Apologies for the site downtime

facepalmApologies for the downtime, it appears a plugin problem has caused my site to go down several times over the past two weeks (according to StatusCake my uptime is now 85%, which isn’t good).  So far I think I’ve narrowed it down to WordFence, but I can’t be sure until the site has been up and running successfully for at least a week.  If you did visit my site and got an error, my apologies, and once I have a confirmed cause I’ll post a blog entry so anyone else experiencing the same problem can learn from my mistakes!

For those who want to know why I think it’s the WordFence plugin, these are the ‘quick and dirty’ troubleshooting steps I took.

  1. Following the advice the support team at @Tsohost I renamed the plugins folder, this brought the site back up
  2. I then opened the plugins page, which disabled all the plugins as they pointed to invalid files
  3. I renamed the plugins folder back again, and re-activated the plugins one by one, refreshing the site dashboard and home page each time
  4. When I got to the WordFence plugin and activated it, it never returned to a ‘plugin activated page’ (I waited about 3 minutes)

I’ve now deleted the WordFence plugin and I’ll wait and see how it goes.  The access log shows multiple HTTP 500 error codes against various GET and POST commands, but it’s not clear which was the root cause.  I’ve asked Tsohost for the error log so I can see what the actual error is, and hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this asap.

Update

I’ve not confirmed this, but based on the behaviour (no similar problems since uninstalling WordFence) and the advice I had from my provider (who said the error I was seeing is most often caused by a security related plugin), I think WordFence was the culprit.  I’ve decided not to reinstall it unless there’s a good reason to do so (i.e. a security issue not dealt with by core WordPress code or one of already installed plugins).

Richard Bartlett

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