This one has been annoying me for so long, that I need to share the solution. One some of my recent installs of WordPress, I was not able to update the installation from the dashboard. It worked fine for plugins and themes, but would not work for the main platform itself. If you’ve ever done a manual update of wordpress, you’ll know how much time is saved by this all being automated from the dashboard, so this was a rather painful problem to have.

Unfortunately there was little in the way of logs or indication of what’s wrong. I worked out rather early that it’s a permissions problem, but despite all of my attempts I couldn’t work out what the issue was.

Then yesterday, after a lot of searching, I ran into this blog post which saved the day.

To have this work from the dashboard, you need to set the owner of the wordpress installation folder to www-data. I’ll copy the command over here, it worked fine for me exactly as described.

chown -R www-data wordpressfoldername

That’s all folks. Happy updating.