Autoupdates Failing on WordPress? FTP Failing?

WordPressRecently, we had a client that configured their own servers for use with WordPress. When the recent 3.04 security update came through, there was some sense of urgency to getting this version installed on all of our clients. However, this particular client always required that we upgrade WordPress manually… a process not for the faint of heart!

We wouldn’t get the typical “can’t write files” error on this blog. Instead we were provided a screen with FTP login. The problem was that we would fill in the FTP credentials and it would still fail… this time based on good credentials!

I got in touch with our friends at Lifeline Data Centers, Indiana’s largest data center, since they have some Apache geeks and have configured their own servers. They provided me with a simple solution – adding the FTP credentials directly within the wp-config.php file to hardcode the FTP credentials:

define('FTP_HOST', 'localhost'); 
define('FTP_USER', 'username'); 
define('FTP_PASS', 'password');

For some reason, the identical credentials that did not work in the form, worked perfectly when put in the configuration file! As well, it makes WordPress act just like it would without the need for FTP…. just click update and go!


  1. 1

    I experienced WordPress auto-update errors after rebuilding my server and spinning up a new WordPress installation. My problem arose from Firefox, not WordPress – others may experience the same issue if their FTP username and WordPress username are the same as mine were (although with different capitalization and passwords).

    The problem is that Firefox, if you have “remember passwords” enabled, will auto-correct the user/pass in the form to what it thinks it should be based on what’s stored in the password manager. In my case, my WordPress credentials were saved, but my FTP credentials were not, as they can be used to SSH into the site. People in this situation can either temporarily disable “remember passwords” in their Preferences/Options when attempting to use WordPress auto-update or apply a piece of code to WordPress to correct this behavior.

  2. 2


    I had the same problem with a home build of Apache. Turns out it was a result of improper permissions and ownership on certain files and directories.

    The link above provided insight into how to correct the problem without using ftp credentials. Of course I don’t recommend that you chown your entire user directory to 775 (and I didn’t) but this lead me in the right direction.


  3. 3

    For others searching for possible solutions: Another blogger solved his auto update problems by apparently forcing his host to use php5 by adding the following to his .httaccess file:

    AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

  4. 4

    Thank you for sharing the knowledge, I have experienced problems with autoupdates but the only solution I have found is to deactive the plugins then autoupdate WordPress and finally reactive all the plugins.

    This tip is for a diferent problem but it’s good to know how to solve it.

    Greetings from Mexico!

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