Case Study: Failed WordPress Update Due to Database Issues

This post is about symptoms that broke my install of WordPress and how I was able to get everything fixed.

This past Saturday I noticed some bizarre blog behavior. I was getting an email backup of this WordPress blog every minute for several days. Even after disabling the backup plugin, the email backups kept coming. So in a desperate attempt to do something, I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress.

Database upgrade required

After running the auto-install to the latest version, I got a screen telling saying “Database upgrade required”. When I pressed the button for that screen, I was told the Upgrade was complete. But it wasn’t. Clicking that button sent me back to the “Database upgrade required” screen. Endless loop.

Joe from ArtLung.com tipped me off to the post Solution for WordPress WP-Options Issue – Database Upgrade Required. Basically, the database version exists on both the install and as a field in the database and they need to be equal for things to run. The solution is to update the database field so they are equal.

UPDATE Fails on WordPress Database

Using HeidiSQL I executed an UPDATE command to fix everything.

UPDATE WP_Options SET option_value = ’19470′ WHERE option_name = ‘db_version’

No luck.

/* SQL Error (1142): UPDATE command denied to user ‘xxx’ for table ‘wp_options’ */

Now I was stumped, so I reached out to my host. They informed me my database was full.

Database Full

Turns out my WordPress database had filled up. It went from a few MBs to 50 MBs. How did that happen on less than 100 blog posts? Seems my Redirection plugin had created a log file of over 54,000 rows.  I attempted to delete the log file from the settings page, but it failed, so I did it from HeidiSQL. That dropped the database back down to under 3 MB. To prevent this from happening again, I found a setting for the plugin that truncates that log entries. I set it to 30 days.

All Is Well

Once the database had free space, UPDATE commands worked and the WordPress install went successfully. The endless backup problem was solved as well, once that plugin was able to update the database.

Hopefully, this post helps at least one other blogger.

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