WordPress has many awesome features. One of those handy features is the ability to auto-update your WordPress files. For the majority of users, it works great. For others it can cause grief and you may not even know about it at first because it’s an auto- update. In this post, you’ll learn what to do when WordPress update fails.
The auto update feature was first introduce when WordPress 3.7 was released. When this was first released the convenient part is that you don’t need to do anything to apply minor and security related updates. Most sites are now automatically able to apply these updates in the background. This means that you’ll be automatically updated to WordPress to the latest version of WordPress when it’s a small patch like WordPress 4.9.1, 4.9.2, etc.
But you’ll need to click on “Update Now” button for major releases, for example, you won’t be automatically updated from WordPress 4.9 to 5.0.
Before you update WordPress, it is always recommended to backup your site. Even the official WordPress help section recommends users to backup your site.
If you’ve created a backup then it would mean that you can restore your website in case of any issues. Of course, you should backup your WordPress database and also all the files and folders.
Easy fixes when WordPress update fails
If you’re hit with an update failed error, then it means that now is the time to delve deeper in this issue and fix it.
Here’s what you can do if your core WordPress update fails.
Delete. maintenance file
First of all, delete the .maintenance file from your WordPress directory using FTP or using cPanel’s File Manager. Note that the name begins with a dot.
If ever WordPress update fails, then you’ll be locked out of your site and you’ll need to delete this file in order to get back to the Admin area.
Check file permissions
Sometimes because of some file permission issue, WordPress could not create the upgrade directory. If you get the error that states “Could not create directory” then ensure that the wp-content folder has proper 755 file permission, or you can also give 777 for a short time but do remember to change it back once you’ve solved the issue. Also deactivate all your plugins from the “Plugins” page.
Once you’ve make the file permission changes you can try to auto-update WordPress again. If you’re still getting the same error, then delete the “upgrade” folder in wp-content, create it again and give 777 permission to the same folder. If it works now, then that’s great. Remember to change the permission back to 755, because having permission set at 777 is a big security concern.
Sometimes you might encounter permission issues because of your web host, and in such a case, you will need to create a support ticket with your host and try to resolve the issue from their end.
Add FTP details to WordPress Config file
If your site has been moved recently, or if you’ve changed your FTP password, then WordPress might ask for FTP details in the dashboard. WordPress will ask for these details every time, which is kind of annoying. In such a case, instead of adding those details every time in the dashboard, simply add it to the wp-config.php file.
You’ll first need to ensure that you’ve got the correct FTP details. Verify the details by visiting your web hosting control panel.
Next you’ll open up your wp-config.php file from the root of your WordPress installation, and add the below lines to it:
Be sure to replace the ftp host, username and password details with your own details.
Note: Place this in your wp-config.php, just above the line that reads “‘/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */‘”
Tried all of the above? The Update WordPress Manually
If everything that you’ve tried till now has failed, then now is a good time to get your hands dirty in updating WordPress manually.
Here’s how to do this:
- Download the latest version of WordPress.
- Unpack the zip file that you downloaded on your computer.
- Deactivate all your plugins.
- Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host using FTP client or web hosting control panel’s File Manager.
- Now, upload new wp-includes and wp-admin directories to your web host, in place of the previously deleted ones.
- Upload individual files from the new wp-content folder to your existing wp-content folder. Do not delete or replace this folder, but just upload the new files.
- Upload all new loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing root directory.
You might be prompted when replacing old files with new ones. Simply proceed forward by clicking on ‘Yes.’ Do not ever delete or replace your wp-config.php file.
Once you do this, login to your WordPress admin page from http://yoursite.com/wp-admin, enter your login details and if prompted, then update your database.
All of this seem way to technical for you?
Are you skimming this guide and thinking – that’s way out of my scope of interest or desire to want to do!
You have two options.
Option 1: You can hire a professional to manage the updates for you
Option 2 (and recommended): Get your own Geek in Your Pocket to take care of all of your maintenance and upgrades.
I believe that maintaining your website doesn’t have to be overwhelming or unfriendly to your budget. You can have a geek in your pocket that will keep your WordPress website updated and protected at a reasonable price.
For a monthly fee you’re website will be managed, maintained, secured and protected. No more sweating and crossing your fingers hoping all goes well when you update your site. Have a technical question or maybe need feedback on the best plugin your geek in your pocket is right there ready to assist.