WordPress is constantly evolving. In between stable, full version releases, WordPress releases Alpha, Beta, and Nightly Builds on a continual basis.
While most people will only need to use the latest stable version, for some, being able to work with the newest releases is important.
- Anyone who creates or maintains products for WordPress, like theme and plugin developers.
- Webmasters testing for potential theme and plugin compatibility issues.
- WordPress enthusiasts looking for bugs, conflicts, and security problems.
- Anyone interested in seeing the latest features being added to WordPress.
Always backup your databases before installing a new Beta release, especially if the installation will require a database upgrade. It is often difficult, or impossible, to revert back to a previous version of your database after an upgrade.
There are two ways to install and test new releases:
- The Hard Way ~ Download the zip file, unzip it, and upload the files to your demo site via FTP, just as you would with any WordPress install.
- The Easy Way ~ Install and use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.
The Beta Tester plugin makes installing test releases incredibly easy, updating can be done with the click of a button. Additionally, if you feel like helping out, the plugin gives you a link to open a new ticket with the developers to report any bugs you may find.
- Install the latest stable version of WordPress.
- Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin as you would any other plugin.
- Go to Tools » Beta Testing.
- Select the update stream you would like, Point Release Nightlies or Bleeding Edge Nightlies, and click Save Changes.
- Click on "head on over and upgrade now" at the bottom of the page.
- Click on Update Now and you’re done.
From this point forward all you need to do is click on Updates within your Dashboard to update to the latest version of WordPress as they become available.
As we said, WordPress Alpha, Beta, and Nightly Build releases aren’t for everyone, but if you do need them, now you know how to get them easily.
Just adhere to the precautions outlined above to only run them on a demo site and to always backup your databases before you start. Then, sit back and enjoy all the great new features that have been added.
What Do You Think?
Will you be joining the legion of Beta testers from around the world helping to make WordPress the best website platform available? We’d love to hear about your WordPress experiences. Tell us about them in the comments below, then share the stuffin’ out of it!