Repair a broken plugin after upgrading

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As we all know, updating your WordPress site is important. Not just the core, but also the installed plugins and theme’s. Usually this goes well. Sometimes it doesn’t. Plugins that fail to update properly can cause all kinds of problems. Mostly white screens, in either the front-end or the dashboard of your website. If it really was the upgrade that broke your site, this is how you can repair your plugin. Once we’re done, your website should be up and running again.

How the update process works

The WordPress updating process consists of a couple of steps that are being taken. Roughly it comes down to this: downloading and unpacking the actual update, removing the old version of the plugin, copying the new files into the correct directory, removing the downloaded files. If somewhere in this process something goes wrong, you end up with a broken website. Fixing this consists of performing the update manually, as I’ll show you below.

Finishing the update, manually

If it is the actual update that broke stuff, you should still be seeing some files inside the folder \wp-content\upgrade\. These files are the new version of your plugin, that got downloaded. Installing these is actually rather simple:

  • Navigate to your plugins folder. (default: \wp-content\plugins\.
  • Remove the entire directory that contains the broken plugin.
  • Navigate to the upgrade folder (\wp-content\upgrade).
  • Copy the directory of the plugin. This should have the same name as the one you just deleted.
  • Place this copy in your \wp-content\plugins folder
  • Verify that everything works as it should.
  • If everything is in working order again: delete the contents of the \wp-content\upgrade\ folder.