When WordPress Goes Wrong

This past weekend I finally sat down to upgrade my WordPress installation. I was at 2.8.4 and heading for 3.1.2. The automatic upgrader wasn’t working (it would start downloading the zip, and freeze), so I had to upgrade manually. (Using the upgrade instructions here.)

But when the dust settled, my admin dashboard was FUBAR. A number of the blocks on the page weren’t appearing. But the worst of it was that I’d select other pages in the admin and would get a 500 Internal Server Error. Yikes! Interestingly, though, the main site was working just fine.

I spent most of my Sunday looking for a way to fix this. I found many solutions in discussion forums and blogs. My own pleas for assistance on the WordPress forum met with limited response.

I tried reinstalling from scratch, moving my install; all for naught. In the process, mind, I found out about WordPress’s export and import facilities, which pump out XML. I also messed up all the images to my posts. But I’m hoping to have that fixed fairly soon.

Then I found a number of people who found success via various sysadmin type incantations. I’ll list these here. (The one that worked for me was the last one.)

This first one, on the WP forum, suggested adding a .htaccess file to the wp-admin directory with the following:

<Files index-extra.php>
SecFilterInheritance Off

This just made the whole dashboard 500. Digging a little deeper I found a reference in that first discussion to another thread, which had a different context to the .htaccess mod:

<IfModule mod_security.c>
SecFilterInheritance Off

This didn’t work either, but at least my dashboard didn’t disappear. I figure I didn’t have mod_security installed on my server.

I then came across a blog post which suggested adding a php.ini file to wp-admin with the single line:


The Incoming Links block started showing signs of life after this change. But it was still choking, and the other blocks weren’t happening at all. So I goosed it to 30MB. That helped some, but still didn’t take it in for the touchdown. (I really shouldn’t use sports metaphors: I have no idea what I’m talking about.)

As I read down the (very lengthy) list of comments, one of them (152) suggested adding this to the .htaccess file:

Options All -Indexes
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

Yippers, that did it for four of the blocks. I’m still not connected to Jetpack stats; but I’ll get to that another day.

One thought on “When WordPress Goes Wrong

  1. Lol, you had an interesting sunday.

    My bad experience with WP upgrade was late one night with FTP. Somehow I deleted all the files in the entire site directory. The initial install wasn’t to bad, but then reconfiguring plugins from an existing table and a “Security” key in config ended up being my pain in the butt

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