In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to safely replace all the WordPress core files on a live site. You may need this process if you encounter the ‘white screen of death’ since one of the best ways to fix that issue is WordPress core files replacement.
You can either watch the detailed video tutorial below or scroll below that to read the image/text version of the tutorial.
First you will need to log in to your site via file manager or via FTP. I’m going to use file manager.
Inside the file manager, open the public_html folder. That is where all of your website files are located and the file manager is still accessible even if your website isn’t.
In the video above I show you which files are the core files. If you want to check for yourself, the easiest thing to do is download a fresh copy of all the WordPress files from wordpress.org.
Click on the Download WordPress button.
Unzip the file you’ve downloaded and you’ll see all the WordPress core files. Select everything except for the wp-content folder and the config-sample.php file. And make a new zip file (without those two). That’ll be the core files we upload.
Backup WordPress Core Files On The Server
In the file manager, create a new folder where you’ll upload the old core files on your site.
Select all of the core files (usually this is all files except for the wp-content folder and the config.php file. Then move all of the selected files into the folder you created a few moments
Once you do that, instead of your website, visitors will see either a blank screen or a directory listing.
To make the impact minimal you should do the core file replacement during low-traffic times and create a message saying you’ll be back in a few minutes. You can add a message by going back to your site’s directory and creating a file called ‘index.html’.
Edit the file and enter a short message.
Save changes, go back, and refresh your website.
This process takes only a few seconds and it can improve your visitor’s experience.
Upload New Core Files
Now that you’ve set up a maintenance message, you find the files you downloaded and zipped on your harddrive a little while ago.
If you’re doing this through FTP, you can upload all files without zipping. Since we’re using the file manager, we need to upload the zip file.
To upload the files using file manager, first we need to create a new folder.
Upload your archive to the recently created folder:
Once uploaded, go to the recently created folder and click on the ‘reload’ button:
Now click on the zip file and then click ‘extract’.
Reload again to see the files.
These are all the clean core files. Select all of them and move them to the website’s root (public_html).
The last step is to remove the index.html file with the maintenance message. You can either delete the index file or change its extension to something browser’s don’t render. See an example in the screen capture below.
Now go out to your site and ‘refresh’.
If everything went well your site will now be back online.
Hopefully, your website works like a charm. If it doesn’t, remember that we’ve created a bkp folder with all the old core files. You can always go back to the older version if you’ve created more problems than you solved.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you watch the video above. Sometimes watching someone walk you through it helps.
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