WordPress 2.9 Upgrade Issues

WordPress 2.9 Auto-Upgrade Problems Fixed by 2.9.1

by Ben Cook on December 28, 2009

Update: WordPress 2.9.1 has been officially released and it seems to have addressed the variety of issues that occurred when upgrading, as well as a problem people had with scheduled posts. I gave it a shot on the two sites that choked on 2.9 and it worked seamlessly so I think it’s safe to upgrade at this point.

WordPress released version 2.9 over a week ago but the automatic upgrade has been causing several people problems.

It seems the process will occasionally hang mid-upgrade, often causing database problems with your site.

Sugarrae upgraded her afiliate marketing / internet marketing website (a must read if you’re not already subscribed) and had disasterous results.

I tried updating one of my own installations tonight but the automatic upgrade didn’t finish, resulting in every page on my site throwing an error.ย  Thankfully, I had the site content backed up and I needed to move the blog over to Hostgator anyway.

After tweeting my experiences, fellow SEO, Dave Curtis mentioned he had just had similar problems.

I’m willing to chalk one or even two failures up to coincidence but three in a relatively short period of time is enough for a pattern in my mind.

What Can I Do?

The first and most important step is to back up your WordPress installation before attempting an upgrade. That way if anything should go wrong you can reinstall WordPress or your database if it should come down to that.

At this point you can either roll the dice & hope you don’t have to use those backups you just created, or if you want to be 100% safe, you can always upgrade using the old-fashioned manual method.

I’ve heard the problems blamed on everything from plugins, to themes, to different versions of PHP. My failed upgrade seemed to be caused by a slow or unresponsive server but I haven’t been able to verify that. If anyone else has more details on the problem feel free to share them in the comments below.

WordPress 2.9.1 beta has also been released and reportedly fixes some of the bugs that may be causing the upgrade issues but of course, that upgrade has to be done manually as well which can be a bit of a pain for those of us with dozens of installs.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all for 2.9.1 to be officially released shortly and since 2.9 didn’t contain security patches this might be a rare instance where not upgrading is the best course of action.

WordPress Upgrade Failure

Update: It appears that at least for my failed upgrade, WordPress recognized the failed upgrade and is allowing me to reinstall the upgrade. I know others haven’t been as lucky but at least some of the failures don’t appear to cause permanent damage.

image source: Chris Daniel

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey Yandle December 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

Well it looks like I got lucky yesterday with all of my updates. With 9 wordpress installs that I had to update none of mine messed up any. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ben Cook December 29, 2009 at 10:17 am

Casey, I had done 5 before hitting my first problem and then I had 2 in a row go bad on me. I’m not sure what the deal is (haven’t been able to find a common theme or error or anything) but it’s annoying to say the least.

Demian Farnworth December 29, 2009 at 10:58 am

Upgrade went without a hitch for me…except for the scheduled post snafu, which, of course, was a post upgrade issue. I’m sure you heard about it. Wouldn’t have been a problem because I rarely schedule posts, but over Xmas break I did, and sure enough I got the warning “Missed schedule.”

By the way, you’re the one who convinced me to not only back up before upgrades…but to back up on a frequent basis. Thanks, dude.

Adam December 29, 2009 at 11:17 am

I would say if you can to checkout wordpress from the subversion repository, that way you can easily upgrade/rollback as needed.

Though it does expose you to the bleeding edge but for me that has not been an issue.

Ben Cook December 29, 2009 at 11:36 am

Not a problem, Demian! Glad the upgrade went smoothly for you & even more glad that you back things up on a regular basis. It may not ever come in handy but if it does, it will be a BIG help.

Gerald Weber December 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I have four words for you.

Backup, backup backup and backup!

Then once you are done doing that go ahead and make a backup ๐Ÿ™‚

Ben Cook December 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Gerald, couldn’t agree more.

And, in fairness this is the first problem I’ve had with the Auto-Upgrade since they introduced it as part of the core functionality. That’s deserving of some credit & compliments to the dev team for sure.

Holly Jahangiri January 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

2.8.6 hung twice; I decided to skip it.
2.9 upgraded quickly, and without any issues.
2.9.1 hangs. @#$%!

Never had any problems before 2.8.6. I’m liking WP a lot less today… very irritating.

Holly Jahangiri January 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

Oh, great. Now I’m stuck in “Maintenance Mode.” At least 2.8.6 let me get to the Dashboard. Right now, WP and I officially aren’t on speaking terms.

wouter January 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

And what if you have not made a BACKUP….:-(((


Ben Cook January 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

@wouter most web hosts have regular backups. It’s rarely a daily backup but if you lose everything or really screw something up that’s a lot better than having to start over.

Ben Cook January 8, 2010 at 12:24 am

Holly, that’s quite a lot of problems! I didn’t have any issues with 2.8.6 or 2.9.1 and I manage a LOT of WP installs across 3 different hosts.

Who is your web host and what version of PHP are they running? I’ve read that was a source of problems with 2.9 although 2.9.1 was supposed to have fixed that.

Holly Jahangiri January 8, 2010 at 12:35 am

Well… I posted an update this morning. It came out of maintenance mode on its own, after about 10 minutes. Nothing was lost or damaged. I threw caution to the wind and tried again. It’s very odd. I still have the error message at the top of my admin panel saying that the update failed to complete, but when I try to do it again, it says I’m already running 2.9.1. Everything seems to be working just fine, so I’m just going to ignore the message that it failed (it’s still there), and go on with life believing that I’m now running 2.9.1. Whatever. ๐Ÿ™‚

Holly Jahangiri January 8, 2010 at 12:36 am

@wouter – yes, I’ve learned to take backups. Or at least I know I have no one to yell at or whine to but myself when I don’t.

Ben Cook January 8, 2010 at 12:58 am

Holly, yeah, the maintenance mode detects when the upgrade fails. It’s still quite annoying in the mean time. I’m glad you got it all (or at least most of it) sorted out ๐Ÿ™‚

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