The Windows packages (full game and update) have been prepared and uploaded in advance, and the players were notified to download them so when we update they'll just install them, rather than have everyone crowd the web server and step on eacother's toes, so to say.
Of course, there are two omipresent things in the Universe: The hydrogen and the idiots. For example, some idiots downloaded the update and extracted it in a stand alone directory, and were complaining they can't connect to the server. Well, duh, morons, it's an UPDATE not a full install, and it should be installed where the game is.
Our installer even finds the game directory by itself (assuming you didn't erase the registry entries where the path is stored).
But as Murphy said, once you make a product idiot proof, the nature keeps up by creating a better idiot.
Updating the server is a relatively easy procedure:
1. Send a message to everyone playing that the server will go down for an update in 20 minutes.
2. Get 100 private messages asking you idiotic questions, ranging from what's new to "will we keep our characters?".
While I don't respond to them, it is still annoying.
3. Log out, wait for those 20 minutes to pass, send a final message that the server is going down, shut down the server.
4. Make a backup of all the players and persistent data, just in case something goes wrong.
4.5 Make a copy of the server and it's data.
5. Copy the binaries and config files and all the data from the test server to the main server.
6. Restart the main server.
7. Look on the forums and wonder how so many idiots didn't manage to install the update properly.
Of course, sometimes there are problems, so a few times we had to restore the backups because some bug or another was found.
One last thing, we broke the players online record again, today, having 560 players on + 50 player owned bots.
Regarding my side project, I didn't get the time to work much at it, but I am compensating now.