Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Feb 07

How to Fix the WordPress “White Screen of Death”

I was experiencing some issues with both blogs when I tried to install Jetpack after moving to my new host. Essentially, I would install and activate the plugins, and my dashboard would go white. The blog would work fine, but I couldn’t do anything.

A quick Google search showed that this seems to be pretty common for other users, and I pinpointed my host as an issue because another blog on another host doesn’t have this issue. However, none of the information was all in one place, so it still took me a little while to figure out what the issue was.

Per the Codex and several forum threads, I tried to rename the plugins folder (“plugins.hold”) to reset all plugins. I refreshed the plugins page and my dashboard was back, but white screen would return when I tried to activate Jetpack. The first helpful tip I found was to edit config.php to turn on PHP debugging. To do this, follow these steps

  1. Log in to your website via PHP or browser-based control panel.
  2. Open “config.php” in your root or WordPress folder in your code editor.
  3. Locate the following line
    define('WP_DEBUG', false);
  4. Change “false” to “true.”
  5. Save the file and reupload.

When you return to your white screen, you will now see an error.  The error that I found and had suspected all along was one of “allowed memory size exhausted.” Essentially. Jetpack was causing WordPress to use more memory than my host generally allows for scripts. However, you can fix this.

  1. Log in to your website via PHP or browser-based control panel.
  2. Open “config.php” in your root or WordPress folder in your code editor.
  3. Add the following line
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

When you save and upload, you can now use Jetpack and see your dashboard. This line instructs your server to allow the script to use more memory for PHP.

Remember to edit config.php to turn off PHP debugging. Otherwise, you’ll see some annoying errors in your dashboard.

It can also fix issues with other memory-intensive plugins. I frequently find that related post plugins use a lot of memory, and that can lead to errors. Other plugins known to cause issues include UpdraftPlus, and I’m pretty sure this is the reason that my backup plugin stopped working. However, the WordPress support forum is full of users who have experienced the issue with pretty bare installations, and the perpetrator seems to be the instal itself.

If this method doesn’t work, there are a few other to try. For example, add this to your .htaccess file:

php_value memory_limit 64M

Or, change the memory limit in your PHP.ini file to

memory_limit = 64M ;

Dec 10

Jetpack and Forms: A Quick How-To

A while back I installed JetPack on one of my blogs. There’s a lot of handy tools from the developers of WordPress in JetPack. You have access to them by default when you’re hosted but not when you host your own WordPress-powered site. One of those tools is a contact form, which you can enable without using an additional form plug-in. This is handy. I’ve been using Contact Form 7 for some time on many sites, but an older contact form plugin was the vulnerability that caused Lyrical Musings to be hacked a few months ago.

Jetpack Contact Forms

Jetpack Contact Forms

To enable forms:

  1. Click on the JetPck menu.
  2. Search for “Contact Form.”
  3. Click “Activate.”

Once forms are enabled, you’ll see a button on every post and page editor to add a form. You can easily create a form for any page with the visual editor. The default options are name, website and message. Jetpack allows you to add additional text, textarea, checkbox and radio fields, among others, with the option to set each and every form field as required. By default, the form is sent to the author of the page. However, you can specify another email address in “Notifications.” Whenever someone sends a message through the form that isn’t marked as spam, you receive an email.

Stop Spam with Jetpack’s Contact Form

By default, Jetpack forms do not have a CAPTCHA or anti-spam technology. However, you can easily emulate an anti-spam plugin that requires visitors to check a box indicating they’re human. Simply

  1. Click “Add a field”
  2. Type text such as “Click if you’re human” into the  “Label” field.
  3. Select “Checkbox.”
  4. Check “Required.”
  5. Click “Save the field.”

Spam bots won’t even be able to submit the form, which will clear up some space in your Feedback panel and your database. Good news because you can only view 20 entries in the Spam folder at a time. Deleting is tedious.

Manage Jetpack Feedback Form Submissions

Your navigation will also have a new “Feedback” menu. When you click this, you’ll see all the form submissions stored in three categories:  messages, spam and trash. Successfully-completed messages appear in the first. Any messages that you move from the “Messages” or “Spam” folders move to the trash. Any message that Jetpack isn’t sure is real winds up in the spam folder. Many of mine were in Russian or simply blank. However, a few legitimate messages did make it through. I was able to mark them as not spam, at which point I received an email like they were new.

While you can empty the trash in one fell swoop, you can’t do the same with spam. Unfortunately, dealing with spam is tiresome if you just realized that Jetpack has taken over  your forms because it uses the same shortcode as Contact Form 7. It took few a few minutes to delete the 500+ spam messages and find the handful of legitimate messages. However, it’s all cleaned up, now.

I hope this helps you better use contact forms with Jetpack!

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