What to do when WordPress Auto-Update Fails

You are probably reading this because you are plagued with a WordPress Auto-Update failure. That is, your blog or website cannot update to the latest version of WordPress, theme or plugin on your site. It is without a doubt frustrating to know you can’t update your WordPress from your dashboard when the message shows.

We will provide you with a solution on how to fix it but first, you must understand what causes WordPress Auto-Update failures in most cases.

Why WordPress Auto-Update Fail

WordPress auto-update failure can be as a result of any of these:

  1. Plugins conflict.
  2. Plugins or themes are interrupted during an update.
  3. Plugin fails to update due to data issues and scheduled maintenance linger.

Either of the above is responsible for the error message you are getting but what is the way out?

What an Auto-Update Failure Looks Like

  • Downloading update from http://wordpress.org/wordpress-3.1.1.zip
  • Unpacking the update…
  • Verifying the unpacked files…
  • Installing the latest version…
  • Could not copy file:…
  • Installation failed

How WordPress auto-update message looks like

The status message that appears just before “Installation Failed” explains what WordPress thinks is the issue, but there are cases where things go wrong and no messages are displayed. In either case, the user can get locked out of the site. When this happens, trying to load any of your pages – admin, blog, login, etc. – gets you the nothing but the WordPress maintenance page:

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

Note: plugins and themes can experience auto-update failure which can in turn result as shown in the image above.

How to Fix WordPress Auto-Update Fail

Fixing the problem should not be difficult if you understand your way around Cpanel. For beginners:

  1. FTP your way to your root directory folder or log in to your Cpanel account and find your way your root directory folder.
  2. Locate and delete the .maintenace file in your root folder. Note that the name of the file begins with a dot (.)
  3. Go back to your WordPress Admin dashboard and reload the page.

This file contains a variable that is used by the wp_maintenance function. It looks like this:

<?php $upgrading = 1302115706; ?>

If you get locked out of your site, deleting the .maintenance file will fix the issue and get you back into Admin and other areas of your site.

There! You have successfully fixed the challenge.

Leave a comment below to let us know if it worked for you.

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