Always An Adventure

If you came here earlier and noticed that the place had halfway fallen over, that should be fixed now. And for the benefit of anyone else running a WordPress website and also having problems at the moment, here is basically what happened just in case it might help.

I woke up this morning to a pretty good number of WordPress updates. Themes, some plugins, WordPress itself. Normally I can run all of those without any of you noticing anything, and I thought that would be the case today since the front page looked fine when I was done. But just to be diligent, I clicked on an individual post to see if anything had changed. Uh-oh. Changed it had, and not for the better.

Again, if all you did was come to the front page, read what was new to you and leave, you would have been none the wiser. But if you got here through a search engine or a link someone shared with you, you would have immediately figured out that all was not well. You would have seen the top of the site, the title of whatever post you wanted to check out, its author, its publication date and its number of comments. But where the post should have been, you were greeted by some text about a critical error. Below that was an advertisement assuming you’re not one of the ones who blocks those, and nothing else. No post, no comment form, no search box, no recent posts or comments or archives. Just…nothing.

Solving it was thankfully pretty easy. All I had to do was one of the first things you should always do in WordPress when something suddenly isn’t right. Bulk deactivate all of your plugins and then reactivate them one at a time. If you don’t know how to do that, you should now. Remember to load up a page on your site each time you re-enable a plugin. When things stop working properly, you’ve got your man.

Doing this, I was able to trace the issue to version 19.9 of the Yoast SEO plugin, which interestingly enough wasn’t on the list of things that needed updating today. I’m not sure what it’s conflicting with, but unless this is an issue 100% unique to us (possible but doubtful since it’s used on millions of sites), I imagine the Yoast folks are already working on a fix. Until that fix appears, disabling it should be enough to get you back up and running. Some of you might not be happy with the short-term hit to your traffic, but as someone who’s been down that road once or twice, trust me, it’s better than a zillion people thinking your site is broken and unreliable forever.

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