How to Upgrade Semiologic Pro

The instructions that follow are for legacy installs. Since Semiologic Pro 5.7, you can automate the following under Tools / Upgrade provided you’ve entered your API Key under Settings / Semiologic API Key.

Upgrading Semiologic Pro involves a simple three step process.

  1. Upload the Semiologic Pro files using your favorite FTP software
  2. Check a few file permissions on your server
  3. Visit the admin area of your site to upgrade your database

A notes before you start:

Be sure to check the server requirements, and consider switching to one of the recommended WordPress hosts if necessary.

Best practice would be to backup your site before proceeding. Most of the time, however, you don’t need to worry about it because your host maintains backups already. Check with them to find out.

You’ll read here and there that you should disable all plugins before upgrading. This does not apply with Semiologic Pro. Plugins in Semiologic Pro always work with the bundled version of WordPress.

1. Upload Semiologic Pro to your site

After downloading and uncompressing the archive from the Semiologic members area, browse to the wordpress folder to visualize its contents:

The files in the wordpress folder include:

  • The latest version of WordPress with a handful of fixes
  • The Semiologic theme in its Pro version
  • A collection of carefully selected WordPress plugins

We’ll want to upload these files to your existing Semiologic Pro site.

Open your FTP software and log into your site. In the local panel, browse to the sem-pro folder. In the remote panel, browse to the site’s folder.

The site’s folder varies from a host to the next, and will typically be one of:

  • public_html, htdocs, www, or wwwroot
  • a folder named after your domain, e.g. or yourdomain
  • the folder you’re already in if none of the above applies

Be sure to check with your host if you’re having difficulties locating your site’s folder.

You should see folders named wp-admin, wp-content, wp-includes, and a bunch of files whose names start with wp-. You’re ready to start uploading when both panels are displaying these files and folders.

Warning: I’ve you’ve been manually creating wp-config.php files, make sure no wp-config.php file is present in your local sem-pro folder before uploading. If one is present, delete it.

Select the Semiologic Pro files and start the upload. When prompted because a file already exists, opt to overwrite them all.

Much as with the install process, now is the time to make yourself a coffee or walk your dog. Uploading several megs spread over 1,500+ files easily takes 10 minutes on a DSL link.

Don’t panic if you see database-related messages or no posts on your site when you’re done uploading the files. It merely means the WordPress database needs to be upgraded (see below).

2. Change file permissions

Changing file permissions will enable you to use Semiologic Pro’s more advanced features, including file uploads, fancy urls, and google sitemaps.

The specific list may change from a version to the next, so you’ll want to check permissions when you upgrade an existing Semiologic Pro site.

The following folders should be readable, writable and executable by all (chmod 777).

  • media/
  • wp-content/

The following files should be readable and writable by all, and executable by none (chmod 666):

  • wp-config.php
  • .htaccess

Please refer to the Semiologic Pro install instructions if you’ve no idea how to change file permissions.

3. Upgrade your database

The WordPress database schema may change from a version to the next, so now is the time to upgrade it.

To start the database upgrade, browse to your site’s admin area (

Follow the upgrade WordPress link, and you’re done.

Happy blogging!


I see a memory limit exceeded error message

Your server has hit the php memory limit. Please double check that your server complies with the WordPress server requirements.

I see an error message other than memory limit exceeded

FTP problems sometimes occur during uploads involving large numbers of files.

Consider changing FTP software in case you’re using Filezilla, Smart FTP, or Dreamweaver’s built-in FTP feature. They end to manage FTP timeouts very poorly. WS_FTP (recommended) and CuteFTP do a much better job at this.

Then, reupload the files and the problem should go away. If not, highlight the error to your host in the rare case the server is missing an apache module.

I see a blank screen

This means either of that your server hit the php memory limit, or that it is not displaying error messages.

Either way, double check that your server complies with the WordPress server requirements.

I cannot change permissions on my server

This usually means you’re using a Windows server, and that you didn’t check that your server complies with the WordPress server requirements before starting.