As we all know, WordPress has built amazing features for its website owners and among them, one of the best features is “Auto Update”. This feature is working best for most of all the users, but very few users face the issue with WordPress updates.

If you’ve also encountered the same issue then I’d like to tell you, don’t worry and remain calm. For your ease, below I have listed down several reasons & learn what to do when WordPress Auto-Update fails.

Let’s first understand, how exactly WordPress Auto-Update works: Let’s assume, Your current WordPress website version is 3.9.1 and the latest minor release with the security update version is 3.9.2 then the system will automatically identify that it’s a minor version and forcefully it will be updated in the background. But if there is a new major release available 4.0 then it requires a manual update. However, for major releases, you need to click on the “Update Now” button to see the significant impact on your WordPress website. In a simple layman language, your WordPress website will not automatically be updated from version 3.9 to 4.0.

Backup Your Website

Before update your existing WordPress website, we highly recommend you “take a back-up” of your site or blog. If you’ve your website backup then later anytime you can upload and restore your all work.

Delete “.maintenance” file via FTP

Whenever automatic update applies in your WordPress system, by default WordPress activates its built-in maintenance mode. Then, as a result, you’ll be locked out of your site and you’ll need to delete the “.maintenance” file via FTP.

  • First of all, you will need to login into the FTP
  • Explore the WordPress Directory and find “.maintenance” file in your root folder
  • Then delete it.

Once, you delete the file with the above-mentioned way, your website will start functioning as normal. Also, I will recommend you to clear the cache memory from your WordPress website.

I’d also like to share with you some potential causes by which you may find difficulties with this issue.

  • In the middle of “Automatic Update”, suddenly you might have close the browser.
  • Your website/blog has a huge number of plugins and you may try to update several plugins/themes at once.
  • One of the biggest causes could be the version compatibility issue.

Check file permissions

In some cases, due to file permission issues, WordPress couldn’t be able to upgrade directory. If you’ve encountered an error “Could not create directory” you need to permit the “wp-content” folder. Considering the security purpose this folder requires the permission of “755” but for a time being you need to give access to this folder as a “777”. Once, your encountered issue will be resolved, remember you need to change it back the permission as a “755”. Before proceeding further, do not forget to deactivate all the plugins.

Now, you can give another attempt to update the WordPress version. If you are still getting the same issue then you need to “delete” the “upgrade” folder from wp-content via FTP. Once, you delete the folder, create it again with the same name “upgrade”, then after giving permission to this folder as a “777” and once the issue resolves the issue, bring back the folder permission in original state as a “755” considering the major security impacts on your website.

Due to some security perspective, you won’t be able to change the folder permission but if you noticed the same issue then immediately connect with your hosting provider and create a support ticket to resolve this issue permanently.

Add FTP Details to WordPress Config File

You might have changed your FTP password or recently you’ve moved your website from one server to another. In such a scenario, WordPress may ask FTP details in the Dashboard. Entering the same information every time in the Dashboard might be annoying for anyone. Hence, we can add this information in the wp-config.php file and fix this issue permanently.

  • Once you login into the FTP, you need to find the wp-config.php file in your root directory
  • Open the file and then enter the below-mentioned code into it.
  • You’ve Done! That’s All.


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

Note: You need to mention your Host Name, Username, and need to mention your FTP password.

Everything else fails, then update your WordPress Manually.

Lastly, we’ve already shared this process “how to update WordPress manually” in our recent blog “10 Most Common WordPress Error” click here to read more information about it and update your WordPress website seamlessly.

So I hope you get the resolution for your specific issues and ideally, I believe you won’t find any difficulties to update WordPress and you must have the ability to move ahead further without any difficulties.

Still, if you prefer us to work on this task and looking for quick support with us then from the below-mentioned URL you can purchase our support ticket and get the things to be done.