling and swearing he became ‘reasonably certain’ there’d been several ‘complex interaction issues’ between WordPress itself, the SEO Ultimate and Authorsure plugins and my theme’s custom configuration.

So far, so scary.

Tony completely removed Authorsure, modifying the theme so my site and Google profile hooked up properly. Then he replaced SEO Ultimate with the Yoast SEO plugin, set my home page title and meta description back to what I had before and added the rel=”me” attribute to relevant links.
There followed a protracted period of muttering, during which he tinkered with loads of baffling fine detail until the site was back to normal, up and running and properly configured / inter-connected.
On his advice I kept an eye on things for a few days just in case the redirect loop came back. But it didn’t. Fingers crossed all is well in freelance copywriting land for the time being, at least until the next WP and plugin versions are released.
If I didn’t know a man who knows his WP ass from his elbow, my site could have been out of action for days while I hunted for a suitable guru.
Tony says as a general rule it’s best to keep plugins to a minimum because the more you activate, the more likely you are to suffer sitemares when you update them and WP itself.

Apparently it’s best to update WP and plugin versions one by one, checking your site each time to make sure it’s OK. If things go dog-shaped, at least you know which one to disable. And never, ever update WP without copying the entire site first (using something like WP Twin) so you can re-upload the original files if things go belly up.

Why update WP in the first place? Because they’re engaged in a constant battle with hackers and other mischief makers, the latest version is always the most secure.