Live on the Bleeding Edge of WordPress with SVN (WordPress Wednesday)


This article explains how to keep your WordPress Blog running the latest sub-version build of WordPress. It is highly recommended that you do not use the sub-version builds in a production environment. They are meant for testers.
While you are reading this article, please, please keep in mind that Forum support does not cover SVN. In other words, if you decide to use the bleeding edge code on your blog and have problems with the code, you probably will not receive help from the forums.

About three years back I decided to launch a WordPress Demo Blog always running the latest version of WordPress. The purpose was to be one step ahead in plugin and theme development. I signed up for WP Testers mailing list and downloaded and installed the latest nightly-build.

Had stopped over at #wordpress. Ran into Robert Deaton who was kind enough to guide me right through the installation using SVN.

With his permission, this article details the steps to follow to update your WordPress blog using statically linked binaries for SVN.


  • Your own hosting account. This cannot be applied to blogs.
  • Shell Access to your account. If you do not have shell access then you will need to upload the files via FTP.
  • Subversion. If your host doesn’t have subversion installed then you will need to use the statically linked binaries for SVN (read below).
  • mySQL database for your WordPress blog and a user linked to it.

Step 1: Login to your hosting account via SSH

Login to your server using any shell program. I use PuTTY for Windows.

On logging in browse to the directory where you want to install the latest version of wordpress. For me it was /public_html/demoblog/

cd public_html/demoblog/

Now we will install SVN.

Step 2: Installing SVN



You will need to check the exact file name by viewing the index. At the time of this post it is v1.4.3.

Untar the file by running:

tar xfvz subversion-1.4.3-linux-x86.tar.gz

Step 3: Download WordPress

To download the latest version of WordPress run:

./bin/svn co .

This will checks out (download) the trunk directory. The files are copied in the current directory. This is ensured by the dot (.) at the end.

Step 4: Installing WordPress

Nothing special out here. Follow this guide on the WordPress site.

Step 5: Updating WordPress

Since we have installed an alpha or beta release, there are changes taking place continuously by testers and developers.

In order to update you copy of WordPress run:

./bin/svn update .

This updates all the files to the latest.

Automating the update process

If your host allows you to create cron jobs then you can use them to update your copy of WordPress at regular intervals. Cron Jobs are similar to the Windows Task Sheduler. It is a program that enables unix users to execute commands or scripts (groups of commands) automatically at a specified time/date.

I used cPanel to create my cron job. You can also use shell.

The command to be entered is:

/full/path/to/bin/svn update /full/path/to/wordpress/directory

Of course change /full/path/to to that in which you installed WordPress (from the server root). e.g. I used:

/home/username/public_html/demoblog/bin/svn update /home/username/public_html/demoblog

Enter the time you want the job to run. I set mine to 0 0 * * *. This will run the job at midnight.
Remember to enter an email address. It is used in case of any errors.

Once you get a report remember to run /wp-admin/upgrade.php to upgrade the database if there are any changes made to it. You can always create another cronjob that will run this file. However, it is recommended you run the upgrade process manually once in a while.

Sit back and relax 😀


As I mentioned earlier, please do not follow this article if you are going to be working on your production blog. It is to be used only if you want to test the latest WordPress code (which could be buggy).

I will not be responsible for any damage, loss of data etc. etc. that you incur on following this article.


3 thoughts on “Live on the Bleeding Edge of WordPress with SVN (WordPress Wednesday)”

  1. Hi ! ^_^
    I am Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Your Piter

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