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First off, I am a WordPress newbie so please be gentle! :)

Long story short, I have been given a project in mid-flight. Development computer has Wordpress 3.8.1 setup with Microsoft Webmatrix. A purchased theme with customizations and content exists on this box. The client has an already purchased domain and hosting package from network solutions. Network solutions states they using Wordpress 3.5.1. When it comes to deploying from local to the web to the Network Solutions site, will I run into major pain points with the site being on a newer version? Maybe I'm being overly paranoid but I don't want to tell my developer to keep working on this site if we have to blow everything away and revert to an older version or work entirely online within Network Solutions.

UPDATE: Network Solutions does allow you to upgrade Wordpress to the latest stable version which meant I didn't have to worry about this anymore.

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I would be very afraid to develop on 3.8.1 and try to run the same code on 3.5.1. Things have changed. 3.5.1 is ancient by web app standards. I can't say that I have ever tried to "backport" like that, but it does worry me. Much of your code would work. WordPress itself is pathologically backwards compatible, but if your code uses new features (intentionally or not) you will have trouble.

You can install an old WordPress on the development machine, but 3.5.1 is ancient. It is unwise to run that on a production machine at all, much less to develop a site on it.

Additionally, with 3.5.1 you are likely to have numerous plugin and theme compatibility issues.

If Network Solutions won't update to a more current WordPress, and won't let you update, the smart move is to not use Network Solutions.

If that isn't possible, I would install the legacy WordPress on your development server and build to that.

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  • Thankfully Network Solutions does allow you to upgrade which eliminates the need to worry about this issue. Thanks! – ichauvin Apr 14 '14 at 20:45
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You shouldn't have any issues. Also, when transferring a site, you only need to copy your wp-content folder, as it contains all plugins, uploads, and your theme. The rest of the files should NOT be altered for any reason, except wp-config.php.

My best recommendation would be to update the production site (after backing up the database and files) to the latest. If that's not an option, why not just use the same version on your local development setup? That way you will level the playing field a bit.

Other considerations are PHP version that you are using and the host is using - some PHP versions deprecate/remove functions, so be aware of any differences, and look up change logs for such differences.

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I agree with s_ha_dum and this is just an extension to his answer. I think that one of the biggest issues here is that you need to think of the media you will be using on your website. You have to remember that the built-in features for video and audio support was only introduced in version 3.6 with no backward compatibility. If you want to run a multi-media site, you have to seriously think about that.

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