If your WordPress site is returning an error message such as “Updating Failed” or “Publishing Failed” when you try to make changes, the results can be not only frustrating but can also prevent visitors from accessing what they need.

Fortunately, there are a few common causes and workarounds that can help you resolve this issue if you encounter it. With a little troubleshooting, you should be back to your regular posting schedule in no time.

In this article, we’ll discuss what causes the “Updating Failed” and “Publishing Failed” errors in WordPress. Then we’ll explain four ways you can fix or work around the problem, to get your content up for readers.

Let’s get to it!

Why WordPress Sometimes Fails to Update or Publish Content

The Block Editor has been around for a while now. It’s still being met with mixed reactions, however, and there are also new challenges and errors that WordPress users can face because of it.

One such issue is a message reading “Publishing Failed” in the WordPress editor:

wordpress updating failed and publishing failed error

Publishing Failed error in the Block Editor

This message may appear after you click on the blue Publish button, in an attempt to make your content live. A variation of this error is the “Updating Failed” message, which may show up when you attempt to make changes to a post or page that you’ve already published:

wordpress updating failed error

Updating Failed error in the Block Editor

As you can imagine, this problem can be an especially frustrating one for bloggers, as well as any site owner who finds themselves needing to update key information on their web pages.

There are a few different causes of the “Publishing Failed” error, but one in particular is linked to the Block Editor. The new WordPress editing interface relies on the REST API to create, save, and publish posts. In the event that something is blocking or disabling this process on your site, you won’t be able to launch new content.

If you’re a beginner or just a less-technical user, any mention of the REST API can seem intimidating. However, in this case, there’s no need to worry.

All you need to understand for the purposes of resolving the “Publishing Failed” error is that the REST API is how the Block Editor communicates with WordPress.

When this communication is broken or disabled, the Block Editor’s publishing functionality breaks. If that is what’s causing the error on your site, you’ll need to get the REST API working again in order to fix it.

How to Fix the WordPress Updating Failed and Publishing Failed Errors (In 4 Steps)

Once you understand why your WordPress content is failing to update or publish, resolving the problem becomes easier. Here are four steps you can take to go about fixing this problem on your site.

Step 1: Determine Whether the REST API Is Being Blocked

A common cause of the “Publishing Failed” error in WordPress (since the Block Editor was launched) is that the REST API is being blocked or disabled. If you’re seeing this message, a wise place to start troubleshooting is by testing the REST API to make sure it’s working.

You can do this directly in WordPress using the Site Health tool. To access it, navigate to Tools > Site Health:

access site health

Accessing the Site Health tool in WordPress.

Under the Status tab, WordPress will list any existing problems with your installation. If the REST API is being blocked, you’ll see the following message:

“The REST API encountered an unexpected result.

The REST API is one way WordPress and other applications communicate with the server. One example is the block editor screen, which relies on this to display and save your posts and pages.”

The Site Health tool will also display a specific error that is producing the ‘unexpected result’. This could be a “401 Not Authorized” response, an operation timeout, a “403 Cookie Nonce Is Invalid” message, or another error.

How you should go about resolving this problem and enabling the REST API again will depend somewhat on the error you see listed here.

Step 2: Re-Enable the REST API by Resolving the Specified Error

Ideally, the Site Health tool will provide some indication as to how you can re-enable the REST API on your WordPress site. Some common solutions include:

Plugins and firewall applications are the source of the problem most of the time, so it would be wise to start your troubleshooting attempts there.

Chances are, you’ll be able to find the tool that’s causing the “Publishing Failed” error in WordPress and disable it or change its settings to resolve the issue.

Step 3: Enable Debugging Mode to Search for Errors

If you can’t re-enable the REST API using one of the solutions listed in Step 2, you can try turning on WordPress’ debug mode. This feature is meant for temporary use as a troubleshooting tool.

When activated, the debug mode will log all PHP responses in a file named debug.log in your site’s wp-content directory. You can search this file for errors that may be preventing WordPress from connecting to the REST API, and therefore from publishing or updating posts.

To activate debug mode, add the following code to your wp-config.php file before the line that reads “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */”:

// Enable WP_DEBUG mode

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

// Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file

define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

Make sure to remove this code from wp-config.php once you’ve resolved the error.

As an alternative, Kinsta customers can access the error logs available in their MyKinsta dashboard.

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To access yours, log in to your MyKinsta and navigate to the Sites tab:

Sites tab in the MyKinsta dashboard

Sites tab in the MyKinsta dashboard.

Click on the name of the website experiencing the error in the resulting list. Then navigate to Logs and select error.log from the drop-down menu:

MyKinsta error log viewer

MyKinsta error log viewer

You should then see a list of any issues your WordPress site is currently experiencing.

Step 4: Install and Activate the Classic Editor Plugin as a Temporary Solution

In the unlikely event that the above steps are not helpful in resolving the “Publishing Failed” error in WordPress, you’ll likely need to seek support from one of the following sources:

While you work with a relevant support provider to resolve the “Publishing Failed” error, you may wish to install the Classic Editor plugin as a temporary workaround:

classic editor plugin

Classic Editor plugin

Since the TinyMCE editor does not require the use of the REST API to publish or update posts, you should be able to make the necessary changes to your content with it.

However, this is only a stopgap measure. You’ll still want to resolve the root cause of the error in the Block Editor and then re-enable it.

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Summary

Not being able to publish or update your WordPress site’s content can be a serious problem. Fortunately, there are a few common causes of these errors that you can quickly troubleshoot to put things back in order.

If you’re receiving an “Updating Failed” or “Publishing Failed” message in the WordPress Block Editor, try:

  1. Determining whether the REST API is being blocked.
  2. Re-enabling the REST API by resolving the specified error.
  3. Enabling debugging mode to search for errors.
  4. Installing and activating the Classic Editor plugin as a temporary solution.

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