Failing WordPress updates fixed by enabling FastCGI

This content is 13 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

For months, although it feels like years, I’ve been struggling with WordPress upgrades and it’s been driving me mad.  Each time I’ve attempted an in-app update of a plugin (or WordPress itself), it’s asked me for FTP credentials and then, usually, failed.  I’ve got used to re-installing WordPress but it shouldn’t be this way.

The problem, it seems was a combination of WordPress file ownership/permissions. I had to set the wp-content/upgrade folder permissions to 777 in order to successfully update plugins and that just didn’t feel right.  Luckily, I’m on good terms with my hosting provider and they started looking into the issue for me.  It seems (I think) that Apache was running as nobody and that was presenting some issues with WordPress. Changing the owner on my /blog folder (to nobody) fixed WordPress, but it meant I couldn’t FTP any content to the folder using my own username, so we went back to the drawing board.

I can’t claim to understand all the technical details but I’m told the fix was to enable FastCGI on the server.  It was originally disabled because it’s memory-hungry (spawning child processes for each user) but wow, FastCGI is a good name. Now my WordPress upgrades take seconds. I updated twice yesterday (to 3.1.4, then later to 3.2) and I was amazed how quickly things happened. That is good.

2 thoughts on “Failing WordPress updates fixed by enabling FastCGI

  1. Hi Mark, I just saw the 3.2 upgrade which increases the PHP and MySQL version requirement, I’m with Easily atm, and paying 16 quid a year for the pleasure, the upgrade, and I have to reinstall et all, would be 25 a year. Who are you with and are they any cheaper ? I have checked local Kiwi hosting but they are around 4 – 5$ a month so end up being more expensive. I have just bought a Drobo though so might play around with installing Apache on that and pointing the domain via dyndns to the home IP, I love this stuff :-)

  2. Hi Scott – my hosting is with some mates at I pay more than you, but my bandwidth requirements are higher. Good thing for me is knowing the guys and being able to work with them on any issues. Hosting at home is an option, I don’t know what comms are like in NZ – over here ADSL uploads are only around 768Kbps so that rules it out for most of us. Cheers, Mark

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