failed SMTP attempt when bringing up the login page

I am using multisite (not that I think that's the problem) and the main network administration panel is behind another domain name. When I am editing my current domain admin area, if I attempt to go to the network admin area (different url) sometimes there is some attempt at SMTP communications. It appears before all other source of the page and is presented in html at the top of my login page. And cookies get disabled because of the unexpected response. If I attempt login again, it logs in as normal and I can on.

This is a hard problem to reproduce, as it doesn't happen every time, although it seems to happen if I haven't attempted to login for some indeterminate period of time.

The comms are attempting to send an email via my host provider, but (luckily) the connection is never made (or not that I am aware of anyway). I have checked the usual suspect files, but I can't see any malicious code that I would normally expect to find at the head of any file or hidden behind base64 or obfuscated code.

Because this happens so rarely (probably once a day, twice maybe) it is hard to reproduce, as a result it is hard for me to determine where to find the problem.

It ONLY appears on the login page, and only for the network login. I'm after some suggestions of where I should be looking.


  • Kasia Swiderska

    Hello madivad,

    Did you try running plugin conflict to exclude that reason of this in plugin? Please take a look on the flow chart here how to run a conflict test

    Also did you check debug log of your site if there are any errors that could explain this issue? To enable debug mode in WordPress, open your wp-config.php file and look for define(‘WP_DEBUG’, false);. Change it to:

    define('WP_DEBUG', true);

    In order to enable the error logging to a file on the server you need to add yet one more similar line:

    define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

    In this case the errors will be saved to a debug.log log file inside the /wp-content/directory.

    Depending on whether you want your errors to be only logged or also displayed on the screen you should also have this line there, immediately after the line mentioned above:

    define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );

    The wp-config.php is located in your WordPress root directory. It’s the same file where the database configuration settings are. You will have to access it by FTP or SFTP in order to edit it.

    Would it possible for me to see this issue with support access - or I would need to have your super admin credentials to see this issue live (with support access I can get directly to your wp-admin without entering credentials to log in)?
    If support access is not enough could you please send in the following via our secure contact form :

    - Mark to my attention, the subject line should contain only: ATTN: Kasia Swiderska
    - Do not include anything else in the subject line, doing so may delay our response due to how email filtering works.
    - Link back to this thread
    - Include WordPress network admin access details (login address, username & password)
    - Include any relevant URLs for your site

    IMPORTANT: Please make sure you select "I have a different question" for your topic, so it doesn't go back to the forums - this and the subject line ensure that it gets assigned to me.

    kind regards,

  • madivad

    Thanks Kasia, I didn't expect such a quick response, so I've actually shutdown for this evening, but in short:

    I haven't used that flow chart for this problem only because it's so intermittent. I can log out of the system and try and of back in and it works without fail at all. I've even logged out of both systems, ie network and original site and tried to replicate the issue by logging back into the subsite, re attempting the update (usually where it starts), which takes me to the network login and it doesn't happen. Even tried a different browser. It's driving me nuts.

    I did know about debug and debug display, but not logging to a file. Not sure how I missed that one. I'll set that up tomorrow and let it run till it happens again and immediately check it.

    I'm not terribly concerned because AFAICT it fails, but then, that doesn't mean that it doesn't succeed on subsequent logins. Hmmmm. .

    I've just enabled logging to a log file. I'll see how that goes and check it the next time it fails.


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