WordPress Help


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Easy Fix: An Automated WordPress Update Has Failed to Complete – Please Attempt the Update Again Now

picture of the message: an automated WordPress update has failed to complete

Do you see an error notice at the top of your WordPress dashboard saying …

“an automated WordPress update has failed to complete – please attempt the update again now”?

But you don’t know why the message is still there because all plugins, themes, and WordPress, are now updated.

Your website looks and functions okay. However, the message doesn’t go away. In this tutorial, I will show you how to remove it.

The Blog Mechanic helps new WordPress users, non-techie bloggers, and busy website owners with WordPress. See my services or contact me.

How to Fix the Automated Update Has Failed Error Message

When plugins, themes, and WordPress core files are being updated on your website, WordPress temporarily puts itself into maintenance mode.

WordPress does this by adding a “.maintenance” file in the root folder of your website.

Usually, when the update is completed, WordPress automatically removes the maintenance file.

But sometimes, if the update isn’t successful for whatever reason, WordPress fails to remove the file and one of two problems can occur:

  1. Your site gets stuck in maintenance mode. You cannot login to WordPress and if you visit the site, you’ll see a message saying briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance.
  2. You see the error message saying an automated update has failed to complete – please attempt to update again now.

Most of the time, you can fix problem number two by manually updating failed automated updates, and the error message goes away.

If the message doesn’t go away, to remove it, you’ll need to delete the “.maintenance” file from the server yourself via cPanel or FTP.

Delete the Maintenance File with Cpanel

Login to your web hosting cPanel area. If you don’t know how to access cPanel, contact your web host for help.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m using Bluehost so your cPanel area may look a little different to mine, but the steps are the same.

Go to Files >> File Manager. Once inside the file manager, go to the location where your WordPress site is installed …

For me, that’s public_html and IF you only have one website it will be the same for you too.

Double click the root folder to open it up. Then you’ll likely need to adjust some settings to show the maintenance file.

Go to Settings >> Show Hidden Files (dotfiles)

Click save to apply your changes. You will now be able to see the “.maintenance” file in the list of files and folders on your server.

Click the maintenance file to select it. At the top of the screen click delete. A message box will ask you to confirm. Click the confirm button.

And that’s it. When you log back into your website the “automated WordPress update has failed” error message will no longer be there.

Let me know in the comments box below if using Cpanel to delete the “.maintenance” file fixed the problem for you.

Alternatively, in the unlikely event, your web host doesn’t give you cPanel access, you’ll need to delete the file using FTP.

Delete the Maintenance File with FTP

To delete the file via FTP you’ll need to connect to your server using a free software called FileZilla.

If you’ve never used FileZilla before, this article explains how to connect to your server using the software.

Once you’re connected, on the left side you see all the files and folders on your computer. On the right are the files and folders on your server.

To delete the “.maintenance” file, on the right side, double click the root folder where your website in installed to open it up …

For me that’s public_html and it will be for you too IF you have one website only. If you have more than one, you may need to go to a different location.

In the root folder of your site, find the “.maintenance” file:

  • Click it to select it
  • Hold down control on your keyword
  • Left click your mouse
  • Click delete

That’s all! You have successfully deleted the file. The next time you login to your WordPress site, the pesky error message should be gone.

Did deleting the maintenance file via FTP fix the problem for you? Let me know in the comments box below.

Wrapping Up

In most instances, the “an automated WordPress update has failed to complete – please attempt the update again now” error message …

Will disappear from your WordPress admin dashboard after manually updating failed automated updates.

If it doesn’t, as you’ve learned in this tutorial, you’ll need to delete the “.maintenance” file from the root folder of your WordPress website.

You can do that using Cpanel. And if you don’t have Cpanel access, you can use FTP instead.

If you ever need help fixing WordPress errors, making changes to your website, or maintaining your site in general, The Blog Mechanic is here to help. Check out my care plans and website edit services to learn more.

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