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  • Updating Broke My WordPress Website

    updated 1 year, 1 month ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • SarahSS

    August 28, 2021 at 2:38 am

    You update a plugin or perhaps your theme or even your PHP or WordPress version and your website breaks! What was meant to be a simple job potentially becomes hours worth of work as you battle to find the culprit and fix your site. If updating broke your WordPress website then this article is for you! We’ll look at a number of the common causes and how you can fix them. Let’s get started! Stuck in Maintenance Mode When an update is undertaken successfully, a message like like ‘The website is undergoing scheduled maintenance’ shows for a few minutes and then automatically disappears. But on occasion, the script running the update will timeout and you’ll find your website stuck in maintenance mode. What you have to do is delete the .maintenance file. Use your favorite FTP client to connect to your site, navigate to the root folder and you should see the .maintenance file there. If your site is cached then you’ll probably want to clear the cache as well. Now, after that, if you refresh the front end, your site should display correctly. Now it is time to trace what caused the issue in the first place. Plugin as a Culprit You have to manually trace the plugin responsible by deactivating all plugins and then reactivating them one by one. You’ll need to do this by accessing the plugins folder via FTP and renaming each plugin to something like exampleplugin_disabled. This will then stop that particular plugin from working. If your site now functions correctly then you’ve identified the culprit. Suggestively, updating the plugins individually places less strain on the server and is more likely to be successful and show the culprit right away in case of a timeout. It is also better to always check that it is compatible with your version of WordPress. When Your Theme is the Problem To confirm that the issue is related to your theme you’ll need to deactivate your current theme and activate a default WordPress theme like the Twenty Twenty-One theme. If the admin area is not accessible after the failed update, you can always deactivate your theme via your favorite FTP client. You just have to navigate in the themes folder and rename the theme currently in use. What WordPress will do in that case is automatically activate the default theme. If the issue resolves itself then you know that it’s your theme that was at fault. You’ll then need to update your theme to the latest version which should (hopefully anyway) be compatible with that version of WordPress. If you continue to have issues then you’ll need to contact the theme author or a developer for support. After Updating the PHP Version In many such instances the problem may lie with an outdated plugin, before anything, please follow the steps described before. If this doesn’t work, try and change your theme to a default WordPress theme. Sometimes a customized theme may be responsible for experiencing post-update issues related to the PHP version. Server Related Issues – 500 HTTP Error Instead of the ‘Stuck in Maintenance Mode’ message you might get a 500 HTTP error after performing an update. In this instance the problem is likely to be server related rather than a problem with a theme or plugin. These server-side issues are more often than not caused by underpowered/overloaded shared servers typically used for budget hosting. Maybe a slow response or a memory exhaustion incident interrupted the update procedure. In this case your only real option is to contact the host and request they help. White Screen of Death The White Screen of Death (WSOD) is where you see a blank screen instead of your website. It is one of the most common issues WordPress users experience and may be related to all the above. You can find a great guide here. Installation Failed: Could Not Create Directory If you ever get a ‘Installation Failed: Could Not Create Directory’ then don’t panic! This problem is normally caused by a file permission issue when you update a plugin or theme. Occasionally it can also be caused as a result of insufficient disc space. To solve the permissions issue you will have to reset permissions. Once again you have to connect to your website directory using an FTP client and check what permissions are set for the wp_content, wp_includes, and wp_admin folders by right-clicking them. If it is indeed a permission related issue, the wp-content folder will not have the proper 755 permissions. If so, make sure to correct them and click the OK button as shown below. The numeric 755 value corresponds to Read-Write-Execute for the Owner, Read-Execute for the Group Permissions and Read-Execute for the Others Permissions. The ‘Owner’ Permissions are used by the assigned owner of the file or directory, the ‘Group’ Permissions are used by members of the group that owns the file or directory, the ‘Others’ Permissions used by all other users. You can also consult the Chmod Calculator tool for the conversions. I hope all that helps. Of course, there are always precautionary measures you can take to avoid such issues, that are related to your backups and site access or staging environments that you can find in this great article. Have a great day! – by /hq/adonasta – –

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