Fixed: “Cheatin’ Uh?” WordPress auto upgrade problem

July 9th, 2011 by Kat Kingsley-Hughes

Some time ago (I don’t actually know when) I ceased to be the admin of this website. In fact for the longest while the site has had no proper admin at all. Even though I have admin status I lost all ability to carry out certain admin functions (such as viewing, adding or deleting users, upgrading WordPress, and  exporting the blog etc). Any attempt to view the user settings was met with the response “Cheatin’ uh?” which has to be worthy of a prize as one of the most useless error messages.

wordpress cheatin' uh? error messageBoth the cause of the problem and the solution evaded me for a long-time. Many people have tried and failed to find a solution on the WordPress forums (which let’s face it are frustrating places to look for help at the best of times) but eventually persistance paid off. The solution – for my problem at least – was found here thanks to ywamer.

To start I logged into phpMyAdmin and made a backup of my database – just in case.

Next I went into WordPress settings and made a note of all the options on each page under Settings. These will need to be recreated manually when the fix is complete.

Next step was exporting my database (excluding the troublesome wp_options table – just leave that one unchecked). Save the .sql file onto your computer.

Once I had safely downloaded my data as well as making a note of all my settings, I then dropped all those tables that related to the WordPress install that had the problem. This option is slightly different to Ywamer’s solution because he suggested deleting the database altogether – I couldn’t do this because I use the same database for my Alien of the Day artwork too. (If your database only contains tables for your WordPress install then you can safely delete the entire database – although you will have to recreate it – but if you have any other installs utilizing that database you will need to only drop the tables for your WordPress install.)

Once the tables were dropped I opened the website in my browser and was faced by the WordPress install screen. After typing in the name, usernames, passwords etc that it asked for, it proceeded to install a new WordPress and recreate the default tables in the database.

With that step complete, I now selected those tables again EXCEPT for the wp_options table and dropped them.

Basically at that point wp_options is the only table left.

You can then import the .sql file that you downloaded earlier. With those tables imported and the wp_options table from the new install you should have a complete set of WordPress tables in your database.

Going back into your WordPress in your browser should find everything as it should be – your posts as they were together with a functioning Users menu, export options and Auto Upgrade option.

Apart from a few tweaks (reapplying my site’s theme, reactivating plugins, reentering the Akismet API key, and double-checking my settings) my site was back to normal – except that now I am a proper admin with proper admin powers again! 🙂

Upgrading the site (to WordPress version 3.2) was then exceedingly simple as I now had the automatic upgrade option, rather than “Please Notify the system administrator”. (Previously the only way I could upgrade every time was to use FTP to delete every file in the root, wp-admin and wp-includes folders and then upload the new WordPress files manually.)

Hope this helps! If you have any questions please either leave a comment below or reply via the feedback form and I will do my best to help/explain.


Post Script:
One problem with WordPress 3.2 is that you need to be running MySQL 5.0. For many Media Temple users this required a support ticket to upgrade MySQL before the WordPress update could go ahead. Once that was done it was a normal upgrade for all my WordPress sites. Note: You may need to upgrade to PHP 5.2.4 too if you are not running it already. 🙂

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 9th, 2011 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Web, Web Dev, Wordpress. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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