WordPress Another update is currently in progress

Do you see in WordPress “Another update is currently in progress.” when you try to update the WordPress core? If so then you have probably checked all the other sites that advise you to delete a database entry, or use a plugin, or even use the wp-cli command to delete the database entry. In my recent research to resolve this, none of the sites I found actually provided any solution if that database entry does not exist.

I did end up with a post at WordPress.org: update-wordpress-another-update-is-currently-in-progress-2 and noted that even there the suggested solution was “wp option delete core_updater.lock” which was redundant advice as the original poster of the issue had already stated that the database table (wp_options) did not include that record.

In order to confirm this, I did install the wp command line utility from https://wp-cli.org/ and ran a couple of commands to check the current option for core_updater.lock, but as evidenced the wp-cli cannot find it either.

wp option get core_updater.lock
Error: Could not get 'core_updater.lock' option. Does it exist?

At this point the short answer is that the wp_options table does not have the record to delete regardless of using a plugin, php-myadmin, or wp-cli. If it ain’t there it cannot be deleted, and yet we still have the issue of “Another update is currently in progress.”

At this point I am still looking for a solution ( while it would be good to identify the issue, but a work-around will suffice) and have been testing or confirmed:

  • Specific to a site with 5.8.1 installed (I do not think this matters)
  • Trying to update to 5.9.3 (again I do not think it is a version issue)
  • Checked other WP sites on the same server – all ok – says that it is not a server config issue (i.e. its isolated to the site)
  • Ran all other updates for this site – plugins, themes etc. no issue. Only the core update fails / errors.
  • Tested swap of PHP (Multi-PHP Manager) version just to see if something triggered a clean-up – no change
  • Checked back on the dev site for the same live site and the dev site had automagically been updated to 5.9.3 obviously without an issue. Which comes down to some error within the live site only.
  • Finally drilled into a browser Inspect Console and discovered there were 403 errors on some scripts, like the wp-admin/loadstyles.php.

A 403 Error Forbidden suggested it was htaccess or virtualhost related and probably not an issue with WordPress itself. I then confirmed file level permissions with default chmod and ownership with chown checked and re-applied just in case, but that made no difference.

The end result was the Cpanel / WHM server the WordPress Toolkit was enabled for both the live and the dev sites. The two sites appeared to be configured identically but a cycle through each of the settings for security, disabling and re-enabling cleared the live site of whatever glitch / corruption was present.

Summary: If you cannot find the core_updater.lock record then the error message is a fall-back error, or a red-herring to use an old-school term, and not accurate. What it is saying is “WordPress wants to run the update but something weird is happening and WordPress cannot write or read what it needs.”

If I had this time over I would check in this order rather than what I did which was circuitous at best.

  1. WordPress Error “Another update is currently in progress” but no core_updater.lock
  2. Check in browser console (Inspect) to see if anything is giving errors

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