WordPress upgrade failed

Stumbling on a simple solution

A simple fix to a bizarre upgrade error: Unable to locate wordpress root directory

With WordPress, no database or domain operation is ever quite as simple as you might hope. But when things do go wrong, it’s always worth seeking out a simple solution.

Sometimes really serious-looking technical errors have the simplest of solutions.

This afternoon I moved a client’s WordPress installation to a new server and subsequently upgraded it to the latest version.

So when the upgrade failed with the message “Unable to locate wordpress root directory” I had visions of mis-configured servers, permissions gone wrong or IP addresses lurking in places they shouldn’t be.

However after a little researching online I found that the answer is as simple as it is random: This error can be caused by the wrong FTP username being given (not an incorrect password – that would be trapped nicely by wordpress – but the username).

I guess this isn’t something that is going to happen often – moving a server and so changing the FTP username – but I’m glad I thought to read around before spending hours diagnosing the server.

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