Errors when upgrading WordPress via FTP

Some server configurations, typically running Pure-FTPd, have trouble updating WordPress via FTP. When doing an upgrade or a plugin install things may start fine but fail in the middle. It’s a bummer during an update since your site is also in maintenance mode and visitors can’t reach your site. Maintenance mode will timeout but to quickly get out of it just delete the .maintenance file from the root of your website.

Common error messages might look like this:

Could not copy file.: /wp-admin/css/
Could not copy file.: /public_html/wp-admin/css/
Could not copy file.: /.../.../wp-admin/css/ 
Could not create file.: /public_html/

And then you’ll probably see an Installation Failed message.

There is a patch going into WordPress 3.2 that should permanently take care of the issue and the plugin will be obsolete after upgrading to that version. In the meantime, installing and activating the plugin should make upgrades work as expected.

Download the FTP Upgrade Fix plugin from or search for it within the WordPress admin. You may have to install it manually via FTP if you’re also having trouble installing plugins through WordPress.

7 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this plug-in. My site was hacked because I had not updated my WordPress. With your plugin, the auto upgrade works!

  2. I’m seeing similar problems on a host running ncftpd, but this doesn’t bring any joy. Do you have any tips on expanding this or where to begin if creating something similar for that environment?

  3. Many thanks for this.. worked a treat! Only question is why WP couldn’t do this themselves?


  4. hello i had install this plugin , while activting it , it goves to this url ,
    this page say’s

    The page you requested could not be found.

    • There’s a funny firewall or server setting quirk on some systems that blocks the name of the plugin in the url. If you install the plugin, then rename the file from ftp-upgrade-fix.php to just upgrade-fix.php the you can probably activate it. It’s something I may add to a future update.