WordPress 2.8 automatic upgrade fails

I’ve been trying to update my wordpress blogs from various versions like 2.5 and 2.7 to the newest 2.8 for a while now, but was never able to do it automatically.

Every time I pressed the “upgrade automatically” button, it told me it was downloading the latest file from WordPress, but it never got any further than that. I logged in to my site using my FTP client and found a 0KB sized file called wordpress2.8.zip in the wp_content folder, so I thought I’d found the issue – maybe the script can’t actually download the file and save it to disk because of permissions. I chmodded the file and then the folder to allow write access, but no joy.

Of course, I could have just downloaded the latest install from wordpress and done a manual upgrade, but there’s about 8 million files in the zip file and I didn’t want to have to upload that to 5 different sites! 😉

After a bit of research, it turns out that the problem is that the auto-upgrade script requires PHP5 to run, and as my sites are hosted on 1and1 servers which default to php4, the script was failing!

So if you’re having the same issue, all you need to do is make sure your wordpress is running on PHP5 instead of 4! If you’re on a shared server and you can’t change the server’s config, you can still tell apache to run your scripts as PHP5 rather than 4 by adding the following line to your .htaccess:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

All that does is tells apache to to parse all .php files with the PHP5 parser rather than whatever the server’s default is! So just throw that in the .htaccess you find in the root of your site – put it just after the “# END WordPress” line – save it, upload it and try doing the upgrade again – it worked first time for me! 🙂

If you’re still having trouble after that, or you’ve got a different solution, please post a comment here and let others know!

5 Responses to WordPress 2.8 automatic upgrade fails


    Why would you use PHP4 anyway? 😛 noob

  2. It’s not my fault – blame 1and1! 😉


    Thank you very much!

    You just saved me a lot of time.


    Cheers buddy
    worked great and saved a lot of time


    TBH I’m surprised blog was working correctly at all – I had no end of issues with WP without that line in there.

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