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Upgrading CiviCRM for WordPress

Use this document to upgrade CiviCRM installations on WordPress to the latest CiviCRM release.

Before upgrading

Make sure you have done the steps listed in before upgrading first.

Download the latest code

  1. Go to the CiviCRM website
  2. Select the latest currently available CiviCRM tarball for WordPress.


  3. Save this file in <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/.

If using localization, also download the latest version of the localization files. See the CiviCRM Localisation page about how to install files for running CiviCRM in languages other than American English.

Prepare WordPress

Make sure you have logged in to WordPress as an administrator. Do not log out until the entire process is complete.


Settings files


The before upgrading steps describe steps for backing everything up in case something goes wrong during the upgrade. In addition to this important safeguard, we also need to actually use the civicrm.settings.php settings file, as it is, during the upgrade.

For CiviCRM 4.7+


For CiviCRM 4.6 and older


The installer in 4.7 and above does not assume that the content-dir is wp-content. It probably is, but can be renamed/moved as detailed here

  1. Copy this file to a location outside your WordPress project. You may need to restore it after upgrading.
  2. Also, if you are using the <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/civicrm/civicrm/settings_location.php file in your implementation, make a copy of this as well as you will need to restore it after upgrading.

CiviCRM files and database

  1. Backup your existing /wp-content/plugins/civicrm directory by creating an archive or FTPing it to your local computer.

!!! note: It's important at the very least to backup your extensions directory prior to the upgrade. This will be removed in the next few steps. Your extensions folder can be found at Administer menu » System Settings » Directories. Make a note of this location for later.

  1. Backup your existing database using your Control Panel or other method so that you can recreate the database if required.

Now upgrade the filesystem

Remove old CiviCRM files

CiviCRM will not run properly if files from previous version are present after the upgrade.

  1. Make sure you have a good backup of your complete previous version installation
  2. Delete <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/civicrm

Install new CiviCRM files

  1. Unpack the files.

    $ cd <wordpress_root>/<content-dir>/plugins
    $ unzip <civicrm_download_file>.zip

Restoring the CiviCRM settings file.

For 4.6 and earlier you should restore the original civicrm.settings.php file from your backup into the <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/civicrm/ directory. For later versions, your civicrm.settings.php should be located in the uploads directory it is not necessary to restore this file, but you should check that it exists and has the correct settings.

  1. If you are using the <wordpress_root>/<content-dir>/plugins/civicrm/civicrm/settings_location.php file in your implementation, restore this file from your back-up.

Install localization files (optional)

If your site requires the localization files, download the civicrm-x.x.x-l10n.tar.gz from

These files must be untarred under <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/civicrm/. Please note the tar.gz file only contains /civicrm not /civicrm/civicrm

$ cd <wordpress_root>/<content-dir>/plugins/civicrm
$ tar -xf ../civicrm-x.x.x-l10n.tar.gz

If you don't have SSH access and your IP panel does not recognize tar files, you will need to convert it to a zip file.

  1. Uncompress civicrm-x.x.x-l10n.tar.gz
  2. Uncompress civicrm-x.x.x-l10n.tar. You should now have a civicrm directory with 2 subdirectories l10n and sql.
  3. Rename civicrm to civicrm2.
  4. Create an empty civicrm directory.
  5. Move the civicrm2 directory (with the 2 subdirectories) into your new civicrm directory.
  6. Rename civicrm2 to civicrm.
  7. Zip the civicrm directory and name it
  8. Now, you can upload into <wordpress_root>/wp-content/plugins/
  9. Unzip and continue with the following steps.

Clear cached files

Delete all files in your templates_c directory

For CiviCRM 4.7 and later


For CiviCRM 4.6 and older


Copy back your extensions

  1. Restore the extensions that were previously backed up into the folder where you originally backed up your extensions at the start of the upgrade process.

Upgrade the database

  1. Point your web browser to the following URL
  2. You should see the Upgrade screen.

  3. If you are ready to upgrade, click the Upgrade Now button.
  4. You should see the message Upgrade successful when the upgrade completes.

    • If you receive any errors during the process, please note down the exact error message, and check for solutions on Stack Exchange or Mattermost.
  5. Now click the Return to CiviCRM home page link. This will rebuild CiviCRM menus automatically and return you to the CiviCRM home dashboard.

Post upgrade

See these steps to take after upgrading.