502 Error after Latest Update - LocalWP deletes all folders in sites

What issue or error are you experiencing?

After updating to the latest version of Local 7.1.0 I noticed that I was getting the infamous 502 error again. Upon inspection I discovered that LocalWP deleted all my folders except one.

Through researching in the forum I can see that @Nick-B has asked questions and done his best to try to figure this out. And he does a great job responding quickly to posts.

I’m not happy with how WPEngine is treating customers / potential customers. I’m posting this so that others can see – NO, it’s not just them. MANY others have had weeks to months of their data and website work deleted by WPEngine also.

Why hasn’t this been resolved yet? As a dev I know how hard it can be to track down weird bugs. But, I’m just one guy – you have a whole team of people who could work together and figure this out if WPEngine thought that it was important not to delete customer data. It should be easy enough for the developer team to identify what part of their code overwrites or deletes stuff. If it was me, I’d start there.


Yes, I am aware that WPEngine offers free cloud backup, but that’s not a great consolation prize and personally, I try my best NOT to land my files up on somebody else’s computer (cloud) when avoidable.

One might say “Well, it’s a free product - you get what you pay for”. But, other free similar software like WampServer and XAMPP don’t randomly delete user folders / complete websites during installs and updates, so that’s a poor and responsibility-shirking reply.

I don’t think it is unreasonble for customers/users to feel that there needs to be greater accountability around this data destruction issue. The Backup a Local Site - Local article @sambrockway shared My website is gone - #5 by sambrockway a few days ago could be helpful to some. But, it doesn’t recover anyone’s work.

User @MTN-Studio summed very succinctly 2 years ago the experience I’m having today:

This also happened the last time I updated LocalWP which is why I’ve been putting it off for so long. Ideally I would love to just know why it might be happening so I can avoid it happening in the future as it’s a little disheartening to know I need to spend a few hours taking backups then restoring them just to update.

I’m sure many would agree it would feel better to have WPEngine finally admit that their software is indeed the culprit deleting people’s stuff. When it happened to me, no other updates took place – not drivers, not windows – and no other software had been installed. Things were working one minute then I updated then all my sites were gone.

Related Reports by Users:

Here are other tickets I’ve located that seem to be reference this same issue of inappropriate data/file deletion during recommended LocalWP version updates.

Possibly Related:


What steps can be taken to replicate the issue? Feel free to include screenshots, videos, etc

The same steps I thoroughly detailed here: Sites not working after latest update to Local 7.0.2 - 502 Request Error - WP version not detected

System Details

  • Local Version:
  • previously 7.0.2+6395, updated to 7.1.0
  • Operating System (OS) and OS version:
  • Windows 10 64-bit

Local Logs

Attach your Local Logs here (Help Doc - Retrieving Local’s Log)
local-lightning.log (165.8 KB)

Security Reminder
Local does a pretty good job of scrubbing private info from the logs and the errors it produces, however there’s always the possibility that something private can come through. Because these are public forums, always review the screenshots you are sharing to make sure there isn’t private info like passwords being displayed.


Hi @CodeSlayer2010 - thanks for the detailed post!

Can you expand here - which folder is the only one remaining? Which folders are missing?

We certainly think it is important to ensure users’ sites are safe during a Local upgrade. The engineering team will review this again this morning and dig in to better understand what could cause this behavior.

Hi @austinwendt, thank you for your reply!

The one folder that was left in there was the last website I worked on. So, if I had to guess, I would look at something like:

  • Does LocalWP save a session variable?
  • Is the current/last site worked on explicitly or implicitly stored in a session variable or local storage?

The one site folder that was left was missing most of the files also and was inoperable.

So, at minimum, something in the code must be purposely (and mistakenly) traversing my last site folder and deleting files. That would be my best guess. I hope that gives the dev team enough to go on. I don’t know this code base and can’t find the core software code on Flywheel · GitHub, otherwise I’d try looking into it myself.

A few more points about my system:

  • I the only antimalware software I have is the default Windows Defender and it’s set on basic settings. Never had a problem with it preventing or interfering with legit operations. I only mention this because it is definitely a consideration that I’m well aware of from the days of Norton Antivirus and more recently WordFence plugin.

  • Windows 10 64-bit

I’m not sure I understand - “the last site you worked on” meaning the site inside your Local Sites directory? See my screenshot. Or is your Local Sites folder gone? What does that directory look like for you?

I completely deleted and removed the software and although I’m known for taking meticulous screenshots, my emotions got the better of me and the stress I felt over having months of work destroyed a SECOND time during a normal and common process (updating).

However, yes by “last site [I] worked on” I mean of the four sites (subfolders) in my sites/ folder, only one of them was left.

To make it perfectly clear, here is a “reenactment” (using 3 sites instead of 4 for simplicity) of what my sites folder looked like before the update:


And this is what it looked like immediately after:


I trust these illustrations have cleared everything up.

PS: By your screenshot it appears that on Mac the folder is called Local Sites, but on Windows it is just called sites.

Also, here’s something I just realized that could make a difference when you are troubleshooting. I have my sites folder on an external SSD.

Same here upgrading to 7.0.2+6395 all my wordpress folders were blank of all the installation contents in after the update I think its was just app/public and that folder was empty. I have rebuilt the site again took a couple of days but its asking to update again and I don’t trust it. Thinking a blueprint might be the way to backup site before the upgrade. I’m using a custom folder to locate the site root.

The way it stores files all over the computer is also a pain you need to just designate a root folder and it uses that for everything and nothing on C:/appData/Roaming which is unfortunately filling up with junk as all the apps use it rather than their installation folders.

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Just updated to 7.1…0 and all the folders deleted again the app folder is totally missing my old ghost sites are showing but the open site folder errors as it’s gone as a folder and starting the site does nothing as its empty. Will now see if I can restore a blueprint.

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Stopped using local.
Cant do this waste of time
a great app ruined!

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@austinwendt Given the details I provided, have you had any progress in resolving this issue yet?

Hi @CodeSlayer2010 and @drkanukie! Austin is out today but I just wanted to respond quickly and let you know that this did get escalated to the Dev team and they have been looking into it. Thank you for all your patience and communication with us!

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Hey @CodeSlayer2010 - and thanks to Nick for jumping in while I was out :slight_smile:

Like Nick said, the dev team stopped work on other projects and dove into this last week - and are still digging today.

Maybe a mix of good news/bad news - we haven’t found any smoking guns or anything that would lead us to believe Local has access to modify or delete these files during an upgrade process. Good that we don’t see that, bad that I don’t have a better answer (yet) on what might have happened to you above.

We’ll keep digging here, and we’ll add overly-safe measures to ensure all files are backed up and saved in some form of a /tmp state during an update if we have to… but hopefully there’s a better answer. Either way, we’re on it.


Hey @CodeSlayer2010 and @drkanukie , Thanks for your patience with this! We’re having trouble replicating things on our end, but we’d love to get some more detailed information about what’s happening to Local on your computer!

In order to get that detailed information, can you do two things?

  1. Enable Error Reporting by navigating to “Preferences > Advanced” and turning that setting on. That should give us a little more context around what Local was doing when it encounters any errors.

  1. Can you get us a copy of the “Verbose” log? Basically, Local provides a stripped down version of the Log to reduce the amount of informational data that gets logged. In our case, we want the Verbose log. You can get that by clicking “Help > Reveal Local’s Log” and then zipping up the various verbose logs for us to look at.

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Hey @austinwendt - Thanks for following up. Intermittent issue and edge cases are the worst to troubleshoot, I know. I think storing all files in a /tmp state during updates is a great idea.

Hey @Nick-B! Sorry, for the late reply. I had to abandon working on Local completely so I could focus on my employer. Ironically, I’m helping them migrate to WPEngine hosting. lol. I really would like for this issue to be figured out and I appreciate your quick reply to tell me the dev team is on it.

BTW: Is there a bug ID or public GitHub / ticket number I can use to monitor the issue progress?

Hi @ben.turner! Sorry, I’ve been busy with work and just saw this.

Based on the comments from you and your colleagues I will install Local and give it another try. However, as I mentioned previously, in my case I deleted the entire software after several unsatisfactory replies from support. So I don’t have access to those logs or anything. Everything I had I posted already.

I am encouraged that the dev team is pursuing this issue and will be happy to help in testing.

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Hey @CodeSlayer2010 - no public bug IDs, though it is linked to our internal Jira and bug tracking so that we tie back updates back to this thread. As far as public tracking, this thread is what we’ll use to communicate!

On that front… we still have not had any luck reproducing, and our audit of the upgrade logic hasn’t led to any clues as to what could cause this. We’ll have to evaluate those seemingly “unnecessary” safeguards as a way to prevent this kind of behavior.

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@austinwendt @ben.turner @Nick-B: QUICK UPDATE:

I had some time today and decided to give LocalWP another shot. I downloaded and installed version 7.1.2+6410.

One interesting thing right off the bat. I was able to spin up a new wordpress site just fine. However, there are ghost listings in the “Local sites” sidebar. All the sites I had before are listed, but of course none of them work. When I go to the “sites” folder, only one of the root folders for the old sites that the previous update deleted was there. As mentioned, that folder is missing crucial files so that site doesn’t work and can’t work. That’s just a quick review.

The question I have is – where are these “ghost site listing” coming from? I figure I can probably right-click and do a delete to remove the listings. But, why is old stuff showing up even though I uninstalled LocalWP months ago?


Local has a settings folder which is useful in case you want to keep various things around across installations. This could be the raw site data, or cached WP versions etc.

It sounds like you removed the site files and the Local app, but not the configuration folder. For more details about these three parts, see our uninstall doc:

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Thanks Ben! This bit is what I was missing:

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