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WordPress 5.2 White Screen Of Death Protection

The WordPress 5.2.1 update makes it easier than ever to fix a WordPress site if something goes wrong.

This administrator-focused update will let site owners safely fix or manage fatal errors without requiring developer time. It features better handling of the so-called “white screen of death,” and a way to enter recovery mode, which pauses error-causing plugins or themes.

Let me show you it in action because one of my own sites ended up breaking on me!

TL;DR

  • WordPress 5.2 sends you an email when there is a 500 error on the site or white screen of death.
  • You get a recovery mode link.
  • You can deactivate the problem plugin without FTP or a developer

First, I got an email

I did a mass update of plugins and themes for all of my websites using ProSites. ProSites saves me a ton of time with one place to update all plugins vs having to log into each site to do so.

One of my old sites ended up breaking after the updates but I hadn’t realized it yet. Then I received the following email:

Howdy! 

Since WordPress 5.2 there is 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, The Events Calendar. 

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

Next, visit the page where the error was caught (https://www.coolexample.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coolexample.com%2Fevent%2Fifrd-with-desert-wind%2F) and check for any visible issues. 

Please contact your host for assistance with investigating this issue further. 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://www.coolexample.com/wp-login.php?action=enter_recovery_mode&rm_token=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

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.

Error Details ============= An error of type E_COMPILE_ERROR was caused in line 435 of the file /home/content/a2pewpnas01_data01/10/4035210/html/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/Tribe/Main.php. Error message: require_once(): Failed opening required ‘/Autoloader.php’ (include_path=’.:/opt/remi/php72/root/usr/share/pear:/opt/remi/php72/root/usr/share/php:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php’)

Pretty cool right! I get a recovery mode link and it tells me the error right in the email.

Recovery Mode

Recovery mode disables the plugin or theme causing the issue, allowing you to still access the WordPress dashboard to disable it completely or troubleshoot as needed.

It gets even better. After I logged in using the recovery mode link, I checked out the plugins page and the problem plugin was highlighted with a ton of useful info. Instead of having to enable debugging mode in the wp-config.php and exposing my website with errors across the top of the screen, it now gets sent to me via email as well as shown in the plugins page.

I ended up reinstalling the plugin and everything worked like a charm!

You can read more about the latest update here: https://wordpress.org/news/2019/05/jaco/

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