WordPress Recovery Kit

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Email subject: [Site Name] Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue

Have you ever been spooked to receive an email from your own WordPress site with subject line, “[Name of Your Site] Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue” and, quite reasonably, spiraled into a panic? Is this phishing? Was my site hacked? If I click the link, and I exposing myself to xss or some authenticated link attack?

To be safe, you visit your website in a new, Incognito browser to be sure you are in a safe sandbox… and then:

Great. GREAT. This is not how I wanted to start my morning — I had planned to sit some coffee, catch up on a few emails, and then hammer down my long list of TODOs. I do not have time for this right now! Let me just call https://recovery-kit.com/ and get it taken care of!

Wait — not so fast! You did the right thing by panicking. Panic stimulates cortisol, our “fight or flight” hormone which puts our brain into hyper-focus “FIX IT” mode. Ok — calm the breathing.. You’ve confirmed that the email From: is from your website and not a foreign banker or Legit-Looking-Business@gmail.com or Xyz-So-Cryptic@aol.com . And the solution is right there in that email:

WordPress has a built-in feature that detects when a plugin or theme causes a fatal error on your site, and notifies you with this automated email.

In this case, WordPress caught an error with one of your plugins, WP fail2ban.

Look at that! It even pointed out exactly which plugin had the error! Let’s read on…

First, visit your website (https://example.com/), and check for any visible issues.

That’s easy enough — and you already did that, bc you panicked at the top, remember? But it could be that the error only shows on some specific page(s). Keep sipping as you keep reading…

Next, visit the page where the error was caught (https://example.com/wp-login.php) and check for any visible issues.

This is the specific page where this issue was detected: Your site is not visiting itself, but if a website visitor, site stats, or some internal process is visiting a given page which experiences the issue, then this email notification routine will be triggered, and that page will be recorded here. Ok, good to know, moving on…

Please contact your host for assistance with investigating this issue further.

Yeah. Thanks, pal. Reading on…

If your site appears broken and you can't access your dashboard normally, WordPress now has a special "recovery mode". This lets you safely login to your dashboard and investigate further.

https://example.com/wp-login.php?action=enter_recovery_mode&rm_token=...&rm_key=...

Lots of token-looking garble there, but this is a legitimate, safe link. Don’t share it with anyone (unless you need outside help like https://recovery-kit.com to give assistance, in which case just forward the whole email once you’ve established trusted contact). This link lets you enter WordPress “Recovery Mode:” Because WordPress is a single platform with a lot of business going on under the hood, a bug in any of its plugins or themes could very easily interrupt normal operations and “take down” your site until the bug is fixed. When in “Recovery Mode” (what other software might call “Safe Mode”) runs barebones WordPress with plugins disabled so that they would not interfere with normal WordPress operations enough to help you as site admin to regain control and recover from any issues.

So you’ve clicked and successfully entered WordPress Recovery Mode. From here, you will again be prompted what the best course of action is: Just read and follow the prompts. In this case (wp-fail2ban) we see that the WP Fail2Ban plugin has an update available: Update it! 🙂 Then, once you bring your site out of Recovery Mode, you spot-check and confirm everything is running normally again! You’re a GENIUS. Enjoy the rest of your coffee and try to calm down to get back to those exciting tasks on your morning TODO list!

To keep your site safe, this link will expire in 1 day. Don't worry about that, though: a new link will be emailed to you if the error occurs again after it expires.

Sensible security measures. 👍 Thanks, WordPress. 🙏 The rest of the email is just additional detail confirming the module (wp-fail2ban in this case) that might be helpful to a technician diagnosing your issue. But you’ve already clicked through and possibly even recovered your own website! w00t! If you did not . . . Give us a shout https://recovery-kit.com/ and we’ll help you out!

When seeking help with this issue, you may be asked for some of the following information:
WordPress version 6.4.2
Active theme: Zakra (version 3.0.6)
Current plugin: WP fail2ban (version 5.2.2)
PHP version 8.0.28

Error Details
=============
An error of type E_ERROR was caused in line 22 of the file /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/vendor/freemius/wordpress-sdk/require.php. Error message: Uncaught Error: Failed opening required '/var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/vendor/freemius/wordpress-sdk/includes/class-fs-garbage-collector.php' (include_path='.:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/vendor/freemius/wordpress-sdk/require.php:22
Stack trace:
#0 /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/vendor/freemius/wordpress-sdk/start.php(514): require_once()
#1 /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/freemius.php(39): require_once('...')
#2 /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/freemius.php(67): org\lecklider\charles\wordpress\wp_fail2ban\wf_fs()
#3 /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-fail2ban/wp-fail2ban.php(55): require_once('...')
#4 /var/www/html/wp-settings.php(473): include_once('...')
#5 /var/www/html/wp-config.php(96): require_once('...')
#6 /var/www/html/wp-load.php(50): require_once('...')
#7 /var/www/html/wp-login.php(12): require('...')
#8 {main}
  thrown

Email subject: [Site Name] Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue
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