Common installation and update errors

Premium updates require an active subscription. If the subscription is not active, please check for common activation issues.

In rare cases, you will receive an error message when installing or updating Yoast SEO for WordPress. Below, we list the errors that you may encounter. 

If you can’t cope with your SEO work anymore, consider Yoast SEO Premium. Tasks that would normally take a lot of time and cause the same amount of frustration, become manageable again with tools for redirects and internal links. Check this page to see whether Yoast SEO Premium fits your needs.

Error: Could not create directory or folder

This error appears when your server does not have the correct permission set on one or more of the files or folders listed after the error. 

Please make sure that the full path, including any files and folders, is writeable. You can do that over FTP.

If you don’t know how to check or change permissions, please contact your web host for assistance.

Windows Server
In some cases, a Windows server will display this error due to a filename character limit or other server limitations. If you receive this error on a Windows server, please manually install the plugin.

Error: Destination folder already exists

This error can occur if you already have the plugin installed, or if you have renamed the wp-content folder of the plugin. In rare cases, something may go wrong during the installation process, which causes the folder to be created, but its files are missing or corrupt. 

If you are running WordPress 5.5 or higher, you should see the option to automatically overwrite the existing installation with the uploaded ZIP file. Choose to overwrite the current version with the uploaded version. If you are running an older WordPress version, you can either upgrade to the latest WordPress version or manually delete the plugin directory first and then upload it again through your WordPress dashboard.

Error: Uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini.

This error appears when your web host or server limits the upload file size.

In order to fix the error, you’ll need to increase the uploaded maximum file size limit by reaching out to your web hosting provider.

If you’re familiar with server management, you can change the upload_max_filesize value directly from the php.ini file. You can read more about it in this guide. The other option is to manually install the plugin using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Learn how to do that in this guide: Manually update/install the premium plugin.

Fatal error: Allowed memory exhausted

The full text of this error is: 

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of #### bytes exhausted (tried to allocate #### bytes) in /PATH_TO_WORDPRESS/wp-content/PATH_TO_PROBLEM/FILE.php on line ###

The plugin or theme causing the error is usually found after the /wp-content/ part of the error.

The error occurs when your server runs out of memory to complete the task at hand. 

Increasing the memory or decreasing the number of tasks will fix the issue.

To increase the server’s memory, use these steps: 

  1. Add this line to your wp-config.php file:
    define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');
  2. Change this line in your server’s PHP.ini file:
    memory_limit = 256M;
  3. Add this to your .htaccess file:
    php_value memory_limit 256M 

You can also always contact your host and ask for assistance in increasing the server memory. 

To decrease the number of tasks, use these steps: 

  1. Deactivate and remove plugins you no longer use. That may free up the right amount of memory needed to complete the tasks.
  2. Reduce the number of tasks running at once or temporarily deactivate non-critical plugins.

Error: Download failed. server certificate verification failed

The full text of the error reads: 

Download failed. server certificate verification failed. CAfile: [Path_to_Certificate] CRLfile: none

Your website doesn’t recognize the SSL certificate on

You need to contact your web host and ask them to add our certificate to their list of trusted certificates. Once they do that, you will again have access to automatic updates. In the meantime, please manually update your plugin using the steps found here: How can I manually update my premium plugin.

cURL errors

When you are updating the plugin, you may get one of the following errors: 

Download failed. SSL: certificate subject name ‘*’ does not match target host name ‘’

Request error: “cURL error 35: error:1407742E:SSL routines:SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:tlsv1 alert protocol version”

Download failed. cURL error 51: SSL: no alternative certificate subject name matches target host name ‘’

Request error: “cURL error 35: Peer reports incompatible or unsupported protocol version.”

Request error: “cURL error 35: SSL connect error

To receive update notifications for premium plugins, your host must meet our plugin requirements. The errors above indicate that the server you’re hosted on uses an old version of cURL, TLS and / or OpenSSL, the library used to connect to other servers. When you send an update request to our servers, we do that over a secure connection. The reason behind that is that the request contains information about your site as well as your license key.

All our connections run through Sucuri’s Website Application Firewall, which keeps us safe from so-called DDOS attacks. To be able to do that, we use a system called Server Name Indication (SNI). Every browser after IE6 supports this, and every major CURL version released after March 2008 supports this. Unfortunately, it seems your server is using software older than that.

Since this is a problem on your host’s side, you will need to contact them and report the issue. Meanwhile, please manually update your plugin using the steps found here: How can I manually update my premium plugin.

What to do if your host doesn’t want to fix the issue?|
Using old software is a security threat. If your host refuses to solve the issue, it is advisable to look for a new one. If you need help in choosing a new host, you can find a list of trusted hosts here. We checked all the common issues with Yoast SEO and other plugins and made sure the hosts in the list prevent them. 

Fatal error: Cannot instantiate abstract class WPSEO_Redirect_Manager

The full text of the error appears like this:

Fatal error: Cannot instantiate abstract class WPSEO_Redirect_Manager in /PATH_TO_WORDPRESS/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-seo-premium/PATH_TO/FILE.php on line ##

This error occurs when previously entered redirects fail to update to the new format or when the update is not applied due to a cache conflict, particularly when using Opcode cache.

There are a few steps you need to take to solve this issue:

  • Firstly, if you are not running the latest version of Yoast SEO, please update as soon as possible. How To Guide Available Here
  • Please, clear all of your cache tools and recheck for the error. It’s possible that it could be hung up in server-level cache, especially Opcode cache. So, please ask your web host to clear any server cache modules, as well. In rare cases, you may need to disable your cache plugin for a short period of time until the error no longer displays.
  • If all else fails, deactivate Yoast SEO Premium. Then, temporarily install and activate Yoast SEO (free), and delete Yoast SEO Premium. Once the error no longer displays (may take up to a couple of minutes), install a new copy of Yoast SEO Premium.
  • Please empty the transient cache for the wpseo_premium_version option in your WordPress dashboard to trigger our redirect upgrade routine to run again. To empty this cache, you can use a Transients Manager. There are several available in the WordPress plugin repository.

White screen

A white screen happens when plugins and/or themes conflict during the activation of a plugin or theme. 

To solve this issue, follow the steps in this article.

Related articles

Get free SEO tips!