Support » Plugin: Wordfence Security - Firewall & Malware Scan » Wordfence causing fatal error

  • Resolved akubrin


    Suddenly Wordfence is causing a fatal error. My WordPress site went down this morning after routine plugin updates. My host deactivated all plugins to get the site running again, and then I reactivated all plugins one by one. All the reactivations went fine, except that I can’t reactivate Wordfence because it causes a fatal error.
    I am running WP 5.4.1.
    Does anyone have info on this situation?

Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • I got it today. Server responded “Error There has been a critical error on your website”

    I deactivated all plugins and activated one at a time. Turns out Wwordfence was causing the condition. With WF deactivated all ok.

    I did upgrade 3 plugins. But without wordfence they seem to work fine.

    I looked at the log in for June .gz and nothing out of the ordinary.

    Provider said the following:
    “Interestingly, normally when WordPress has a problem, it logs such problems into the /public_html/error_log file, but yours is empty.”

    Anyone listening?

    I’m having this problem on multiple sites as well. Urgent!

    It may be one of the plugins we have in common. Just a thought. Maybe a common plug in that we have. Do you have any plugins that do not have as many installs as others. For example I have volunteer-sign-up-sheets. That is fairly uncommon. But there are others too.
    I figure if it was a more of an issue that this issue would be more wide spread. But that is just a stab. It could be anything considering WordFence’s reach.

    However I also don’t think WF should make the site inaccessible even if it is a problem. It should handle it.

    Had the same error. Uninstalled WF > installed and activate WF assistance > Remove all Wordfence Data in the Database and elsewhere > install WF.

    This is some advice from a non- techy, but it worked.
    Found it in this thread

    I’ve seen this “Error There has been a critical error on your website” problem on two WP sites in the last 12 hours. Removing the Wordfence directory from /wp-content/plugins/ brings the site back up and running. Nothing is logged in error_log.

    – Scott

    Hi All,

    Firstly, my apologies for the trouble.

    We’ve found that completely resetting Wordfence does help with this. However, to get to the root of the issue can you please share your system information? Including host, PHP version, SQL version, and etc?

    Please let me know.



    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by WFGerroald.

    I wanted to add that I ran into this error as well today. Although I didn’t make any changes to the site. The site just went down and started giving an HTTP 500 Error. Through other trials, I found that the site came back online after deactivating WordFence. When I tried to reactivate it I got the fatal error issue. I then followed what @leonali1982 did and was able to get my site back up WITH WordFence installed.

    I don’t have much debugging information to add but I wanted to let you know that it is happening to more people.

    @wfgerald I run a small hosting provider that has seen 2 of these (via support tickets) so far. I can’t find anything similar yet. The two affected clients are on different servers. Both servers run CloudLinux, but one is CL6, the other CL7. One server has MariaDB 10.1, the other is MySQL 5.7. One site is using PHP 7.3, the other PHP 5.6. One WP site is multisite, the other is not. Both sites use the Wordfence WAF, but when commenting it out in .htaccess it didn’t change anything. I’m stumped at the moment.

    – Scott

    Thread Starter akubrin


    I am running the following:
    WP 5.4.1
    PHP 5.4
    SQL 5.6.x
    Do you need any more info?


    Apache 2.4.43
    PhP 5.6.40 (didn’t realize it was that far back)
    SQL 10.1.45 Maria
    Linux Kernal 3.10.0-962.3.2Ive….

    Hope that helps.

    Thank you for the attention.


    Last week I noticed that my website would crash because of WF, but only when viewing WooCommerce orders… It was throwing memory errors (our website has plenty of memory available to it). Hope it helps!

    Plugin Author WFSupport


    Thanks for reaching out. We’ve been investigating these reports and now think we have a cause and a solution.

    One thing to note, that if you see an error in your logs about running out of memory, it may not be the same issue. It might be a case of needing to allocate more memory to PHP. PHP memory is cumulative. That means the amount set in php.ini is shared between all your plugins, your theme, and WordPress, plus any other non-WordPress apps you have installed in the site folder. We recommend changing it to 256M and upgrading to PHP 7 or above, which introduced better memory handling. If that doesn’t help, please try one of the other solutions mentioned here.

    What we found is that on some sites the emailedIssuesList row in the wfconfig table had became too large from recording hashes of previously emailed scan issues. Reinstalling Wordfence fresh (where the data and database tables are removed) was fixing the issue but this lets us know exactly where the problem was.

    There are 2 ways of fixing this.

    1. If you are comfortable using MySQL queries you can issue this command using PHPMyAdmin in your hosting control panel:
    delete from wp_wfConfig where name = ’emailedIssuesList’;

    2. If you are not comfortable with running queries do this:
    Remove and reset Wordfence, using the Wordfence Assistant plugin to remove all tables and data and then reinstall the plugin.

    We are looking at a solution to prevent it from happening again and hopefully will include it in the next release.

    Thanks always for being patient as we worked diligently to solve this for our customers. Thanks as well for reaching out and providing valuable information to help us solve it. Let us know if this solves it for you.



    Any update on this? We just had a 2TB disk drive rapidly fill up because of this Wordfence table being so large on just one site that it caused errors in our server backups and it stopped purging the old backups!

Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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