Over the weekend, WordPress developers Andrew Nacin and Dion Hulse released an official WordPress.org plugin that enables users to test their sites’ compatibility with the background updates feature, introduced in WordPress 3.7.
Background Update Tester is an official plugin, released under the WordPress.org account. It was created to help users diagnose problems that prevent WordPress from updating automatically. Once installed, a new menu is available at the Dashboard >> Update Tester screen. The plugin performs a test and displays results on this screen.
Here’s an example of the plugin in action on a site where background updates fail:
The plugin performs tests that will automatically answer the following questions for you:
- Can your site communicate with WordPress.org securely?
- Are there any version control systems detected?
- Does your site require FTP credentials to perform updates?
- Are your files writable by WordPress?
A non-technical user would have no idea how to answer these questions without the help of this plugin. As you can see in the example above, the tests found that WordPress was not able to edit files in the wp-admin folder and listed those files. This is something that’s easy enough to correct for a developer. If the user is less technically inclined, he can report the results of the test to his host to seek assistance for correcting the problem.
If you’ve run into issues while trying to get background updates, this plugin is the key to finding your site’s incompatibility.
Thankfully, most users won’t need this plugin, as a large majority of sites don’t have compatibility issues. If you’re eager to jump on the automatic updates train but have so far been prevented, install the Background Update Tester plugin to find out how to correct the problem.