Dead blog panic

Having carefully migrated my blog (Red Rocket Rising – thanks for asking!) and tweaked the styles, CSS, taxonomy and added some choice plug-ins what was I to do next? Answer, of course, start fiddling! One Sunday morning I added a few plug-ins and a security plug-in, fiddled with the settings then…

Dead Blog

Yes, suddenly I checked the blog and all I got was a simple screen with the words ‘an error has occurred’ [or something to that effect]. There I was, two years worth of blog. All gone!

Before you start I know all about best practice:

  • Have a sandpit / test blog
  • Don’t try new things on live
  • Back things up.

All good advice I have given myself. This Sunday morning, though, I was too mellow to do things properly as, after all, what could go wrong!

The Fix

After about 40 minutes anguish I eventually found a useful post on how to disable all your plug-ins and start again.

With ftp access, go in and rename the plugins directory (/wp-content/plugins). Try again, blog re-appears, rename back, plugins reappear and enable them one by one. Maybe don’t turn the security back on just yet!

If you look at the codex help page there is advice for other situations worth knowing, for example how to hide a theme that is playing up.

Once I did the rename I found all the content was fine! Panic over.

What happened?

The security plugin (Better WP Security) made lots of suggestions which I followed. This included getting rid of user #1 and blocking any address with more than a certain number of failed attempts in a short time. I made changes, then tried to use the WordPress app on my phone and tablet. Both had the wrong user id and needed to log in again. This tripped the ‘failed’ count as all my devices in the house go down the same internet connection and so appear to the server as a single user trying to hack the site!

The ‘error message’ was nothing of the sort, it was the plug-in saying ‘going away you sad hacking loser’. Needless to say I have not enable that again!

Lesson learned? I hope so!


About Tony Jones
Big Finish writer, reviewer and blogger, I'm interested in science fiction and Doctor Who. I review for CultBox, The Doctor Who Companion and others. I am also Lead Writer for Starburst Magazine, and write the occasional piece for Vortex, the BSFA critical magazine.

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