Error in Subscribe by Email plugin causing site to go down

This site has gone down today - nothing but a white screen. It's in a temporary directory until it's ready to be launched, but no one was working on it today. The error log shows an error in the Subscribe by Email plugin - a syntax error in inc/helpers/general-helpers.php on line 11. This is the only activity on the account today. Do you know what this is, and how do I get the site back up?

  • Mark Wallace
    • Learn-ing-er

    Login to your cpanel or ftp in, then delete the plugin from the plugins folder.

    Next deactivate all plugins, Switch to the 2014 default theme. Then reinstall the Subscribe by Email plugin, and activate it.
    Then start activating each of the other plugins one at a time.
    When you get the error again you will know if their is a conflict.
    Then report it back here.

    Thanks, Mark Wall

  • Tyler Postle
    • CGO

    Hey Deb,

    Site going down is never fun! We've all been there.

    Okay, first, let's get your site back up. Do you have FTP access to your files? If so, then go to your plugins folder and delete the subscribe by email folder - this will deactivate the plugin and hopefully get your site back up!

    Let me know if that works. Once we confirm that it is indeed subscribe by email then we can figure out why it happened.


  • debgraydesign
    • Flash Drive

    Tyler - I deleted the plugin and the site came back up. It's odd that this happened today. I can say with complete certainty that nothing was added to the site or changed in it. The plugin just started producing the error. Any help would be appreciated.

  • aristath
    • Recruit

    Hello again @debgraydesign, I hope you're well today!

    That's weird... Did your host by any chance do any updates to their PHP or configuration? Is there any way to find that out?
    Do you have access to your error logs? It would sure help if we could figure out what the error was...

    If you don't have access to your error logs try this:

    Set WP_DEBUG to true in your wp-config.php file and then re-install the plugin. Once you activate it you should be getting some errors on your screen... Please paste these here so that we may see what goes on.


  • debgraydesign
    • Flash Drive

    I do have access to the error logs - I posted the error in my first post. It was:

    [08-Jun-2014 00:07:54] PHP Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM in /home4/deborai1/public_html/demo/zadra/wp-content/plugins/subscribe-by-email/inc/helpers/general-helpers.php on line 11

    It was the same error about 20 times and there were no other errors yesterday.

  • grumpy
    • New Recruit

    Just the topic I was looking for... I've got several sites on a fairly good size VPS, 6 cores, 12 Gb Ram, using WHM/CPanel..

    For the last 4- 5 days the server's been going down a lot

    Normally the 5-10-15 minute cpu average stays under 2.0 sometimes it gets in the 4 and 5 range..

    The first time it happened, it surged to around 120.00.. I lost the sites at around 20, WHM about 50.00. By then I had the host on the phone. They told me where it peaked

    The spikes went on for 4 days, generally occurring randomly (did seem to like the 0800 hr eastern.) they were happening 4 or 5 times a day. The longest lasted about 4 hours, most less than an hour.. Every time it happened, the CPU load exceeded 100.00..

    Yesterday morning someone pointed out the the "Subscribe by Email' News letter had been publishing a dozen times a day or more since the problem started.. It's used on two sites, on both sites it's scheduled to publish once a day..

    I deactivated it yesterday morning, and the server has run normally since...

    But other things were done too.. New rules were added both the Robot Txt, and htaccess. I also unplugged Buddy Press. I don't know what other measures my hosting company might have taken..

    Also -even though the server appears to be running normally again for the last for the last five days, the morning's back-up report from the hosting company showed 2 of the 26 hourly back-ups had been successful. and those 2 are questionable at 3 and 8 seconds respectively. Those back-ups are independent of my server

    Any thoughts?

    A screenshot I manged to get during one of the surges when WHM managed to stay up..

  • debgraydesign
    • Flash Drive

    I think this could be an issue with the PHP version. With regard to my site, I found that a file had been removed which set the PHP version to 5.4. It was using 5.2 instead of 5.4. I'll reinstall the plugin tomorrow and post here if that was the issue.

    • grumpy
      • New Recruit

      Good Morning Tyler

      I"m switching to another plugin..

      As soon as all possible server, website and security issues were either fixed or ruled out as causes.. I reactivated Subscribe by Email, Within minutes the 5-10-15 load average went from something like 0.80 0.87 0.76 to well over 100.00 that time they peaked at 154.00.. Needless to say, all the websites vanished..again

      Part of that was my fault-- I'd never downloaded the WPMU dash.. I didn't realize that was the only place to get update notifications. I updated the plugin.. and things appeared to be normal, for an hour or so,

      But I decided the risk to benefit wasn't worth it.

      Then when I download the subscriber list, and uploaded it to a new plugin.. only 85 or so of the 155 names were on the list..

  • Tyler Postle
    • CGO

    Hey Grumpy,

    Sorry to hear about the troubles you've been having. Yes, having the dashboard is very helpful when it comes to updating your plugins. We do our best to squash bugs as fast as possible if they make it into public releases, so it's a good idea to update plugins asap :slight_smile:

    Then when I download the subscriber list, and uploaded it to a new plugin.. only 85 or so of the 155 names were on the list..

    Very odd. Did you open the CSV file? There were only 85 of the 155 in there or only 85 actually uploaded to your new plugin? If that's the case then maybe some of the names exported in a bad format.

    Let us know if you still need further assistance with anything!


Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.