Support » Plugin: Wordfence Security - Firewall, Malware Scan, and Login Security » Wordfence causing fatal errors on multiple websites

  • Resolved WrightBrain


    I use Wordfence on a number of the websites I manage, but beginning last week, the moment I update the plugins, I’m suddenly getting fatal errors caused by Wordfence that crash the entire site. Eventually webhost was able to help me get the site back up again after commenting out the WAF code in the user.ini and deactivating Wordfence (which is what I did to get the site back up and running again.)

    Considering the number of sites I am using Wordfence on, this is very concerning to me. Can you see what’s going on here?

    The page I need help with: [log in to see the link]

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Hey @wrightbrain,

    Can you please share the error you’re receiving? This will give us a clue as to what’s happening.

    You might also check your PHP error logs for any relevant errors.

    Please let me know.



    Thread Starter WrightBrain


    It was an Internal Server 500 error

    “This page isn’t working www…. is currently unable to handle this request.
    HTTP ERROR 500”

    I was unable to find the PHP error log.

    I do, however, have another website that I can try and replicate the error. It’s my own for a side business and not a client’s so I can leave it down and give you access if that would help.

    I have had a similar problem were my sites crashed. WordPress indicated there was a problem with Wordfence plugin. My hosting site was able to recover but had to delete your plugin. Not sure what the problem is.

    Hey @wrightbrain,

    If you’re not able to locate the PHP error logs your host can provide them to you.

    @jimkelly66 – Can you please start a new thread per the Forum Guidelines? The issue may seem the same, but end up being completely different.



    I have had this same issue. My 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.”

    Nothing appears amiss in the wflogs gz file.

    I have nothing but in logs that I can find. If there is a new thread could you point me to the proper thread. This is the only one that matched.


    Thread Starter WrightBrain


    My computer got fried during Wednesday’s storms. I’ll try and ask my provider today for the PHP log.

    Glad to see I’m not the only one experiencing this!

    Thread Starter WrightBrain


    I think I found the related php error on one of the pages that went down on me when I updated the plugins:

    [01-Jun-2020 13:45:32 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 41943040 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 36864 bytes) in /home/mysain5/ on line 111

    Different page then mention above, but same result.

    Thread Starter WrightBrain


    Look, I really need to get this resolved or find another plugin. I can’t keep my other sites up to date unless this is fixed. I have one I’m willing to sacrifice if you need to see the problem for yourself, but I need to know that you’re going to at least look in to this.

    I apologize for the delay in responding.

    This error seems to indicate that you need to increase your site’s memory available to php. Usually your hosting provider will edit your php.ini file to increase the memory_limit parameter, and they may also have to increase your web server memory limit along with any operating system limits they have. They can define this in the php.ini file (usually found in /etc on linux systems – check your documentation for windows servers, which are currently unsupported by Wordfence).

    Look through the file for a line like this: memory_limit = 128M

    Keep in mind the 128M is probably different. That’s the amount of memory that php is allowed to consume. If you have 10 plugins and combined they consume more memory than you have allocated, you’re going to have problems. You can assign more by increasing this value. (Some of our personal sites have 256M allowed, but these are pretty big sites with a substantial number of hits and plugins).

    Our system requirements specify 128m being needed (though we use less) but were seeing many wordpress specific hosting providers allowing 256m by default to give wordpress room to breathe.

    There are a few other things you can try.

    1. In your wp-config.php you can try setting the amount of memory WordPress can use to a higher number. Example:

    define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’96M’ );

    define( ‘WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );

    2. On the Wordfence Scan > Scan Options and Scheduling in the section “Performance Options” change the setting “How much memory should Wordfence request when scanning” to 256 if it’s not already set at that.

    3. Go through all your plugins and make sure you are actually using all of them. Every plugin you have activated uses a part of your available memory so the more plugins you have active the more memory your site needs.

    Let me know if this helps.


    Thread Starter WrightBrain


    Thanks. We actually tried all that and the site remained completely crashed. In fact I had another one crash on me this weekend. The web host looked for a php error and couldn’t find any, but what they did see was that there were some frozen cgi-php processes. Once they killed those I was able to get things up and running again.

    I cull plugins on a regular basis, so its not that either. In fact even when I have deactivated ALL of them and switched back to a Twenty-whatever template, once the site is down, its down for the count.

    I wanted to add this here in case anyone was having this problem and looking for answers.

    I think we now have a cause and a solution.

    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.

    Thanks, stay healthy, and stay safe!

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • The topic ‘Wordfence causing fatal errors on multiple websites’ is closed to new replies.