WordPress 3.2, auto update fail

Today, while on my lunch hour, I decided to auto update my blog to WordPress 3.2. Usually it goes without a hitch; unfortunately today it didn’t. I’m not quite sure what happened but it failed within a couple of seconds. Damn it! It may be a Dreamhost issue as I’ve seen reports of other users having similar issues, or it could be just bad luck.

If you have a similar issue the first thing you may notice, when trying to get to your site is that maintenance mode is “enabled”. To disable this connect to hosting server via FTP (or SSH) and delete the file ‘.maintenance’. The file may be hidden so you may have to enable viewing hidden files in your FTP client. Once deleted you should once again be able to see your site (fingers crossed!).

The next issue I had was not being able to log into my site admin panel. Navigating to the page gave me a horrible fatal PHP error; a sure sign that something was very broken. Not to worry there’s a (fairly) simple fix.

While logged onto your server via FTP or SSH, delete the ‘wp-admin’ and the ‘wp-includes’ folder. Make sure you don’t delete the ‘wp-content’ folder! Once that’s done download a copy of WordPress 3.2, unzip it and upload the unzipped ‘wp-admin’ and the ‘wp-includes’ folders to your server. Once complete you should be able to see your WordPress login page again! Yay!

You may be asked to update your database, go ahead and click the update button and login. Now take in all the goodness that is version 3.2 of WordPress! The guys have done a superb job with the admin panel, love the new design. Glad to hear they have also dropped IE6 support too. About bloody time!

So a quick summary for the tr;dr’s out there:

  1. Maintenance mode on? Delete ‘.maintenance’.
  2. Delete ‘wp-admin’ and the ‘wp-includes’ folders (Not ‘wp-content’!)
  3. Download a copy of WordPress and unzip it.
  4. Upload the unzipped ‘wp-admin’ and the ‘wp-includes’ folders.
  5. Navigate to the admin page, update database and login.
  6. Extra: In some cases you may also need to upload the wp-settings.php file then navigate to the admin page.

Phew, crisis averted! Now’s a good time to reiterate what is mentioned on the updates page. Always remember to back-up your database and files before you run an update. If something does break with the auto update you can always revert to your backup!

Scott on July 5 11 / 185 Permalink

I’ve had about 50/50 luck with WordPress 3.2 updates on my Dreamhost’ed sites. Had to use your solution multiple times today. :/

Matt on July 6 11 / 186 Permalink

Hi Scott,
Yeah I had the same. In the end I didn’t bother try the auto update on some sites and just removed the 2 directories then uploaded the 3.2 zip file. I’m sure someone will have reported it so hopefully it will be fixed in the future.

Jacob Stoops on July 7 11 / 187 Permalink

Dude, this article was a real life-saver. I made the unfortunate mistake of attempting to do the Automatic Upgrade without reading and inadvertently took my site down town so to speak. Luckily, with the help of this article, I was able to recover WordPress files I had on my dev site from an older version and reinstall those. Looks as if my Godaddy PHP and MySQL database needs updated. I’m wondering how many other GoDaddy users have had this issue with the 3.2 upgrade?

Brady on July 8 11 / 188 Permalink

Thank you so much. Your instructions really saved my butt! I’m going to suggest to Dreamhost that they post similar ones somewhere in their support – this took a while to find!

Jim Hopkinson on July 14 11 / 194 Permalink

Thanks so much for taking the time to post these instructions. I got the error just as I posted an important post and was down for a day. Finally found this, followed all directions, and now back up and running. Again, thanks for making the web suck less and saving me some time.

Peter Horsfield on July 27 11 / 207 Permalink

A brilliant post, thanks! I too clicked the ‘Upgrade to 3.2′ button and regretted it instantly.

Colin Tedford on August 9 11 / 220 Permalink

Whoa, thanks! Those updates usually go so smoothly, I was a little dumbfounded when it broke.

Justine on February 3 12 / 33 Permalink

Thanks for this – one question though. The admin and includes folders are not zipped separatly to begin with – do I just zip them and upload? I am trying this with 3.3.1

Justine on February 3 12 / 33 Permalink

Sorry – misunderstood – unzipped! However, that is what I did in the first place, which didn’t work. deleted maintenance, deleted admin and includes – uploaded new admin and includes – still nothing. Is there anything else?

Justine on February 3 12 / 33 Permalink

There was another step – for anyone stuck like me. Also upload the new wp-settings.php – this solved the problem for me. Took me to the update database screen – and also brought the website back online. Thanks for this post it did help!

Matt on February 6 12 / 36 Permalink

Hi Justine,
Glad you found it helpful. I didn’t have to upload the wp-settings file but I will add it to the list for anyone else having the same issue. Thanks!

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