Support » Fixing WordPress » “database needs to be updated” — catastrophic error

  • I went to visit my Admin dashboard, and got a message that WordPress has been upated and the database needs to be updated — click to update.

    I’d never seen anything like that before, but like a dummy I just clicked it.

    All the images on my homepage are gone, as are the menus.
    All the pages have been deleted, although the posts remain.
    All the plugins were disabled. Some (maybe all?) lost their settings.

    I can rebuild menus. But I don’t know what has happened. I use iThemes security with the recommended settings and keep it updated, and haven’t had any issues with malware previously.

    Anyone have any idea how something like this happened? Thanks for your help

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by quantaweb.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by quantaweb.

    The page I need help with: [log in to see the link]

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • If the content is truly gone, it’s a good time to restore from backup. You have a backup, don’t you? If not, your host should.

    Thread Starter quantaweb


    I do have a backup, and I did just restore it. However, I’m still trying to figure out how this happened.

    It is so strange. The content didn’t exactly disappear completely. But my pages were converted to posts, plugins deactivated, their settings were wiped, etc.

    The “WordPress has updated; you need to update your database” message is a mystery. Is that normal? I’ve built many websites with WordPress over the past 10 years, and keep everything updated. There were no pending updates before this happened.

    I’d like to know what went wrong here and what do do if I see such a warning in the future, as it is new to me.

    It could have been due to a theme update (or getting disabled), which would potentially “remove” pages if they were custom post types.

    Thread Starter quantaweb


    DesignSmoke, thanks for the suggestion. My pages were not custom post types. Just a contact page, about, etc.

    t-p, That’s interesting. I don’t usually get those sort of messages on my dashboard. And the message I got wasn’t on the dashboard — I couldn’t get to the dashboard until I clicked the link to update the database.

    It is very strange.

    Moderator t-p


    To what version your site got auto updated?

    WP only updates to minor versions by automatically, NOT to major versions.

    For example, Minor updates, like 4.9.7 to 4.9.8 are applied automatically; but Major updates, like 4.9.8 to 5.0 require manually clicking the update button in the Dashboard.

    @quantaweb I’ve experienced the update process that you are describing and it was not anything malicious, however I didn’t experience this catastropic error.

    I think your problem is an old, unmaintained plugin:

    [+] search-everything
    | Latest Version: 8.1.9 (up to date)
    | Last Updated: 2017-03-31T21:38:00.000Z

    “This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.”

    I’ve seen the database update message myself a few times. I’ve never had it crash my system though.

    Thankfully you had that backup but I’d think WordPress would be wanting you to update that database after the restore as that was a mirror of what you had previous to the update…

    I guess it’s possible the tables themselves and possibly the ‘engine’ used with those tables was changed and then the restore overwrote just the data but I’m kind of skeptical of that. Most database dumps I’ve looked at restore the tables as before then toss the data back in.

    Do make sure you have a new backup after making any corrections to the restored database, if you need to change anything at all, just in case WordPress asks for a new database update anytime soon.

    Thread Starter quantaweb


    Thanks, everyone, for your help! All is well now. I’ve also cleaned up the database (autoload options adjusted and tables left by old plugins removed) and now the site is working better than ever. Really appreciate your help.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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