WordPress “Installation failed: -1” issue – How to solve it?

WordPress "Installation failed: -1" issue - How to solve it?

Recently a lot of WordPress websites have been showing this issue of “Installation failed: -1”. But being the latest and having syndromes on some websites under the radar, caused it to be a WP codex issue.

Some people also thought it to be a hosting issue as we all use different hosting services from various different hosting providers across the globe based on our ease. But turns out it wasn’t and the problem was somewhere else.

WordPress is open-source, well it does have two variants. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two distinct versions of the same open-source content management system (CMS).

While they share many of the same features and capabilities, they differ in terms of hosting, control, and cost.

WordPress or WordPress

WordPress.com is a SaaS platform running the same system architecture and code base, but offers a fully jampacked solution, giving website owners more relief about their site to focus on other kinds of stuff, while taking care of security, runtime/uptime, and optimized speed to name a few.

In professional words, WordPress.com is a hosted solution managed by Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, you don’t need to worry about hosting or maintenance, and you get access to a suite of tools and features to help you build and manage your website.

However, you don’t have full control over the code or hosting, and you’ll need to pay for additional features or upgrades.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the self-hosted version of WordPress. With this version, you’ll need to find a host and handle the maintenance and security of your website yourself.

However, you’ll have full control over the code, and you can add any plugins or themes you want without any restrictions. Additionally, WordPress.org is completely free to use.

About “Installation failed: -1 Issue”

The WordPress issue seemed to have been appearing since mid-February of 2023. As said earlier, a lot of sites have been hampered by this issue.

The “Installation failed: -1” issue is a plugin issue that has been found in WordPress websites. This issue can cause a number of problems, including preventing websites from automatically updating to the latest versions of installed themes and plugins, as well as preventing new installations of themes and plugins on the site. It also stops the WordPress versions from being updated to the latest versions

Every time a plugin or theme is attempted to be updated by the user, the page loads as usual in the same way while updating any plugins or themes. However, after the page has loaded, a message appears saying “Installation failed: -1”. This error message indicates that there is a problem with the installation and that the plugin or theme cannot be updated.

Normally in case of any update failure gives a raw callback with a bunch of WordPress log lines with a red background color floating notification, which if you are a developer who knows how to code can easily understand simply by reading or viewing the log lines or the checking WordPress log file of your website, found in the “/wp content” inside the root folder.

If you try to force update a WordPress plugin or theme by trying multiple times despite getting errors every time, your website is subjected to get to maintenance mode. In this case, your website will not be available to the public, don’t mistake it for a regular 404 error.

Your website will not be down, but rather the contents will go missing from the front end and show with a message that “this website is currently under maintenance mode” with an image depending on the theme that was active or in most cases the default WP Maintenance mode.

Oh! Did you know it is one of the common WordPress errors? You can read here how to fix WordPress Maintenance mode

Back to the issue,

When this issue occurs, the page will typically load as usual when a user tries to update a plugin or theme. However, after the page loads, a message reading “Installation failed: -1” will appear meaning the update failed and an error occurred behind the scene.

Everything will be working fine apart from updates. This can be very frustrating and is often difficult to resolve.

WordPress Update to fix “Installation failed: -1 Issue”

Well, at this point, may sound very unnecessary to update, as some users tend to update after 2 versions for a theme or plugin or even in the case of WordPress Core itself.

The point they try to make is “being very latest makes the website vulnerable to bugs left within the plugin or theme”, While this might be true for some cases, if not for all.

The fact to be clear is that every update happens for a reason, mostly because of security factors to keep the website safe from a hack or cyber attacks, and secondly, for new features that the users have demanded and are tempted for.

What actually caused the issue of “Installation failed: -1 Issue”?

An update failure is a common issue and can happen for a lot of reasons. An internet connection failure, network too weak, max CPU usage, incorrect file permissions, HTTP request error, max_execution_time limit error, and much more.

Sometimes WordPress files and the codes may have some issues that prevent the plugins to work properly, which happened with Woocommerce, causing them to roll out a new version within 72 hours.

The actual issue was with the plugin Starter Templates by Brainstorm Force. With over 240+ pre-built website templates, it is one of the largest WordPress Website Templates plugins.

It is also made with Elementor, the most loved & most used Page Builder for WordPress. It is one of the most popular plugins in the world, with over 5+ million active users.

At the time of writing Starter Templates by Brainstorm Force.has over 1+ million active installs and works in 13 different languages. The recent update of the plugin caused it to conflict with the update system of the WordPress site.

WordPress Update Issue Fix for “Installation failed: -1 Issue”

There are a few ways you can fix this issue. Now, you may ask “the issue is with the plugin code, what can I do about it?” There are a few things you can do & you should do. Below are the tasks listed in these steps:

  • Take Backup of your WordPress Site
  • Deactivate Starter Templates plugin
  • Check if other plugins work finely
  • Delete the plugin Starter Templates
  • Clear Cache (if any caching plugin used)
  • Clear DB cache (if any caching plugin used)
  • Re-install WordPress latest version (from WP update page) – no means mandatory

Take Backup of your WordPress Site

Backing up your WordPress site is an important step to take before attempting to solve the WordPress issue. Not only will a backup provide you with peace of mind that your data is secure in the event of a failed installation, but it will also allow you to easily restore the site to its original state should something go wrong.

There are a variety of ways to take a backup of your WordPress site, such as using a plugin or manually downloading the files and database. Taking a backup also gives you the opportunity to review the files, media library and database before attempting to solve the WordPress “Installation failed: -1” issue.

Deactivate Starter Templates plugin

The Starter Templates plugin is a very useful tool for creating content quickly, however, if it is causing you issues with your WordPress installation, it is best to deactivate the plugin.

This can be done by navigating to the plugins tab in the WordPress admin menu, selecting the Starter Templates plugin, and selecting deactivate. This should help to resolve the WordPress “Installation failed: -1” issue.

Check if other plugins work finely

If your issue persists, it is important to investigate whether other plugins are causing the issue or confirm they are working perfectly without errors. Before trying to find a solution, it is best to check if other plugins are working properly.

This can be done by disabling all the plugins and activating them one by one to see if any of them are causing the issue. If disabling the plugins does not help, you may need to look for other solutions to solve the issue.

Clear Cache (if any caching plugin used)

If you are using a caching plugin on your WordPress site, clearing the cache can be a great way. Clearing the cache will help to ensure that any existing files that have been cached will be cleared out and replaced with the latest files.

This will help to ensure that any existing issues are resolved. To clear the cache, simply visit the settings page of your caching plugin and click on the “Clear Cache” button. Once the cache is cleared, you can try to install the plugin again and it may now work successfully.

Clear DB cache (if any caching plugin used)

If you are using a caching plugin on your WordPress website, it is essential to clear the database cache as this can help resolve the “Installation failed: -1” issue. A caching plugin stores a copy of your website’s content to speed up loading times, but if the stored data becomes outdated, it can cause problems such as the “Installation failed: -1” error.

To clear the cache, you should look for a “clear cache” or “purge cache” option in your caching plugin’s settings. If you cannot find it, look for instructions on the provider’s website. Once you have cleared the cache, try refreshing the page and see if the issue is resolved.

Re-install WordPress version (WP update page) – not mandatory

If the issue persists even after clearing the cache, the next step would be to re-install the latest version of WordPress. This is not a mandatory step but it is recommended to ensure the best user experience.

To do this, you just need to visit the WordPress update page, download the latest version and install it. This will replace the current version of WordPress on your site, so make sure to back up your website before proceeding with the installation.

That’s a wrap up, for our WordPress plugin update issue fix, more specifically for “Installation failed: -1” error. In conclusion, the “Installation failed -1” error isn’t a common issue among regular WordPress update issues, but can be easily fixed.

It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your WordPress installation is running smoothly, and that any errors are corrected quickly and easily.