Auto Upgrading to Nightly Builds

WP’s automatic upgrade can be used to automatically upgrade to betas and nightly builds for the development branch or the latest stable branch.  To get onto a development upgrade path you must first make a small change to wp-includes/version.php.

The current release of WP is 2.8.  If you peek in the version.php file, you will see this:

$wp_version = '2.8';

If you would like to try out the latest development builds for the upcoming 2.8.1 release, change that line to this:

$wp_version = '2.8.1-dev';

“dev” can be any string. The presence of a suffix on the version tells the automatic upgrade to put you on the upgrade path for 2.8.1 development releases. You will be able to automatically upgrade to each nightly, beta, and RC build for 2.8.1. Once the final 2.8.1 release comes out, automatic upgrade will upgrade you to that official release and put you back on the stable release path. To get back on the 2.8 development branch upgrade path after the release of 2.8.1, you would have to change your version to “2.8.2-dev”.

If you are feeling really experimental, you can get on the 2.9 development path by setting the version to “2.9-dev”. Unlike the 2.8 development path which contains only fixes to high-impact bugs, the 2.9 path is where new feature development is happening. You probably want the 2.9 path only if you are a developer.

Update: Peter wrote a plugin that makes this easier.

17 thoughts on “Auto Upgrading to Nightly Builds

  1. This is a great reminder that “automatic upgrade” is the wrong term for this feature. It should be “1-Click Upgrade”.

    Automatic would mean that it does it without any interaction.

  2. i wouldnt reccommend doing this has you could end up with a bug then your site will end up messed thats why i didnt upgrade to 2.8

  3. Indeed, if it was automatic you may end up with a totally stuffed up blog. If I know something about development in general (and I do) it is that many development builds are totally unusable.

  4. But it’s not 1-Click either. 🙂

    It takes at least 2 clicks, and usually 3 clicks and the typing of an FTP password.

    I imagine “automatic” in this context makes good sense to people old to WP, since the process is super-automated compared to what existed before.

    People new to WP, on the other hand, may wonder why this is called “automatic”.

  5. I’d be more curious if I can put a wpmu 2.7.1 installation into trunk mode to get Donncha’s latest ported code? 🙂

  6. I had this set up moving from 2.6 to 2.7, but I completely forgot how. I was looking for weeks for an article to help me so I could auto-grab the 2.8 betas and I was so desperate that I almost asked Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Chicago if he knew how to do this….

    Better late than never! Thank you for the info!

  7. @Otto:

    I wrote “at least 2 clicks” because that’s the minimum number of clicks once you see an upgrade notice:

    1. You click once on the notice to go to the upgrade screen

    2. You click once again to start the automatic upgrade

  8. :-/ i have followed instructions on and i ended up with 2.9-rare. I hope that this will not be a big problem

    my way from that instruction:
    If you would like to automatically upgrade from 2.8 to 2.8.1 Beta 1, follow these instructions. Thanks for testing WordPress. … went to and there done and “download the latest nightly build.” what was labeled wordpress-lately and AFTER i have replaced all files i have find out that it is 2.9-rare, not that announced 2.8.1-beta

    BTW – is there any way how can i downgrade from 2.9-rare to 2.8.1 Beta without again replacing all files back? Or is it big problem to stay with 2.9.rare ? i do not know what are differencees beween those two versions

Leave a Reply