Is WordPress not updating automatically? Are you facing any problems in updating WordPress to the latest version through the automatic WordPress update process? Don’t worry about them. We have the solution. Before we are getting started, read our article on How to Update WordPress to know more about the WordPress update process. It is a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide to update your WordPress version to the latest release. We described some effective methods to get a successful update of your WordPress platform.
There are several things you need to check if your WordPress not updating automatically. We listed some of them below so that you can check them out one by one to diagnose the issue.
Before turning on the automatic updates, make sure that you didn’t modify any core WordPress files. For example, if you made changes to the WordPress files for adding some custom functions to your website, you will lose them as soon as WordPress gets updated.
What is WordPress Automatic Update?
The WordPress automatic update is a feature coming with WordPress that will automatically update your WordPress core, plugins, etc. as soon as a new update rolls out. These updates will not require any manual confirmations and will run in the background.
For example, if you want to update WordPress, you will have to manually go to the updates page on your WordPress backend and click on the “Update Now” button. Just like that, if you want to update plugins, you will have to manually do that as well. By turning on the automatic WordPress core updates and automatic plugin updates. No matter how long you are away from the website, WordPress will automatically keep itself updated.
Should you enable Automatic Updates?
Even though it can be extremely convenient to enable the automatic updates feature. It is not advised for everyone. For example, an update can have breaking changes that might affect other parts of the website code and result in breaking things.
Especially if you are running a WordPress website with a lot of custom features implemented, or if you are running on an older version of PHP on your server, turning on the automatic updates can be disastrous. You should always make sure to keep all your custom code and server requirements to the latest before using the automatic updates feature.
Check out how to update WordPress PHP if you want to upgrade your PHP version to meet WordPress requirements.
Enable Automatic WordPress Updates
Most of the modern-day hosting providers come with automatic WordPress update feature including its plugins. If your hosting doesn’t support such a function, you will have to manually enable WordPress automatic updates by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file in the root folder of your website.
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
You can also use some WordPress auto-update plugins such as Easy Updates Manager or Companion Auto Update to enable automatic updates on your WordPress website. These plugins will also have several additional features to keep your plugins and themes updated and take control of the update process.
Check if WordPress Cron has any issues
WordPress checks for updates for itself and its plugins or themes using the cron jobs. It is basically a process that checks for updates once in a while and if any updates are available, it will be displayed on the backend.
For the automatic WordPress updates to run, the cron jobs should be working fine. If your host or any other conflicts blocking the cron from running, the updates may not be performed as expected. If you figure out that your WordPress cron isn’t working, you can try a quick fix by adding the following line to your wp-config.php (be sure to make sure that the WP-Cron isn’t actually working. You can use a plugin such as WP Control to check the cron jobs.)
WordPress doesn’t have sufficient file permissions
WordPress, like any other application, requires sufficient permission to read, write, delete, and add files to your server. If you didn’t make any changes to the file or folder permissions on your hosting provider, in most cases you are good to go and nothing requires any change. However, if you want to double-check the permissions, these are the recommended permissions for WordPress.
- Folders – 755
- Files – 644
- wp-config.php – 600
- .htaccess – 644, or 600
If you find that they are not as listed above, especially the folders, you should talk to your hosting support or change the folder permissions and allow WordPress to write files to your server.
WordPress doesn’t have FTP access
In most cases, all the managed WordPress hosting providers have all the basic things required for WordPress to function properly enabled by default. If you are on a self-managed hosting such as Digital Ocean, you might wanna enable FTP access to WordPress by inserting the following line to the wp-config.php file.
Debug using the Background Update Tester Plugin
There is a plugin in the WordPress plugin repository that will check issues in the update process for you. The plugin is Background Update Tester.
The plugin runs a series of tests and diagnosis methods to identify the issues with your WordPress/Server in updating the platform. If you are unsure of the issue and couldn’t resolve it until now, using this plugin to identify the problems might be a good move. No worries, you can remove it as soon as you identify the problem. You do not have to keep it live on the site forever.
What to do if you still face issues with WordPress updates? The best thing you can do after trying the above fixes yourself is to reach out to your hosting support. If you are on a good hosting provider such as Siteground which provides great support for the customers, you are lucky enough to solve the issue within a matter of minutes. Before reaching out to a developer or someone who you may need to pay to get the issue resolved, the support that you can get for free would be the ideal solution. They will be happy to solve the issues for you.