Successfully Recover from a Failed WordPress Update

WordPressWordPress is a great platform for blogging, building websites, and content management systems; and like any software creators have from time to time, released new versions in the form of automatic updates that need to be (or should be) installed. However, not all hosting servers run the same way when it comes to updating the software. Herein lies the potential problem for an automatic software update on the server to go awry.

That is exactly what happened to me yesterday when I went to update the WordPress software to the latest version. I saw that I had plugins to update; which I completed with no problems. However, when I tried to do a automatic update to WordPress, it got the proverbial message, “Update Failed.” That wouldn’t be so bad, except for one thing, I couldn’t log back in to my admin area. The blog was still active, but when trying to login to the admin area, I had the white screen of death, a blank page.

So, as luck would have it, or should I say Murphy’s law would have it, I did not have a recent backup of the blog. So, on to Google Search to find a WordPress update solution. I went looking to WordPress for an answer. I read on the forums of various instances of failed WordPress updates and the things to try. Many of the processes involved recovering from the update using the backup files. No, that was not going to work. Then I thought, maybe the manual WordPress installation procedure would work. I found this link for updating WordPress and thought maybe I could find how to do the process there.

Before doing anything, I decided to make sure I did a complete backup of everything that I could at that moment. I felt that the WP database was still intact on the website server. So, logging in to the CPanel of the website, I downloaded the various backups, including the databases that I had on the server. I also downloaded the WP directory from the server onto my local hard drive. I like using the FireFTP addon for Firefox. It is quick, easy to use, and convenient to provide FTP access for any website that you maintain.

After doing those things, I wanted some additional confirmation on the manual WP update procedure. I found this article on How to Recover from Failed WordPress Upgrade. The procedure was inline with the WP instructions, however, there were a few more details that made it easier to understand. Below is the procedure from WP. I am also adding my comments to it.

The following instructions assumes that you have your WordPress files installed in a separate directory on your web hosting account. Example would be: or you might have the directory named wordpress or other instead of blog.

Step 1: Replace WordPress files

  1. Get the latest WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file. (I used the zip file and saved it on my computer hard drive).
  2. Unpack (unzip) the zip file that you downloaded.
  3. Delete the following two directories (inside your WP directory) on the web host using FTP or shell access (I used FireFTP):
    1. wp-includes
    2. wp-admin
  4. Upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories (directories are “folders” from the computer hard drive) to your web host in the WP directory. Because the old directories have been deleted from the web server, the new ones will take their place.
  5. Read this next step twice and follow it carefully. Upload the individual files from the new wp-content folder (located on your local computer hard drive) to your existing wp-content folder (on the web hosting server in the WP directory), overwriting existing files. Do NOT delete your existing wp-content folder. Do NOT delete any files or folders in your existing wp-content directory (except for the one being overwritten by new files). This will replace only the files that need to be replaced, but maintain the other files within the wp-content directory.
  6. Upload all new loose files from the root directory of the new version (located on your local computer hard drive) to your existing wordpress root directory on the web host.

NOTE – you should replace all the old WordPress files with the new ones in the wp-includes and wp-admin directories and sub-directories, and in the root directory (such as index.php, wp-login.php and so on). Don’t worry – your wp-config.php will be safe.

Be careful when you come to copying the wp-content directory. You should make sure that you only copy the files from inside this directory, rather than replacing your entire wp-content directory. This is where your themes and plugins live, so you will want to keep them. If you have customized the default or classic themes without renaming them, make sure not to overwrite those files, otherwise you will lose your changes. (Though you might want to compare them for new features or fixes..)

Lastly you should take a look at the wp-config-sample.php file, to see if any new settings have been introduced that you might want to add to your own wp-config.php.
Step 1.5: Remove .maintenance file

If you’re upgrading manually after a failed auto-upgrade, delete the file .maintenance from your WordPress directory using FTP. This will remove the “failed update” nag message.
Step 2: Update your installation

Visit your main WordPress admin page at /wp-admin. You may be asked to login again. If a database upgrade is necessary at this point, WordPress will detect it and give you a link to a URL like Follow that link and follow the instructions. This will update your database to be compatible with the latest code. You should do this as soon as possible after step 1.

In my case, when I logged back in (and I was able to log back in now), I was indeed prompted to update the database before continuing. All I had to do was click the link button and follow simple instructions to update the database.

Low and behold, success. Everything was back to normal, and actually seemed to be functioning better. I did have some further updates to do for the pluggins, but those went smoothly using the automatic update links for the plugins themselves.

Words With Friends

Oh boy, I am having words with friends!

Words With Friends is a Scrabble game for the iPad, iPhone, and Android phones.

Dare I give you my screen name? Okay, my screen name is:


If you want to play a game with me, search for my name once you add the Words With Friends app to your portable device.

I have to say, it is a very addictive game.

Here is an article link with some very good hints and tips to consider:

5 Tips for Embarrassing your Friends in Scrabble

So, if you want to play an ongoing Scrabble game, send me an invite today. I might be sorry I said that. I may end up with too many requests for a game. I’ll see.



Flying United Airlines

Spent the weekend recovering from cancelled flights and flight changes. Friday morning started with difficulty in getting online confirmed seating boarding ticket on a United Airlines nonstop flight that I had for Saturday morning from PIT to SFO. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with customer service and then the IT department before I got a confirmed seat assignment. I guess they were starting to have computer problems with me at that time. Then, at about 3:00 PM, I get a call from United saying my Saturday 6:00 AM flight was cancelled. They wanted to know if I wanted to leave earlier at 5:30 AM. Which would have meant getting up at 2:30 AM to get there in time. Why even go to bed? I said no way. This by the way, was after United had moved the flight from 7:00 AM to 6:00 AM a week earlier. So, they put me on a flight at 10:00 AM to Chicago, and then had me switching planes in Chicago to SFO.

When I got to the Pittsburgh airport for check-in, the lady behind the counter insisted that I could check in myself with the kiosk. I told her that I was told that someone would have to help me. She continued to insist that I do it myself. However, there was another agent that assisted me, and entered my code number into the machine, but there was a problem. He said, someone will have to help me. I thought to myself, no kidding!

So, the main lady from behind the counter comes back over to me, and says, “this is the morning from hell!” I didn’t find out till a bit later, that United was having major computer problems. She started keying in my flights and after a few minutes I sensed there was something wrong. I asked her what the problem was. She informed me, the first flight was delayed an hour due to the flight crew having to wait their appointed resting time. This however would mean that I would most likely miss my connecting flight in Chicago. So, she actually double booked me (with an upgrade to first class) on a second flight out of Chicago to SFO, which was scheduled to leave an hour later.

Okay, now I am leaving an hour later from Pittsburgh, and of course, I arrive in Chicago an hour later too. However, they end up delaying the other flight leaving Chicago by almost an hour to accommodate the late arriving flights. Since both flights I was booked on were now set to leave nearly at the same time out of Chicago, I figured it sure would be nicer to fly first class on the second flight, instead of a center seat assignment on coach for the other flight. Now I am talking with another agent at the gate flight check-in counter. I tell her my story, show her my paperwork, and ask if I could just go on the other flight since I already was booked there too. She thought that would be fine, and proceeded to cancel my one flight and confirm me on the other. This is where another round of problems started. Once she unbooked me from the one flight, she could not confirm me on the other flight, even though I had paperwork to show that I was booked on it. She actually couldn’t understand how I got to Chicago, due to the paperwork not showing up properly. I told her, the whole story again and said, I simply checked in at the counter. So, she pulls another agent over, and they talk about the issue. She decides to give me a first class boarding pass for the other flight and just signed it herself.

It wasn’t until I was on the other flight, seated in my first class seat, that I felt comfortable that I was in fact heading to San Francisco.

I do have to mention, I could really get use to first class flying. I think I really like being pampered on the airlines. The service, the wine, and the meal were terrific. And, my knees did not hit the back of the seat in front of me. Much more comfortable!