WordPress auto update has never worked properly for us and we’ve been forced to do them manually. After doing a bunch of manual updates to 3.1, I noticed 3.1.1 was available. I was not ready to manually update them all again and went in search of a fix.
Most forums contained awful solutions, like setting permissions to “777”, or increasing the max execution time, all things you’re not supposed to do. Some blog posts offered more reasonable solutions, like removing the “/wp-content/”upgrade folder. I finally stumbled across one that mentioned WordPress not working properly with Pure-FTPd, but their solution was to switch the FTP server to ProFTPd. They hinted that WordPress is trying to access incorrect paths via FTP, which was confirmed by looking at the FTP log.
I hoped that changing the FTP_BASE would fix the problem, but that didn’t help. Nor did clearing the upgrade folder, or the ill-advised increasing max_execution and memory_limit. Unwilling to switch the FTP server, I searched a little longer and finally found a real solution in the form of a plugin, FTP Upgrade Fix. Supposedly this fix will be included in WordPress 3.2, but why it hasn’t already is maddening.
Since installing the FTP Upgrade FIx plugin we’ve been able to update at least 6 blogs without any problem.