How to Manually Update WordPress Using FTP/Cpanel

How to manually update WordPress using FTP/Cpanel: WordPress powers up more than 30% of the web right now and it is one of the easy-to-use, easy-to-set-up Content management systems. The amount of documentation available for WordPress currently is huge and with the astounding free support available on websites like and several other blogging websites, the future of WordPress indeed feels nice.

One of the good things about WordPress is that most of the functionality is click-based i.e. you just have to click to do this, click to do that. This often makes the overall usage really easy. But sometimes due to server constraints or some other issues, we are not able to leverage this click-based functionality to its maximum potential. For example: On servers with extreme load or really less RAM it’s very difficult to perform update operations without getting a request timed-out error.

So in such cases, a person has to manually perform those tasks which were very easy and simple click-based. Today on Inspire2rise we are going to cover one such query, which is how to manually update WordPress using FTP or a simple file manager. We hope this short guide helps all those people who are unable to update their WordPress version on their website for some reason or other.

How to manually update WordPress using FTP or Cpanel, the steps:

  • The first step to manually update your WordPress is to have access to the root directory of your website either via an FTP client like FileZilla or login to your Cpanel and head to the File Manager, then navigate to the root directory of your website.
  • Before updating or doing anything make sure to take a backup of your website’s database so as to use it in case anything goes wrong. You can back up your website by logging in to your website’s Cpanel and then navigating to PhpMyAdmin and then taking a backup of the required DB. Or you can install any backup plugin readily available on the plugin directory.
  • Don’t forget to backup all the WordPress files in the root directory including dot files like the .htacess file. Do check whether all of your backups are ok or not, most of the time incomplete or erroneous downloads lead to corrupted backups. Also, make sure to open up your .sql files of the database in an editor so as to make sure that all of the required tables are present or not.
  • Deactivate all your active plugins on your WordPress installation.
  • Now go to and download the latest Zip file of WordPress and extract it to a folder of your choice.
  • Now delete the previously present directories which include the wp-inlcudes folder and the wp-admin folder.
    Do not Delete the following files: wp-config.php, wp-content folder (but do delete the internal directory of wp-content/cache and delete the other folder wp-content/plugins/widgets), wp-images folder, wp-includes/languages/ folder in case you are using a custom language pack. Do not delete your .htaccess file if you are using many different plugins that update it or are using custom code in .htaccess. Any custom plugins or drop-ins that you might have in your wp-content folder is something that you should leave as it is and don’t delete.
  • Now after you are done deleting the required files you can go forth to the next step. To delete those files you can either log in via FTP using Filezilla or from the File Manager in your Cpanel or by using SSH to log in to your server using Putty or some other program and then send a command to delete those directories or specific files. You can find the commands for doing so on the official WordPress page here or you can alternatively search for the vast number of forums out there.
  • Now you need to upload all of the new files that you got from the newly downloaded Zip from and then once you are done uploading all of them you can continue with the upgrade process. The wp-content folder has all of the stuff that needs to be overwritten or changed and almost all the custom things like themes, plugins, etc. can be found in the wp-content folder so make sure to be extra careful while uploading things to that folder. Overwrite all the old versions or default plugins with the new ones that you extracted from the downloaded zip file.
  • Now run the WordPress update program, Using a web browser go to the normal /wp-admin administration pages, and then you will be greeted with a prompt to update your installation, In case a database upgrade is necessary you will be redirected to a wp-admin/upgrade.php page. The upgrade would occur only if the user that you would be accessing has permission to access and modify the database tables. In case you want to run the update script manually then navigate to, in case your website is installed in a directory then use the directory-specific URL.
  • After updating and doing everything if you are unable to log in then clear the cookies of your browser.
  • Now is the time to update your plugins one by one and check documentation by individual plugin providers regarding whether the plugins work fine with the latest version of WordPress or not.

Now that you are done with upgrading your WordPress installation manually it’s time to move forward and happy blogging to you folks!
In case you still have some doubts or are stuck at some point during your upgrade journey then don’t forget to comment your doubts!

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Aditya Nath Jha is an Engineer from New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Gadgets, WordPress, speed optimization & latest technology. When he is not busy blogging he loves to write poetry, compose his own songs and has a taste for music! Find him on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Instagram. And watch his videos on YouTube.

How to Manually Update WordPress Using FTP/Cpanel

12 thoughts on “How to Manually Update WordPress Using FTP/Cpanel”

  1. @Admin

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