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How to Manually Update WordPress Using FTP

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How to Manually Update WordPress Using FTP

WordPress can automatically update itself to a new minor release without any user input. For major updates, WordPress shows a notification that an update is available and a user can initiate the update by simply clicking a button. However, sometimes you may come across a situation when updating from WordPress admin area is not possible. In this article we, will show you how to manually update WordPress using an FTP client.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Preparing Your Site for Update

First thing you should always do before any update is to backup WordPress. If you do not have access to WordPress admin area, then you can still backup WordPress manually.

After backup, you need to download a fresh copy of latest WordPress software from to your desktop and extract the zip archive. Inside the zip archive, you will find a folder named wordpress.

If you don’t already have a FTP client installed on your computer, then you need to download and install an FTP client. We recommend using Filezilla because it is free and works on both Windows and Mac.

Upload WordPress Files Using FTP

Connect to your website using your FTP client. See our guide on how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

Once you have connected to your website using FTP client, go to your website’s root directory. Now upload all the files inside wordpress folder from your desktop to your website’s root directory.

Uploading WordPress files from your PC to your Server

Your FTP client will start uploading files from your PC to your web hosting server. During the update process, your FTP client will ask you that filename already exists in the target directory, please choose an action. Select Overwrite and then check the box always use this action.

Overwrite existing files during FTP upload

Updating WordPress Database

A new WordPress release may come with changes into WordPress database. This would require a database update. Once you have uploaded all the files to your website, simply go to your WordPress admin area. WordPress will now show you a database update required notification.

Database update required notification

Simply click on Update WordPress Database button to proceed. WordPress will show you a success message after updating your database.

That’s all. You have successfully updated WordPress manually to the latest version.

Remember, you should always keep WordPress updated to the latest version. We hope this guide helped you manually update WordPress on your site. For feedback and questions, please leave a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Aymee Buckhannon says:

    Well the latest update blew my site into 502 Bad Gateway land. Something about ningx? No clue. Anyway, I can only access via ftp. Will re-installing help fix this you think? Also, how does one go about deactivating plugins from ftp or is that even necessary? Thank you kindly. Great info!

  2. JC martin says:

    What is the path to wp-content. When I open my ftp client wp-content is not on the root.

  3. Dawn Cunnane says:

    I just had to do this today with the new WordPress 4.6 update and Your vid was perfect, it worked like a charm, Thank you!

  4. Lucy Barret says:

    Very well written article Syed. Enjoyed reading this.

  5. Tom Tripp says:

    These are helpful directions. Ironically, I get to the “Database Update Required” screen, so I click on “Update WordPress Database” and then it seems to go into some endless stall and I can’t get back into wp-admin. If I try accessing it direct from the URL line, I get the “Database Update Required” image/page again….

    The website itself is fine.

    What would you suggest?


  6. Worlay says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial.

    I upgraded my site automatically and since then, some features like logo, icon, images and fonts, disappeared.

    What could probably be responsible?

    How best can I get my site back?

    Expecting urgent solution……thanks.

  7. Reka says:


  8. Jagadish says:

    Yes. This article saved my day. First a bit scary but made a quick backup of the entire folder & SQL separately and went ahead. Wow, it worked and was very happy to see the ‘Database update required’ screen by WordPress. Great Work. Thanks.

  9. James A. Simpson says:

    I did this and my pages, theme, images all show normally. However … when if I try to access the Admin area I am greeted by the ‘Welcome to the famous five-minute WordPress installation process!…’ screen.

    I am reluctant to proceed with the steps in case I end up wiping my existing database, content and/or users.

    Is it safe to follow the install procedure? Or do I need to forcing WordPress to stop the install script somehow so that I can reach my Admin area?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      It seems like your site does not have a wp-config.php file. After uploading WordPress files, you need to tell WordPress how to connect to your database. This is done by creating or editing wp-config.php file. Here you will need to enter your WordPress database host, db username, and password.

  10. Ricardo says:

    It worked perfectly. Thanks a lot! You´ve really saved my day!

  11. Jerry says:

    Thanks for bailing me out! Worked perfectly. I really expected it to be much harder.

  12. Francis says:

    Thank you! This worked perfectly.

  13. 4ryan says:

    how to restore from backup when any error occurs. i am getting error saying something like json() in wp-include/class.wp-scripts.php at line 180

  14. Tuesdaye Reed says:

    I think it’s important to add that one should upload everything EXCEPT the wp-config.php file. Beginners may not know this, and may result in confusion if they haven’t backed this file up.

    • WPBeginner Staff says:

      Actually if you download a fresh copy of WordPress you will notice that it does not contain a wp-config.php instead it has a file called wp-config-sample,php so the users are safe.

  15. WPBeginner Staff says:

    You can copy and upload the wp-config file from your backup.

    In case you do not have a backup, you can still get your WordPress database information from your webhost and create your wp-config.php file manually by entering the database name, database username and password.

  16. kipemun says:

    Am locked up, after following the procedures, wp-config is missing and and getting this from my site ”

    There doesn’t seem to be a wp-config.php file. I need this before we can get started.

    Need more help? We got it.

    You can create a wp-config.php file through a web interface, but this doesn’t work for all server setups. The safest way is to manually create the file.

    Create a Configuration File”

  17. neale_blackwood says:

    Many thanks – got around an issue where WP wouldn’t automatically update. Great help.

  18. Lexie says:

    Thank you!! You rescued our assignment from complete disaster :)

  19. Jason says:

    I tried this and it didn’t work – my admin log in page is now gone.

    I would guess that if you overwrite all of the files – the fresh wordpress files are not going to have the info to connect to the database.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Actually no. If you are updating a freshly downloadeed copy of WordPress and uploading it to your server, then that copy of WordPress does not contain wp-config.php. So your old wp-config.php file will remain unchanged. This is the file containing information about how to connect to your database.

  20. Cecilia says:

    Thank you! This was very helpfull.

  21. Marios of Infolific says:

    One drawback of this approach is that files removed from the WordPress core will remain on your server. Instead, it might be worth taking the extra step to synchronize via FTP and allow the synchronization program to remove files from the server. Of course this should be restricted to the admin and include folders and not for your themes and plugins.

  22. Kushal says:

    Great ! I worked for me. Thanks. But I didn’t get any option to update database, is that an issue?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      No, if your database does not need any changes WordPress will not prompt you for a database update.

  23. adolf witzeling says:

    If admin access is not possible, wouldn’t it be pointless to update WP without updating the database (which is only possible through admin panel)?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Adolf, nope you can not update database without updating WordPress, so hopefully the WordPress will update any problems an admin might be having in accessing wp-admin area. Then they can upgrade database. However, in case a user still can’t access wp-admin then they should try steps mentioned in our locked out of admin area guide.

  24. Tim says:

    Shouldn’t the “wp-content” folder be excluded from uploading? Otherwise Themes, Plugins, Uploads etc could be overwritten as well…?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Tim since a user is over writing files, the default WordPress installation does not come with a user’s customized themes. It has default themes, akismet and hello dolly as plugins, and it will not affect your uploads in any way. However, if a user has made direct changes into default theme files then those will be over-written during update. That is why recommend using Child Themes.

      • aaron says:

        Tim is correct. I followed this post to manually update wordpress with a custom theme. Using this process it completely erased the custom theme, plugins etc that I had installed, and reverted to the default wp-content directory that comes with the wordpress installation. Thankfully I had a backup to re-upload the missing files. After this happened I did some further research and found the correct process at . Hopefully this might prevent somebody from losing some vital files through the process explained in the above post.

        • WPBeginner Support says:

          Aaron, when you upload the wp-content it only over-writes files that already exist and does not delete anything from your server.

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