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I have a WP multisite that I am no longer able to run core updates via the admin dashboard. It used to work just fine back in the WP 4.* days, but stopped working the last couple of updates and the last time I updated to the version I am on now I had to do it manually by replacing the core files. I can update plugins and themes no problem, it's just core that gives me an error:

error messgae

I have checked and double checked all the file permissions and file ownership and everything looks good to me. All directories are 755, and files are 644 except for the wp-config file which is 640.

Right now I don't have access to the error logs on the server but am working on getting access.

Because the file permissions and ownership looks good, what else can I look at?

I can update the manual way, just prefer to use the GUI because of our workflow. Everything is in git, and we have a duplicated verification instance that we run updates on before doing the same thing on our main production environment, so to be honest its just easier and cleaner in our git to do this via the GUI.

As I said, core update used to work fine via the admin dashboard, and I haven't changed anything regarding permissions or ownership. I don't know if something changed on the server or not, but I don't think so.

I also looked through the similar posts on here and couldn't find anything that helped me solve this.

WP Version : 5.2.4
WPMU: Yes
MySQL Version : 5.7.29
WP Table Prefix : ****
PHP Version : 5.6.25
Session Save Path : tcp://****
WP URL: https://****
Server Name : ****
Cookie Domain : ****
CURL Library Present : Yes
Debug File Write Permissions : Not Writable

PHP Version : 5.6.25
PHP Memory Usage: 32.4 MB
PHP Memory Limit : 512M
PHP Max Upload Size : 64M
PHP Max Post Size : 64M
PHP Allow URL fopen : On
PHP Allow URL Include : Off
PHP Display Errors : Off
PHP Max Script Execution Time : 300 Seconds
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    Permissions is more than just a number. The owner and group of the folder matters too, and that's extremely specific to how your server is setup. The user your PHP process runs as needs to be able to write to that folder – Tom J Nowell May 7 at 16:58
  • Yes I mentioned that the ownership has been checked also and everything is good. – Jamie Edwards May 7 at 17:14
  • Have you confirmed that PHP is capable of writing to those directories? Ignoring the WP install, does a standalone PHP file that manually writes to a file in that folder succeed? I know you said everything is good, but if that were the case WP would be able to update core via admin. You need to confirm assumptions and do basic tests for ground truth to debug the issue. How did you check the ownership and group? And did you check it for the folder? Or did you check the subfolders and subfiles too? – Tom J Nowell May 7 at 21:08
  • Hi Tom, thanks for this. I SSH'd into the directory structure and ls -la to see the owner and group and its all the same for every folder, subfolder and file. (ftp apache) – Jamie Edwards May 8 at 17:22
  • hmmm does the user the PHP process run as have the ability to modify folders and files created by the ftp user? It sounds like WP is running fine the problem is the way your users and groups are configured and the assumptions being made. Have you tested that the PHP user can actually write to those folder using a standalone file like I suggested? TLDR: The user that your PHP process is running under does cannot make changes to those files as it does not have permission to do so. There is no generic WP based answer that will help here :/ – Tom J Nowell May 8 at 17:39

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