Support » Plugin: Wordfence Security - Firewall & Malware Scan » Great in theory…

  • While this plugin is great in theory, I’ve had it suddenly fail on three different sites now, taking down the whole site with it and start throwing an error page. In two cases it partially uninstalled itself, in another it hung up the site. (No, it wasn’t due to updates on other plugins/WP/Wordfence. LITERALLY spontaneously imploded.) Meaning I had to FTP into the directory and disable the folder to get the site back up and running. (This happened both with the pro version and the free version.) Fortunately, I was knowledgeable enough to do that on my own without having to bring in outside (expensive) tech support. I can only imagine how frustrating that’d be for someone who needs a wysiwyg site and has no clue about how to do that.

    I don’t know why it spontaneously stops working, but the third time/site was the charm for me and I uninstalled it across all the sites I manage. I’ve achieved similar results using a couple of other plugins to block the majority of malicious inbound traffic with geo/ip blocking plugins.

    It’s a shame, because I loved many of the features of this software.

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  • Plugin Author WFSupport


    We recently have seen reports of updates breaking on some of the sites hosted on GoDaddy and a few other smallish hosting providers.

    The issue seems to be that some providers use a networked file system that can be extremely slow under load, though usually not from the site itself but from other sites using the same file system (like in shared and managed hosting). Cpanel accounts are similarly limited in file transfer, but that’s largely artificially limited to prevent it from impacting other accounts using managed WordPress.

    The update process involves removing old files, unzipping the new plugin, and then copying over the new files to the plugin location. That can easily exceed the 30 second max_execution time or even the 60 second gateway timeout which can’t be increased in the local .user.ini file. It’s usually during the last part of the transfer when the new files are copied. If the file transfer dies when the files are halfway through being copied you can see some very odd effects, but what usually happens is the update fails. We found a couple of items where we could trim a couple of hundred files off the Wordfence plugin and reduce the size of it substantially, which speeds up both the unzip process and the copying process, as well as the removal process for the next update. General resource limitations put in place by the hosting company, like CPU or memory usage limitations, could also be the problem for some hosts but fewer files in the plugin would help with that as well.

    This might not fix every case, since if the file system is under high usage updates are likely going to fail no matter what plugin is being updated. Still, we are trying everything we can to ensure updates work even under circumstances we can’t control. The next release should address most cases since we trimmed the number of files down in this one.

    Here’s how to address this now.

    • Log in to your site via FTP/SSH or any file browser your web host may be providing.
    • Locate the folder “wordfence” in /wp-content/plugins
    • Rename the /wordfence folder to /wordfence-old
    • Go to WordPress Plugins page and install Wordfence. Activate (the new) Wordfence.

    As you don’t have the plugin installed anymore the instructions might not help you but I did want anyone else who saw the review to have instructions on how to address the problem should it happen to them.


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