Announcing Automated Upgrade Protection and WordPress 3.7 is Here!

At WP Engine we are always grateful for the trust our customers put in us. We take pride every day in the fact that we power your website, blog, or application. So we strive to keep your technology running fast, secure, and with awesome uptime.

We also love new technology and new WordPress releases! With the announcement of WordPress 3.7 today, there is a lot of WordPress news right now, including something amazing and new that we’re rolling out today as well.

As many of our clients will tell you new versions of any software, even WordPress, changes always comes with some risk. WordPress 3.7 may interact differently with custom code and plugins. Your business depends on your WordPress technology being up and working at all times, so with the new release, it’s always been your responsibility to run tests and make sure your sites continue to run smoothly. Every minute you’re online is a new sale, a new reader, and a new comment.

To help solve this business problem WP Engine proud to announce Automated Upgrade Protection.

As of WordPress 3.7, WP Engine is adding an entirely new layer of management to our hosting that allows us to not only automate the updating of your WordPress site, but automate the testing and a validation of the upgrades as well.

Here’s how it works:
First, our automation loads your site just like a browser, and ensures that everything is working normally. If that’s so, we take a snapshot backup point of your site as-is. Then we perform the WordPress core upgrade. Once the upgrade is complete, we reload your site and automatically test it to make sure everything is on a basic level running normally.

Welcome to Automated Upgrade Protection with WP Engine!

Here’s where it gets really cool.
If all the code comes back in working order, awesome. Your site is upgraded, and you didn’t have to lift a finger. However, lets say there is a code conflict that would ordinarily summon the white screen of death. The upgrade failed, but we don’t want to leave you in a failed state. Your site has to stay online, remember?

What happens next? Remember the backup point we just took? Well, we *immediately* revert your site to working order, the way it was before the update. It’s online and serving your visitors and customers like always. Your site is then automatically placed into a support queue for our technicians to have a look at so we can make sure the update gets done right.

By the way, all this happens faster than any human could test things.

Is this process perfect? Well, nothing’s perfect. Of course, it’s possible that the automation might think your site is fine, but a human being would take a look and see that in fact something is amiss. A plugin that’s supposed to have certain dynamic content in the sidebar might not be showing the right content, or an “admin” screen is no longer working properly even though the rest of the site works fine.

The process won’t quite catch everything in the same way that every managed update doesn’t catch everything. The process will catch an unprecedented number of potential errors that happens with every update. No other managed WordPress hosting company is automatically testing and validating WordPress updates and then automatically reverting to a stable state if there is a problem.

Pretty cool, right?

Now we can talk about WordPress 3.7, ‘Basie,’ which has officially dropped. WP Engine will begin updating all customer sites in the next week or two, and we’ll run the Automated Upgrade Protection across every customer site for the very first time.

And as with all WordPress updates, if you’d like to manually update your sites to 3.7, you’re more than welcome to do so, but please be aware that we may be unable to support issues that arise if you upgrade yourself early. Please remember to create a restore point before updating so you have a copy of your site you can roll back to.

If you’d like to test out any custom code you may have in plugins and themes to make sure it works well with the new version, please feel free to. From the WP Engine menu in your wp-admin dashboard, you can go to the staging tab to make a copy of your current site and run your tests. In this blog post, we explain how WP Engine will handle the new auto-update feature in 3.7.

And yes, now that there is new version of WordPress, every newly-created WordPress installation on WP Engine is now being created with WordPress 3.7.

Thanks, as always, for choosing WP Engine!

Count Basie, take us away!

More WordPress news from WP Engine


    • Hey Everyone!

      I’m Ryan – one of the devs here at WP Engine. I’m ecstatic that you guys are loving the new things that we’re putting together! We’re always trying to figure out new ways that will not only make our platform the absolute best one to be on, but one that makes folks excited to jump in and dev the newest, biggest, and best ideas on!

      Keep the feedback coming! Our customers and their thoughts are the inspiration that fuels us =]

      Thanks guys!

      • Just so everyone knows, Mark is one of the engineering leads. Those are the folks who build the infrastructure behind the scenes. They put this awesome new feature together for everyone 🙂

  1. What if automatic updates break your theme or something?

    I don’t like the idea of not having the option to turn off automatic updates.

    • No, that’s the point Daniel – we are turning off automatic updates on client sites AND we’re performing our own checks of your site to ensure computability with each new version before we perform the upgrade for you.

    • Hey Daniel, that’s exactly the idea here. We test the update automatically. If something breaks, your site does not get updated, and we take a look to see what needs to be changed. You don’t have to do a thing, your site is tested and QA’d by our system.


  2. This is awesome and something I’ve been a thinking a lot about for a while. Just out of curiosity, how do you validate the site? Compare screenshoots, html, check for error messages?

    Thanks for a great service and support!

    • Hi Karl, while we automatically update WordPress Core, we do not update the themes and plugins for our customers. Those may have unique code that is best managed by the site owners and developers.


  3. What an awesome service initiative. With oodles of sites to test every time WP releases an update this is simply music to my ears! Absolutely brilliant.

  4. This Automated Upgrade Protection is a fabulous addition to what was an already good managed hosting service. I had issues with the last upgrade and felt that there was still a layer left unmanaged and, 3 sheets to the wind, up to me the end user to figure out on my own amongst other pressures. I came very near to abandoning WP Engine within my 30 day trail period and still carried some trepidation until reading this. I will now describe WP Engine as ‘(expletive) awesome’ as opposed to ‘good’ when I next mention your service to anyone. Thank you for adding this to your repertoire.

    • Hey James, thank you for letting us know about your experience hosting with us. It’s always great when we hear the real experiences our customers have with us. And updating WordPress automatically is a huge reason customers choose to host with WP Engine – being able to automatically test the updates to ensure successful updates is a huge step forward.

      Any time you have questions, please feel free to chat with us on LiveChat or a support ticket. We’re always happy to answer your questions.


  5. Hey, is this awesome option is free and automatically running on any site we host on WP engine?

    If yes, you do are the masters 🙂

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