I have the W3 Total Cache plugin installed in my WordPress self-hosted blog. The other day, seemingly out of the blue, I started getting alerts from my Pingdom.com and Uptrends.com accounts that my site was down. When I went to the page, it seemed to be up and running. I contacted my hosting service and they could see no problem with my page, either. I ended up checking my error messages in cPanel and found a list of errors relating to W3 Total Cache starting at the time I started getting alerts from Pingdom.com and Uptrends.com. I decided to go into my WordPress dashboard and deactivate the W3 Total Cache plugin and then recheck my site through Pingdom.com and Uptrends.com. Unfortnately, as soon as I clicked on "Deactivate" the screen went white and only displayed an error message. I could no longer access my site, my WordPress dashboard, or cPanel. I was basically locked out of any avenue to try to correct anything. I contacted my hosting service and they were able to find some script in my .htaccess file that seemed to be generated by the W3 Total Cache plugin. Once they removed it, my site was back up and running and I got messages from Pingdom.com and Uptrends.com that everything was up and running on their end, too.
I really want to use W3 Total Cache, but now I'm afraid to reactivate it. I've thought about uninstalling it and reinstalling it. Can you tell me why this might have happened and whether it is safe to use this plugin on my site? Here are the other plugins I am using, in case that might be helpful:
bib.ly (Bible Reference Shortener)
Broken Link Checker
Drop Cap Shortcode
Google Analytics for WordPress
Google XML Sitemaps
Jetpack by WordPress.com
Manual Control for Jetpack
No Right Click Images Plugin
Official StatCounter Plugin
Sucuri Security - SiteCheck Malware Scanner
Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)
WebsiteDefender WordPress Security
The only thing I can think of that I changed prior to this episode was that the day before I activated Sucuri's Restrick wp-contact Access option. This is the message that is shown once you activate it:
This option blocks direct PHP access to any file inside wp-content.
WARN: Do not enable this option if your site uses TimThumb or similar scripts. If you enable and you need to disable, please remove the .htaccess from wp-content.
WP-content directory properly hardened.
So, is there any way you can advise me on how to proceed. I want to have a caching plugin and I prefer W3 Total Cache, but I don't want to risk having my site go down and being totally locked out of it. Thanks in advance.