Upgrading from Prose 1.0 to Prose 1.5

A step-by-step tutorial

Update 8/6/12: Yes, these instructions are still valid if you’re updating from Prose 1.0 to Prose 1.5.1. If you already have Prose 1.5, you should now be able to update to Prose 1.5.1 using the super-easy one-click automatic updater in your WordPress dashboard (navigate to Dashboard –> Updates).

  1. Pre-upgrade steps
  2. Deactivating and deleting Prose 1.0
  3. Uploading Prose 1.5
  4. Final installation steps
  5. Troubleshooting

Upgrading to Prose 1.5 requires more than the usual easy one-click automatic upgrade. But once it’s done, you’ll be able to use the normal WordPress in-dashboard one-click upgrade process for future versions of Prose.

Time required: Allow at least one hour.

Tools needed:

  • A text editor (Notepad on Windows, TextEdit on a Mac).
  • A backup plugin installed on your current Prose site.
  • The Prose 1.5 zip file (which you’ll need to download from StudioPress or from within Site Setup Kit).
  • Patience and calm.
  • Tolerance for slight differences in your site’s margins and spacing after the upgrade.

Pre-upgrade steps

Please take the few minutes necessary to do these steps.

  1. Back up your entire site and your database.If you aren’t already using a backup plugin that can back up both your site files and your database, you should definitely install one before doing any software upgrades.
    Need a backup plugin? We recommend Backup Buddy (aff link) as the best paid version we’ve used. For a free backup plugin, search for BackWPup in the WordPress Plugins dashboard.
  2. Ensure that your site is running WordPress 3.3.2 or later. Here’s how to check: Navigate to Dashboard > Updates, and you should see a message that looks like this:
    WordPress Updates showing version 3.3.1 installed
    If you have an earlier version of WordPress, you should update it before you upgrade Prose. Here’s a video tutorial demonstrating the upgrade process.
  3. Ensure that you are using Genesis 1.8.0 or later. Here’s how to check: Navigate to Genesis > Theme Settings, and you should see a message that looks like this:
    Genesis Theme Settings showing version 1.8.0 installed
    If you are on a previous version of Genesis, please update it by following the prompts on the Theme Settings page before you upgrade Prose.
  4. Export your Prose design settings. Prose 1.0 design settings can’t be imported to Prose 1.5, but if you need to restore your Prose 1.0 site from scratch, they’re good to have on hand. To do this, navigate to Genesis > Design Settings, and scroll down to the last item, General Settings. Select “Export Prose Settings,” and you’ll be prompted to choose a location and name for the file:Export Prose Settings
  5. Set up your Design Settings page. After you’ve exported your settings, you need to set up this page so the update will go smoothly. First, make sure your Design Settings are displayed in a single column. If you have two columns of design settings, choose Screen Options at the top right corner of the page, and check the radio button to change the display to one column. Second, make sure all the individual design settings panels are open. If they’re all closed, you can click the “Toggle All” button at the top of the page to open them all up, and if some are open and some are closed, click each closed panel to open it. Save your settings one more time after you’ve set this all up.
  6. Copy your custom functions into a text document. This only applies to you if you’ve ever edited the functions.php file in Appearance > Editor. Copy only the code you have manually added or edited — do not copy the entire file. You will need to manually paste your changes into the upgraded version of Prose, so save this text document on your computer where you can easily find it. If you know you have never edited functions.php, you can safely skip this step.
  7. Copy your custom CSS into a text document. Navigate to Appearance > Editor and choose custom.css from the list of links on the right side of the page. If there is any text at all in the file, copy it into a text document and save it onto your computer where you can easily find it. You’ll need to manually paste this text into the upgraded version of Prose.

Deactivating and Deleting Prose 1.0

Now that you’re prepared and your site is backed up and running the latest versions of WordPress and the Genesis Framework, and you’ve copied your theme customizations (CSS and PHP), you’re ready to clear the decks for Prose 1.5 by deactivating and deleting Prose 1.0.

  1. Navigate to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. You’ll see that the current theme is Prose 1.0:
    WordPress Manage Themes screen
  2. Below the current theme, in Available Themes, locate the theme named Genesis 1.8.0. Use the “Search installed themes” field on the right if necessary.
  3. In the description of Genesis, click the blue “Activate” link. You’ll see a message telling you that a new theme has been activated:WordPress New Theme Activated: Genesis
  4. In Available Themes, locate Prose 1.0, and choose the blue “Delete” link:Delete the Prose 1.0 theme from Available Themes
  5. You’ll see a popup message asking you to click OK to confirm deletion of the theme. After you do so, you’ll see “Theme deleted” at the top of your screen.

Uploading Prose 1.5

Now that your site no longer has Prose 1.0 installed, you’re ready to upload the Prose 1.5 zip file you downloaded from StudioPress or from within Site Setup Kit.

  1. Navigate to Appearance > Themes, and choose the “Install Themes” tab at the top of the page:
    WordPress Install Themes screen
  2. Click “Upload” from the list of blue links at the top of the page.
  3. Click “Choose File” and navigate to where the Prose 1.5 zip file is saved on your computer, and click “Open”.
  4. Click “Install Now”.
  5. When the theme has been installed successfully, don’t activate it yet! Instead, click “Preview.” If you see a blank white screen or an error message in the preview window, that means your site will not display correctly, and you should not activate Prose 1.5. Instead, delete the Prose 1.5 theme, and try uploading it again.If you do see your site but some things look different, remember that you haven’t yet added your custom CSS and PHP, which we’ll do next. You do need to activate the theme in order to do these final steps, so go ahead and click Activate now.

Final installation steps

Once you activate Prose 1.5, you still need to manually paste in your custom CSS and PHP, if you have any, to get your site looking the way it did with Prose 1.0.

  1. Remember that text file with your custom CSS? Navigate to Genesis > Custom Code, and paste the contents of your text file into the “Custom CSS” box:
    Paste Custom CSS into the new Custom Code page
  2. Remember that text file with your custom functions? On the same Custom Code page, paste your custom functions into the “Custom PHP” box, below the first line:
    Paste custom PHP into the new Custom Code page
  3. Special note if you previously moved your primary navigation below the header by removing a code snippet from functions.php: This change won’t be preserved, so you’ll have to add the following code snippet to the Custom PHP box in Genesis –> Custom Code:
    /** Reposition the primary navigation */
    remove_action( 'genesis_before_header', 'genesis_do_nav' );
    add_action( 'genesis_after_header', 'genesis_do_nav' );
  4. After pasting your custom CSS and custom PHP, be sure to select the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a “Changes saved” message at the top of your screen.

Now you should spend some time looking at your site, visiting different pages and sections, to be sure everything looks correct and still works. Your style settings, widgets, and menus should all look the same as they did before the upgrade (you can safely close the panels on the Design Settings page once you see that the correct settings are displayed). You may notice some slight differences in margins and whitespace, due to new Prose defaults.

Troubleshooting common problems

If you ever modified style.css instead of custom.css, your changes will be overwritten (that’s why custom.css is its own distinct file). If you know what you changed, you should copy those changes into a text file before you upgrade, and add them to the css Custom Code box.

If you modified functions.php and you don’t know which functions are custom (don’t know what you changed), you can compare the contents of the original unmodified functions.php file (which you can get by unzipping the original prose10025.zip file) with your modified one.

If you had previously moved your primary navigation bar below your header (by removing a code snippet from functions.php), and the upgrade to Prose 1.5 moved it back up to the top, you need to add this piece of code to Genesis > Custom Code > Custom PHP:
/** Reposition the primary navigation */
remove_action( 'genesis_before_header', 'genesis_do_nav' );
add_action( 'genesis_after_header', 'genesis_do_nav' );

If your footer widgets disappeared after upgrading, visit Appearance > Widgets and scroll down below the Available Widgets area. You should see the contents of footer widgets in an area labeled “Unused Sidebar.” Simply drag the widgets from the “Unused Sidebar” area to the correct widgetized area on the right (Footer 1, Footer 2, Footer 3).

If your footer widgets no longer fit (the Footer 3 widgetized area appears to be “bumped down” and not aligned with Footer 1 and Footer 2), adjust the widths of the three widgetized footer areas by adding this snippet to Genesis > Custom Code > Custom CSS:

/*adjust the width of the widgetized footer areas*/
.footer-widgets-1 {
width: 275px;
.footer-widgets-2 {
margin: 0 20px 0 0;
width: 270px;
.footer-widgets-3 {
width: 275px;

If your text footer no longer fits (this looks like the “return to top” link on the bottom left of the page is not on the same horizontal line as the footer information on the bottom right), adjust the widths of the two text footer sections by adding this snippet to Genesis > Custom Code > Custom CSS:

/*adjust the width of the text footer*/
#footer .gototop {
width: 190px;
#footer .creds {
width: 715px;

If your header image no longer fits in the header area (the most common manifestation of this problem is a 30-pixel-wide gap that appears to the right of the header), add this snippet to Genesis > Custom Code > Custom CSS (please be careful if you have previously customized the widths of any site elements, which may also need adjustment):

/*Fix header width issue after updating to Prose 1.5*/
body {
width: 940px;
#footer .gototop {
width: 190px;
#footer .creds {
width: 725px;

Need help upgrading? Hire Wendy Cholbi to do it for you.

Want to learn to make the most of the Prose theme? Get Site Setup Kit.