All email notifications have stopped

WPMU FOLK

1. I have four identical WordPress sites with the same plugins.

2. I use Jetpack's Blog Subscriptions.

3. I have stopped receiving email notifications of any new subscribers, user registrations, comments, etc.

4. I installed the Check Email plugin and did not receive any of the test emails from any of my four sites.

5. I deactivated all of the plugins on one site, reactivated the Check Email plugin and sent a test email, which I did not receive.

Any advice or suggestions?

NEAL

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    I hope you're having a nice day!

    Could you please check two more things?

    1. Make sure that these e-mails weren't moved to the SPAM folder of your inbox; I don't know what provider are you using for your e-mail account(s) but it's possible that they had "tightened" their spam filters and e-mails suddenly started to be moved there.

    2. If above is not a case, please also check if that affects "core" WP e-mails such as e.g. password reminder email (just create an additional user account and then as a non-logged in user try to use "Lost password?" option for that user).

    If these e-mails are not coming through as well and you didn't make any significant changes to your site recently (I understand this applies to all four of your sites, right?) it would be very likely that you host has changed some aspects of server configuration. I would then suggest getting in touch with them and asking them about that.

    If you are using (as your WP admin e-mail) and e-mail address from other domain that then one used for the site (e.g. gmail address etc) it is probable that they restricted sending e-mails through standard WP mail (PHP "mail()") function. Also, they should be able to check server logs for you and that should tell them why those e-mails are rejected.

    That said, please check above to points and if there are still no e-mails, get in touch with your host. Let me know what they said, please.

    Kind regards,
    Adam

  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hey there neal_umphred,

    hope you're doing good and don't mind chiming in!

    We should narrow this down in order to try resolve the issue. Could you please try to deactivate WP Defender and try Jetpack's Blog Subscriptions (or any other non-working) emails again?

    If this doesn't resolve the issue, please continue with a full theme/plugin conflict test as described in a nice flow chart here https://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/using-wpmu-dev/getting-support/

    I look forward for your results on this,
    Dimitris :slight_smile:

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    D

    Thanks for your response.

    I am addressing your comment/advice with two comments here to avoid confusion.

    Referring to my first comment above (Sun Dec 4 2016, 10:17:52 AM):

    When I used the Check Email plugin, I waited 30 minutes and did not received a test emails from any of my four sites.

    Then, several hours later, test emails arrived from the Check Email plugins on two sites.

    Test emails from the two other sites did NOT show up.

    Again, that was yesterday (12/04-2016 in the US).

    N

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    D

    Part 2.

    Referring to your comment/advice above:

    Using the two sites that did NOT return the test emails yesterday, I tried again today. I sent test emails with WP-Defender still activated. I did NOT receive a test email within ten minutes from either site.

    So I deactivated WP-Defender on both sites and sent test emails again. This time, I received both the test emails within a minute or two!

    What do we do next?

    N

  • Predrag Dubajic
    • Support

    Hi Neal,

    I was doing some testing with Check Email and Defender on couple of my installations and each time emails were sent withing seconds, regardless if Defender was enabled or disabled.

    Would you mind granting support access to site that didn't send any emails as I would like to check if there's any specific setting or hardening rule in defender that's different on my installation and hopefully this will help us replicate the issue to pinpoint the cause.

    To enable support access you can follow this guide here:
    http://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/wpmu-dev-dashboard-enabling-staff-login/

    Best regards,
    Predrag

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    PREDRAG

    Thanks for your response!

    The problem may not be Defender, but a combination of others factors.

    First, how and where do I find the version of my URL in the WordPress core files that I should have entered in my General settings?

    I may have changed that setting and the address in the General settings may not match the address in my core files.

    NEAL

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    There's no place in any of the core files where your site's URL/e-mail address would be stored. These files should never be modified but even though there's no point because URL and e-mail are stored in database. Furthermore: even if you manually changed that data in the database, a change via WordPress "Settings" would overwrite that.

    You mentioned before that there was a lot of errors in WP Defender, do you think you would be able to find our/recall what they were and tell us that? Also, we could really use a support access to review site's settings etc - just a look is sometimes worth more than a thousands of lines of error logs :smiley:

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    A

    First of two comments by me so that two issues are not confused:

    I have no intention of modifying any core file. I just want the site address in my General settings to match that in the site's core files.

    I have changed the address in the general settings in the past, and that may be part of the problem.

    N

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    1. Do you want me to go to General Settings and change Email Address from "nealumphred@hotmail.com" to "nealumphred@nealumphred.com"?

    We assumed that you do have a working e-mail address in your domain. If a "nealumphred@nealumphred.com" is a working e-mail account then yes - please use it in "General Settings", making that exact change. Once it's done, please check again if your e-mail notifications are working or not.

    2. I haven't a clue as how to use WordPress Mail.

    It's not a "WordPress Mail", it's just another account in your domain that you can create on your server. If you do have an access to cPanel on your server, there's a "Mail" section where you can create your inboxes: you may create such an e-mail there and then use it on "General Settings" page. The point is that WordPress is using "wordpress@site_domain_name" (where "site_domain_name" is "nealumphred.com" in this case) mail by default if it's not able to "find" other e-mails in settings. In some other cases as well (e.g. depending on server settings) this would be and e-mail address used by WordPress install and if an inbox doesn't exist, mails may not be delivered. We would just like to test that too.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Predrag Dubajic
    • Support

    Hi Neal,

    Can you tell me which error log are you exactly referring to, there doesn't seem to be any log file in your wp-content folder?

    I had a look at your site and tested Check Email with Defender active, I received email from your site in under a minute.

    Are there are additional steps needed to replicate the issue with emails?

    Best regards,
    Predrag

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    P

    Good day!

    1. On the nealumphred.com, I have received a few email notifications of new user registrations at the nealumphred@nealumphred.com address.

    But other email notifications (Ninja Firewall and SuperCache) are delivered to my nealumphred@hotmail.com account.

    Apparently, due to these changes on this site, the backlog of errors vanished from my Error Log.

    2. I have not made any changes suggested by you or Adam (above) on my ratherrarerecords.com site, so the list of errors is still there, many of them related to Defender. You can see them here:

    http://www.ratherrarerecords.com

    Hope this helps!

    N

  • Predrag Dubajic
    • Support

    Hi Neal,

    #1 - If I understand correctly emails are working properly now on nealumphred.com, is that correct?

    NinjaFirewall has hotmail address configured inside NinjaFirewall > Event Notifications panel.
    As for super cache, I think that it sends the email to admin account and for your admin account you're using hotmail as well.

    #2 - I see that there are no errors in last 5 days, did they stop happening after you updated to WP 4.7 perhaps?

    Best regards,
    Predrag

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    I made a small change on your nealumphred.com site. On "Settings -> Email" page I have enabled the "Set the return path to match the From Email" address. Could you test if that helped with your e-mails?

    A bit of explanation: for some notifications while the "From" address would be the one that you put into the settings (your address) the "Return path" mail may be set by WordPress or one of its plugins to a different value (e.g. wordpress@nealumphred.com mentioned before). If this happens, some servers may reject such e-mails. Those e-mails wouldn't be bounced off or moved to spam but instead they would just "disappear in the wilderness" :slight_smile: I admit I'm not sure if this is the case but it's worth checking.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    Back to Defender: did the Error Logs indicate that Defender was malfunctioning?

    The Defender plugin is inactive on that site so I can't see any messages that it generates. It's a live site so I didn't turn it on on my own. I can do this if you wish me to though, I'd just like to get you explicit permission for that (as the support access may not let me revert settings in case anything went wrong) or you could enable it back and let me know so I could check it.

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    A

    I have three identical sites. All stopped sending me email notifications at the same time. Whatever is wrong with one is wrong with the others.

    So here is a link to the Error Log on another site: Defender is listed hundreds of time:

    ratherrarerecords.com

    The majority of them read like this:

    PHP Fatal error: Call to undefined function get_core_checksums() in /home8/nealumph/public_html/ratherrarerecords/wp-content/plugins/wp-defender/app/module/scan-module/component/class-wd-scan-api.php on line 205

    What do all these errors mean?

    N

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal,

    Thanks you for sharing error log.

    The Defender related errors are quiet old as most of them are from September and the last one I can see is from Nov 1st. I suppose that Defender was also running after that date, is that right? Or did you disabled it back then and never used again on your sites?

    None of these however seems to be related to the e-mail sending issue. You mentioned that these e-mails all stopped at the same time on all sites. These sites are on the same server and you did not made any changes to them at that time, is that correct?

    I previously made a small change on your site but I assume that didn't help also?

    I'm sorry that I'm kind of repeating questions that's already been asked but I'd like to sort out a bit what we know so far :slight_smile:

    Best regards,
    Adam

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    A

    I am numbering my responses so we can better communicate,

    1. Are the Defender-related errors you saw CAUSED by Defender?

    2. Yes, Defender was running in November 2016. I deactivated the plugin on December 5, 2016.

    3. Yes, all three sites stopped sending email notifications to my Hotmail account in July 2016.

    4. Yes, all three sites are on the same server.

    5. I do not know if any change was made on my server in July.

    6. Here is where we are: I have changed the destination addresses from my hotmail account to my three server accounts. I have been receiving some notifications of new user registrations, Ninja Firewall updates, and Updraft updates. I have not received any notifications of new comments although I did receive a few.

    7. Is it safe to reactivate Defender?

    Best,

    N

  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hey there neal_umphred,

    hope you're doing good and don't mind chiming in here! :slight_smile:

    1. Are the Defender-related errors you saw CAUSED by Defender?

    We can't be sure about that but most probably these errors occurred due to a plugin conflict.
    If you manage to reproduce these again, then a conflict test as described in a nice flow chart here https://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/using-wpmu-dev/getting-support/ may narrow this down.

    2. Yes, Defender was running in November 2016. I deactivated the plugin on December 5, 2016.

    So it seems from November 1st until December 5th there aren't any other fatal errors considering Defender.

    3. 4. 5.
    Appreciate the info provided here.

    6. Before proceeding any further, I think we skipped a step and you should please continue with a full theme/plugin conflict test as described in a nice flow chart here https://premium.wpmudev.org/manuals/using-wpmu-dev/getting-support/
    Simply activate a default theme (like TwentySixteen or TwentySeventeen) and Defender. Then check that default emails (user registration for example) and comments emails are working. If they do, keep activating theme and plugins one-by-one starting with those which send emails (like Ninja Firewall updates) until you find the conflicted combination.

    7. Is it safe to reactivate Defender?

    I can't think of a reason that Defender activation would make your website less safe.
    I'd rather re-activate it to confirm that Hotmail email address is still working, at least to the point it still does.

    Warm regards,
    Dimitris

  • Dimitris
    • Support Star

    Hey there neal_umphred,

    hope you're doing good!

    A full theme/plugin conflict test could take weeks.

    This shouldn't take that much time, depending of course on any automated or other emails that being sent from your website. As you are the one that knows exactly which notifications should be sent from your system, this is something that relies on your actual testing.
    Having said that, you may want to build a staging environment, meaning an exact copy of your website in another location in the same server that could be used for testing. If you wish to continue this way, advise your hosting provider first if there's any easy way to proceed.

    PS: I looked at the WordPress piece on WP-Debug (https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/debugging-wordpress-how-to-use-wp_debug/) and wouldn't have the courage to try it as I have never done anything like it.

    This should be pretty straight forward, just a file edit in your server. You can also use WP_DEBUG in a safe way considering frontend messages. Using the following snippet in wp-config.php should log all error messages in a file (located in /wp-content/debug.log) and suppress any messages from being displayed in pages of your website.

    // Enable WP_DEBUG mode
    define('WP_DEBUG', true);
    // Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file
    define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
    // Disable display of errors and warnings
    define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
    @ini_set('display_errors', 0);

    I continue to receive emil notifications at my server email addresses for:
    Broken Links Detector
    Ninja Firewall
    Updraft
    Super Cache

    So, are there any other emails that still doesn't work? Please advise!

    Warm regards,
    Dimitris

  • neal_umphred
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    D

    Thanks for the response!

    1. As I have never done anything like the theme /plugin conflict, it sounds crazy.

    2. "This should be pretty straight forward, just a file edit in your server. You can also use WP_DEBUG in a safe way considering frontend messages. Using the following snippet in wp-config.php should log all error messages in a file (located in /wp-content/debug.log) and suppress any messages from being displayed in pages of your website."

    As I have never done any coding, this is the opposite of "straight forward." You would have to walk me through it.

    3. I am not receiving Comment notifications. And prior to July when this problem started, I received 10-20 new user registrations per day. Since we have transferred my emails to my server addresses a week ago, I have received a total of 9 new user registrations. So I do not know if all of the new user registrations are making it through, or people have simply stopped registering for my sites.

    Best,

    N

  • Predrag Dubajic
    • Support

    Hi Neal,

    1. As I have never done anything like the theme /plugin conflict, it sounds crazy.

    Since the issue is specific to your installation this is the best way to figure out if there's anything from your other plugins in conflict with emails or defender itself.

    It would be best performing this on staging site if you have one, that way you wouldn't be affecting your live installation during testing.

    2. "This should be pretty straight forward, just a file edit in your server. You can also use WP_DEBUG in a safe way considering frontend messages. Using the following snippet in wp-config.php should log all error messages in a file (located in /wp-content/debug.log) and suppress any messages from being displayed in pages of your website."

    As I have never done any coding, this is the opposite of "straight forward." You would have to walk me through it.

    First thing you will need is to have access to your WP installation files via FTP or cPanel.
    When you're there you need to navigate to your WP main folder, you will know you're in right place when you see wp-content, wp-admin, wp-includes folder and bunch of other files.
    One of those files is wp-config.php that you need to edit, but before that I would suggest downloading it and storing it on your PC so you have a backup ready just in case.

    When you open this file search for define('WP_DEBUG', false); line of code, if it's there you need to replace it with code Dimitris posted above.
    If you can't find that line then search for /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ line and add the code above it, have a look at this screenshot for more info:

    3. I am not receiving Comment notifications. And prior to July when this problem started, I received 10-20 new user registrations per day. Since we have transferred my emails to my server addresses a week ago, I have received a total of 9 new user registrations. So I do not know if all of the new user registrations are making it through, or people have simply stopped registering for my sites.

    Do you have any plugins that are in control of your comments and allow you to customize this part of your site?

    About the low number of registrations, this would be hard to pinpoint, it's quite possible that number of registrations have dropped as this always varies depending on time of year.
    You could test it yourself through different browsers to see if it could be related to that.

    Best regards,
    Predrag

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Neal!

    Now all we gotta do is find a way to make my PopUps responsive on smartphones ...

    I can see that you got a separate ticket on this open and my colleagues are working on that with you. I'm sure they'll be able to help you. As for this one here, I understand that we can consider it resolved so thanks for letting us know about that.

    Have a great day!
    Adam

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