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Upgrade problem with Secret_Key returning blank pages (5 posts)

  1. GuiltyCol
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Hi,

    I'm just upgrading to v2.5.1 from 2.1 and all appears well.

    I got to the section about adding the SECRET_KEY line to my wp-config.php but when I do, every webpage doesn't return any html, I just get a blank page. View Source reveals no html returned at all. If I simply comment out the define('SECRET_KEY'... line, the website comes back. There are no errors in the webserver error log.

    It's a bit weird really. Any pointers please? wp-config.php looks like this:

    <?php
    // ** MySQL settings ** //
    define('DB_NAME', 'xxx');    // The name of the database
    define('DB_USER', 'yyy');     // Your MySQL username
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'zzz'); // ...and password
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');    // 99% chance you won't need to change this value
    
    // You can have multiple installations in one database if you give each a unique prefix
    $table_prefix  = 'wp_';   // Only numbers, letters, and underscores please!
    
    // Change this to localize WordPress.  A corresponding MO file for the
    // chosen language must be installed to wp-includes/languages.
    // For example, install de.mo to wp-includes/languages and set WPLANG to 'de'
    // to enable German language support.
    define ('WPLANG', '');
    
    define('SECRET_KEY', '\"e0@Fd)>2cm]{mRvwbJ<j-H#!Qh@~389]v8L.g#;E9%Y:K02[lU{%MT:@wBsP~$');// Change this to a unique phrase.
    
    /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
    
    define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__).'/');
    require_once(ABSPATH.'wp-settings.php');
    ?>
  2. Lazy Dropout
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Well I do know the secret key feature is pretty new, probably still some problems with it, last install I did before the one today did not have that field.

    I simply deleted the secret key area all together, I figure there will be a post of a bug update sometime soon.

    If anyone is getting blank pages when you go to install, copy your config file as it is then upload a new version with the secret key area deleted.

    Thats what did it for me.

  3. GuiltyCol
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Having done a detailed study of the problem, I finally found the problem. There's an issue with the upgrade instructions for 2.5.1 that caused me to make a mistake. Full details here: WordPress Blank Screen of Death Solution

  4. MichaelH
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    So to summarize, you weren't using a good FTP program, you didn't get a good FTP uploaded of the WordPress files, you forgot to disable plugins before doing the upgrade, and you added the SECRET_KEY definition to the wrong place in wp-config.php.

    Based on that, I really don't see how you can say "it’s made me question the fundamental quality of the whole blogging phenomena that is WordPress". A retraction might be in order.

    Note: I revised the instructions to remind people to add the SECRET_KEY between the beginning and ending PHP marks.

  5. GuiltyCol
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    So to summarize, you weren't using a good FTP program, you didn't get a good FTP uploaded of the WordPress files, you forgot to disable plugins before doing the upgrade, and you added the SECRET_KEY definition to the wrong place in wp-config.php.

    Errr no. If I wasn't using a good FTP program and reloading the files was the problem, then that would have solve the blank screen problem wouldn't it?

    I do have a competent FTP program (FireFTP plugin for Firefox if you're interested), I did follow all the instructions to the letter, including disabling all my plugins and adding the secret_key definition, which as your change to the instructions admits, was missing a vital element.

    Based on that, I really don't see how you can say "it’s made me question the fundamental quality of the whole blogging phenomena that is WordPress". A retraction might be in order.

    I have worked in IT for nearly 15 years, from Developer to Project Manager and have seen many wild and wonderful bugs. But I have never seen a system break so badly because of the addition of a new line at the end of a config file. Worse than that, there appear to be so many causes of the Blank Screen problem, but why do none of them produce any kind of error log that gives the user some vague hint of what the problem might be? Lack of error handling and logging is a noob trait that I've personally had to beat out of more novice coders than I care to remember.

    For the record my issue here is with what appears to be the lack of Defensive Programming. You give instructions for novice / non-IT people to edit a config file, but clearly the person who wrote the parsing function for that file didn't give any thought to what might go wrong. Trimming up the input to ignore empty space etc is a pretty basic first step imo.

    So as to my statement, it's a personal view, I'm entitled to it and in this case I think it's justified. Note I'm not saying WordPress is rubbish, far from it, it's a great piece of software. I like the fact that it's so extensible, supported, looked after and has a solid feature set. However this recent incident has given me pause for thought and I think that's a reasonable response.

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