How to Install WordPress Alpha, Beta Versions, Nightly Builds

How can you install and test Alpha, Beta, Nightly builds and versions of WordPress? Since the WordPress auto-upgrade feature only lets you upgrade to the latest public release, this seemed to be a tiresome manual FTP task everytime.

WordPress testers, developers and enthusiasts in general are always curious to test new upcoming features in WordPress, and this is also of use to WordPress as it taps a wider user base to detect bugs and security holes in upcoming WordPress versions.

NOTE: First it is recommended you install these versions on a test blog and NOT on your main blog, as some of these build may be unstable and can bring down your site. Also note that in upgrades involving database upgrades, you might be unable to downgrade to a previous version. Remember to keep database backups so that you can restore it if something goes wrong.

Install WordPress Alpha, Beta, Nightly Builds

First install WordPress Beta Tester plugin. It will let you upgrade your blog to the latest Beta or Release candidate easily in one click. By default it switches your blog onto the point release development track, with an option to choose bleeding updates.

In WP admin, go to Tools > Beta Testing > Choose Point release nightlies OR Bleeding edge nightlies

wordpress nightly builds

So lets say the current version right now is WP 3.1.2, and you want to upgrade and test WordPress 3.2 beta1 already released. I expected that Point release to do the trick. But as I tried, it offered to upgrade to a WP 3.1.2 alpha version!

I was surprised about this, but the plugin developer Peter Westwood points out “(Bleeding nightly) is equivalent to the beta at the moment. Once you install the beta (or any other development version of WordPress) you will be encouraged to keep up to date with the nightly builds so you benefit from fixes made.”

So choose Bleeding edge nightly builds instead. I got instantly updated to “development version (3.2-beta1-17916)” and can now keep on upgrading to get latest updates….

wordpress upgrade nightly build

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.