how do i upgrade from magento 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52.
Do i just use the Magento Connect Manager? Do I need to back up my DB as well as exisiting install to be safe?
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You have two options:
1) Apply all patches to your Magento 184.108.40.206 (and you'll be with the latest version).
2) Override manually all core files. 220.127.116.11 includes all patches.
There's a third option with Composer but isn't used by most of the stores on Magento1 so I guess you should choose between the first two options.
Remember to make a backup of code & Database before an upgrade.