Caution When Updating To WordPress 2.8

Thanks to Heiko of WordPress Deutschland and Code Styling Project who brought up the problem on WordPress Deutschland:

Users reporting me, that they are missing files, after they automatically updated to WordPress version 2.8 and there were a problem while updating. I checked out the WordPress Trac and found a brand new record, which confirms this: Trac ticket # 10140

What happened and what are the conditions?

On one hand, the upgrade process has to be so far that the files were downloaded and unpacked. If anything goes wrong after these steps (wrong write permissions, etc.), the upgrade process makes a rollback and usually clears the downloaded files without any problems.

So much for theory. The practice shows, however, in exactly this case, because of a bug, previous existing installation files accidentally get deleted too, so the blog will no longer work!

What to do if already happened?

The best thing to do is to upload the old version completely via FTP. If the files are no longer available, you may download the old version from the archives of
You should also verify if the wp-config.php needs to be adjusted, because this may also be deleted.

What lesson did we learn?

It’s not just a phrase, when we repeatedly emphasize, before you upgrade:

1. Create a current backup of the database
2. Create a current backup of all files on your web server.

As convenient as an automatic update can be, there is always a risk. If the web server is configured properly and is maintained well, there shouldn’t a problem arise. But the most users do not know or want to know if that’s the case. Therefore, the safest way is still to upload the new version via FTP.
Anyone who knows how everything has to be configured, I mean the pros among you, will surely continue to use the automatic upgrade.

What’s next?

This problem will be fixed, according to WordPress Trac entry, with version 2.8.1, and automatic upgrade will work again without any problems. But we think it is very important that the WordPress-Team let the users know about the problem and not just fix it in version 2.8.1 and be quiet about it. It will avoid a lot frustration!

But please don’t forget about your backup again, when you use 2.8.1 or future versions. It’s better “I have” than “if I would have”.

We still hope that you all continue to enjoy WordPress as we do, and we will continue to do our best to contribute you as quickly as possible with new information.





15 responses to “Caution When Updating To WordPress 2.8”

  1. Piet Avatar

    It actually seems to be a problem that can easily be fixed.

    This website has more info about it and you can download a new http.php file that you have to upload in the includes dir.

    That fixes your problem!

  2. Danilo Avatar

    “Anyone who knows how everything has to be configured, I mean the pros among you, will surely continue to use the automatic upgrade.”

    Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The automatic upgrade should be for amateurs, not pros.

    On a more general note (and really not in order to offend): I appreciate this site, I know you offer all this for free and I know it ain’t your mother tongue, but the English is god awful in a lot of cases…

  3. Kathleen, The Savvy VA Avatar

    Updated mine yesterday to 2.8 and no problems whatsoever.

  4. hd-J Avatar

    @Danilo: If you don’t want to offend anyone, don’t say anything! That was really rude! I bet your German is not perfect either; that is supposed you actually know more than 2 words of it…

    As for the article, thanks! I really don’t like this automatic upgrade tool: users get to think an upgrade is as simple as a Windows update: you click and you wait. When in fact it is often much more complicated, and really risky! I would really like to see a big warning when starting the automatic upgrade, something like “Before to start, be aware that this upgrade can break your website”. A compulsory backup could also be a good alternative.

  5. Michael Soriano Avatar

    Good watching out man! I was a little iffy about using the auto-upgrade. FTP is my preferred choice. But thanks for the tip!

  6. Robert Avatar

    Inability to use Widgets with the Gear 1.2.7 Theme in WordPress2.8. Even after changing a theme it was some what dicy to add a widget. Disabling all plug-ins prior to trying the theme change was no help.Looks ilke they should have worked on it(WP2.8 that is) a little longer.
    Now I know why many wait to upgrade to the latest WordPress.

    I second hd-J warning suggestion. Also please note that AG does ask you to backup both your files and your database, which is considerably more than the WP Upgrade does.

  7. Alex Avatar

    @Piet, thanks a lot for the link and the fix. However, I’m sure for most users, it will be too late.

    @Danilo, don’t worry, you don’t offend anybody. But if there are so many errors, please tell us the errors and the correct grammar, we will try to avoid them in the future. Without telling what is wrong, we cannot fix it. 🙂
    But like I said, we really do appreciate any corrections.

    Because of your statement “Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. The automatic upgrade should be for amateurs, not pros.” Normally I would say, yes you are right, but since it is not working probably, it will bring up a lot frustration. It is meant for amateurs, but then it has to work without any problems. Some amateurs forgot to set the permissions right or something else, so this problem will arise.

    @hd-J, thanks for backing us up because of the bad English 🙂 . Glad that for some people the information itself is more important than how we provide the information. 😉 Although we will try to improve our English.

    @Michael, guess you made the right choice, at least in this case.

    @Robert, as hd-J suggested, they should place a real big warning before upgrading to the newest version and also notify the user, there might be a potential risk if the update process get canceled.

  8. cooper Avatar

    Seriously though the auto-upgrade should be for those who know nothing not the other way around. I will do it manually thank to this post though.

    Tell the people who prefer perfect English to go to site where the blogs primary language is English. Some people just love to feel better than anyone else, and it’s usually people who speak only one language.

  9. Danilo Avatar

    @hd-J, please, don’t tell me what to do. I decide that by myself. I have the same right to use this blog’s comment function as you do. Maybe you should not read what I have to say if you can’t handle it? The author proved he can.
    As for my German, I think it is pretty good, since it is my native language, thank you.

    @Alex, thank you for getting my comment the right way. It’s mostly syntax faults that sometimes make it hard for me to grasp the actual content. I have been following this site since it went live and I REALLY appreciate what you guys do. I also understand why your contents are published in English. Maybe, a native speaker as an editor would be a great addition to your team.
    Regarding the auto upgrade, I see where you’re coming from. The fact that it doesn’t work too well. doesn’t affect its purpose – it’s clearly an amateur’s helper.

    @cooper, I can’t judge about “perfect” English since I am German. However, This site’s primary language IS English and I am of the opinion it could be better, just like many German sites could use better German, or, I bet, sites in any other language. I don’t feel any better because of stating my opinion, except for being able to do so.
    It’s always funny how a factual statement is considered rude and replied to with untenable claims.

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  11. Alex Avatar

    @cooper, true you are right with the automatic upgrade, but as Danilo, said, he sees where I’m coming from, it just should work without a problem, so the beginner won’t get lost if something breaks. And thanks for your kind words. 🙂

    @Danilo, thanks a lot for your feedback, and I understand, especially if it’s going to be really technically and advanced, it can be hard to understand it right away. So we will try harder to get things straight, so it will be easier to understand.

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  13. Guide To Gadget Avatar

    Thanks for give this information, I will updated more carefully in the future

  14. Frankie Avatar

    @Danilo Silence is wisdom

  15. Danilo Avatar

    I know, it’s only I think better copy would increase this site’s recognition quite a bit.