Occasionally, you might come across the following WordPress error after trying to run a WordPress core update or update one of your plugins:
Another Update Is Currently In Progress
Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:
As you might have guessed, you get this error when you’re running an update while another update is ongoing in the background of your WordPress website. Or perhaps more crucially, when the system thinks that you’re running another update in the background. An update could mean a WordPress core update, a plugin update or something else.
This error message is particularly frustrating – who thought they’d be troubleshooting WordPress updates today after all? However, the reality is, it’s actually one of the more common WordPress errors and we should be able to get it successfully fixed if you follow our guide.
First, here are some possible reasons for how the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error occurs, and how to fix the WordPress update lock.
- Reason #1. Updating Multiple Plugins or Core At the Same Time (Duh!)
- Reason #2. Multiple Users Updating at the Same Time
- Reason #3. Selecting Multiple Plugins to Update At Once
- Fixing the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” WordPress Error
- Caution: Take a Backup Before Manually Fixing This Error!
Reason #1. Updating Multiple Plugins or Core At the Same Time (Duh!)
As expected, the fundamental reason why this error occurs is that you’re trying to update many things at the same time. It could be a set of separate plugins, or perhaps there’s a WordPress core update in progress, and you try and update a plugin at the same time.
When the system updates a plugin, it creates a “lock” on critical objects and prevents other processes from changing the database in the meantime. In fact, in the wp_options table that’s part of the WordPress database, the system creates an entry called “core_updater.lock”, which indicates that a current update is in progress on your WordPress website.
Further down, I’ll show you how to delete this entry manually if the system glitches out and still thinks that your site is being updated when in reality it’s not.
But Wait, Aren’t Plugin Updates Almost Instantaneous?
Yes, usually when you update a plugin or a theme in WordPress, it happens almost immediately. This is because most plugin updates are simple, and your server bandwidth is usually pretty fast and the script execution barely takes any time at all.
But sometimes, resources to execute the update script might not be immediately available, and it’s possible that the update process gets stuck somewhere without you realizing it. Many people simply click the “update” button for their plugin and walk away, not realizing that it’s still in progress. Browser and interface glitches are rare but can happen, where you accidentally trigger multiple plugin updates simultaneously.
WordPress updates take longer than regular WordPress plugin updates, so the chances of triggering an “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error increases when dealing with a new core WordPress update.
Reason #2. Multiple Users Updating at the Same Time
A more realistic scenario on a site that has multiple users with admin rights, is that they trigger updates at the same time and that causes the error message. The larger the site and the number of administrators, the greater the chance of something like this happening. Just think, you all see that red notification icon at once in the WordPress dashboard and sometimes you can’t resist just knocking it out.
Particularly in remote work situations, where teams across the world are loosely coordinated, it’s possible that you haven’t properly delegated the right to update plugins. Ideally, you would assign plugin updating rights to just a single person so this doesn’t happen. Or if you have a small site, retain the admin rights to yourself alone, so only you can update WordPress.
If you still need administrators, you can use this user role editor plugin to define custom roles where you can pick and choose which rights you want individuals to have. Very useful!
Reason #3. Selecting Multiple Plugins to Update At Once
Another rare instance of the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error is when you select multiple plugins to update at the same time. I use this option myself all the time – who wants to wait for individual plugins to update? But a few individuals have reported getting this error when they tick multiple plugins or themes for updating.
It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen. In such situations, you need to use one of the following solutions to fix the problem.
Fixing the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” WordPress Error
So now that you’ve got the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error, what do you do? Here are a couple of solutions.
Fix #1: Just Wait
Most of the time, you can fix this problem by just waiting for a few minutes and trying again. If there’s nothing wrong with your WordPress installation, then there’s obviously another update in progress. Perhaps it’s taking a bit longer than usual, your web host or your server’s internet connection is slow, or there’s some heavy processing going on. Normally, updates are quite fast, but just to rule out anything weird, give it some time to complete. It’s the easiest solution and often works without any further intervention.
If it works, great! If not, it’s time to try something a bit more drastic.
Fix #2: Manually Fix the WordPress Database Lock
If the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error persists and doesn’t disappear after waiting for a while, it’s time to take more direct measures. The fact that the error is persisting, means that there aren’t any more updates, and the system has glitched. To manually fix this, we’re going to manually release the WordPress database lock by tinkering with the WordPress database tables.
How does the Database Lock Work?
When WordPress initiates an update, it creates an entry in the wp_options table of the WordPress database. When a plugin, theme, or WordPress update initiates an update process of its own, it queries the wp_options table to see if an existing entry exists. If not, it creates one and then releases the lock once it’s done.
If for whatever reason, an update doesn’t release this lock, then every future update will think that another update is still in progress. So all we have to do is to manually release this lock. To do this, first log into your cPanel web hosting dashboard, and select the “phpMyAdmin” icon as shown here:
This will bring up a list of all databases on your installation. If you have more than one WordPress installation, each will have its own database. You need to find the correct database corresponding to the installation facing the error. You can do this either by looking at familiar plugin names that the installation in question contains, or you can check the wp-config.php file for the exact database that it uses.
When you find the right database, click the plus (+) sign next to it to expand it and get a list of all the tables. Find the one ending with “_options”. A default WordPress options table is called “wp_options”, but various hosts and software installations change it to something else in the process of hardening the database. So just search for the “_options” prefix, and you’ll have the right one.
Now in the search bar over the table in the right-hand pane, search for the following:
This is the name of the value in the “option_name” column that you need to find. If a process has locked your database generating the “Another Update Is Currently In Progress” error, then this is the entry that’s causing your problems. Click the “Delete” button next to the entry, and you’re done! Now the database lock is gone and you can proceed with your update.
Caution: Take a Backup Before Manually Fixing This Error!
Be warned that fooling around with the WordPress database can cause things to go badly wrong. So it’s always a good idea to back up your database before starting any operations. On NameHero, you can easily take on-demand backups of your files and databases and restore them afterward without opening a ticket. And best of all, it’s free! Unlike other web hosts that charge for backups and restores, NameHero gives you a generous backup quota for precisely situations like this.
Hopefully this solves the error message and you don’t run annoying into this annoying error message again but as we stated at the beginning, it is one of the most common WordPress errors after all.
It’s always good to “walk backwards” after hitting the error message and figure out if selecting multiple updates at once or being impatient caused this error so you can avoid the chance of it happening again. The reality is you should always complete the WordPress core updates and plugin updates to prevent bigger security issues even if there’s a small risk of having to deal with this on your WordPress site again.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
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