WordPress has many awesome features, and one of them is the ability to auto-update it, and it works great for many users out there. However, some of you may encounter issues when updating WordPress. In this post, you’ll learn what to do when WordPress auto-update fails.

If you’re running WordPress 3.7+, then the good 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 if your site is running on WordPress 3.9, then you’ll be automatically updated to WordPress 3.9.1, 3.9.2, etc. But you’ll need to click on “Update Now” button for major releases, for example, you won’t be automatically updated from WordPress 3.9 to 4.0.

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 presented 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.

Now 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 everytime, which is kind of annoying. In such a case, instead of adding those details everytime 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.

Now, open up your wp-config.php file from the root of your WordPress installation, and add the below lines to it:

define(‘FS_METHOD’, ‘ftpext’);
define(‘FTP_HOST’, ‘ftp.website.com’);
define(‘FTP_USER’, ‘username’);
define(‘FTP_PASS’, ‘password’);

Of course, replace the ftp host, username and password details as per your own site.

Note: Place this in your wp-config.php, just above the line that reads “‘/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */‘”

Everything else fails? Then 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:

  1. Download the latest version of WordPress.
  2. Unpack the zip file that you downloaded on your computer.
  3. Deactivate all your plugins.
  4. Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host using FTP client or web hosting control panel’s File Manager.
  5. Now, upload new wp-includes and wp-admin directories to your web host, in place of the previously deleted ones.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

So that’s how you can fix issues when WordPress core is not updating to the latest version. Hopefully, the next time you use the one-click update feature of WordPress, you should be able to proceed without any problem.

Do check out all our brand new WordPress troubleshooting section to fix all your everyday WordPress related problems.

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