PHP issues and WordPress

Whenever I’ve logged in to this blog’s WordPress dashboard during the past few days, I’ve been greeted with two error messages across the top of the screen.

This one –

XML-RPC Error:-32300:transport error – HTTP status code was not 200

Or this one –

XML-RPC Error:-32300:transport error – could not open socket: 110 Connection timed out

A Google search on either term throws up some articles, although not enough to help me understand what the error means or what’s causing it.

Email to my hosting service Dreamhost‘s support hasn’t yet produced a meaningful answer.

Then I read a post from Thursday on the Dreamhost Status blog that started with this:

Many of you have noticed that in the last 24 hours that your Mediawiki, WordPress, or Zen Cart install was not working inexplicably. Customers may have found either internal server errors or completely blank pages. This is due to a problem we had with a PHP5/Zend Optimizer upgrade.

I experienced completely blank pages on the blog earlier in the week.

And another post late Thursday on the Dreamhost status blog included this:

[…] We have re-scheduled the php5 upgrade for February 19th. Here is a list of software that will be affected by this upgrade and steps for you to take to insure that your site is not affected by this upgrade. […] – WordPress versions under 2.1. Any version of wordpress under 2.1 will have problems after the upgrade to php 5.2.

I’ve added the bold emphasis as I’m still running WordPress 2.0.7 here, not yet upgraded to the latest version 2.1.

This blog uses PHP version 5.1.2. It looks like I need to either upgrade to WordPress 2.1 or downgrade PHP to version 4 before the 19th. Upgrading WordPress makes far better sense, especially as the latest PHP version is a major stability and security enhancement. But still being on the road and travelling during the coming week means that I can’t see it happening before that date.

I hope the blog doesn’t fall over.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Michael Klusek


    I just upgraded last week to 2.1 myself. Not that painful. Only issue is remembering where you made mods to code if any. And some plug in might be problematic so check for latest versions first.

    I am managing 4 sites with different templates so a plug in that may be broke in one is fine in another.

    A nice feature in 2.1 is a post editor with tabs for wysiwyg and code.

  2. neville

    I’m not actually concerned about upgrading to 2.1, more about the version of the K2 theme I use on this blog which will have problems under WP 2.1. If I want to continue with this theme, I’ll need to upgrade it as well.

    I’ve been pondering on it over on my sandbox.

    None of the plugins I use has any reported problems with 2.1. I don’t use UTW, Simon.

    And I’m assuming that the issues I mentioned in this post are to do with PHP. Coincidental if not, it seems to me.

    Need to do something about this next weekend, I think, when I’m back in the UK.

  3. WordPress Wednesday: Easter Eggs, Editor Extras, WordPress Plugins, and more WordPress 2.1 at The Blog Herald

    […] PHP 5.2 Upgrades and WordPress: A lot of people using Dreamhost and other hosting services ran into some unusual errors this past week. They upgraded PHP and it seems that PHP 5.2 is lacking some backwards compatibility. Neville Hobson, Matt Mullenweg, and others have shared information on this. According to Dreamhost, any version of WordPress under version 2.1 will have problems after they fix the upgrade to PHP 5.2 and they offer some tips on what to do. […]

  4. Paul Woodhouse

    I’ve just had two weeks of hoop jumping since upgrading to 2.1 from 1.5.2 after google decided to index all the mobile page versions of the old blog for some weird reason.

    Every day has seen a different issue crop up that needed tweaking until MySQL decided to pack in and not restart last night. Fortunately, I’ve got a lovely host, but I was sweating a bit.

    Either you have to keep on top of things or you have the odd major spring clean once in a while with regards to WP. Whichever way you look at it it takes up a bit of time. And I actually enjoy the tweaking.

    The only thing that worked better after the upgrade was the bloody theme and it certainly shouldn’t have done. My fantastico details had disappeared two server moves previously, but it wasn’t that difficult to find out how to sort out how to do it again without going the manual route. I’m a lazy bugger.

    Do you have anything other to do than replace the header image and sort out the sidebar again, Neville? Is the sidebar widgetised? Is the moon made of cream cheese?

    Oh, and does this help any with your xml-rpc error?

    As the error message appeared in the top section of the admin panel, where the results of the PJW WordPress Version Check plugin normally appeared, I had the idea to disable that plugin to see if it was the cause of the problem. Bingo. It was.

    And thanks for reminding me to fix UTW, Simon. ;-)

  5. neville

    Looks like you’ll need to jump a few more hoops, Paul, as there’s a bugfix version 2.1.1 just released.

    You’re ahead of me, though – I have yet to start the jump. My main issue is re the K2 theme, the version of which that’s currently here does not work with WP 2.1. There is a new version which does and which I’m playing around with on my sandbox blog.

    I need to stop dithering about this and just get on with it!

  6. Paul Woodhouse

    I have a testblog that I use to mess about with themes prior to this kind of thing.

    If you can replicate this theme on your sandbox then just port it over once you’ve tested it.

    The actual upgrade process was a doddle and went much smoother than I anticipated.

    Just wait until fantastico updates its download to 2.1.1 and in the meantime work on this theme in your sandbox and there’ll be no more dithering and less fretting.

    Although, don’t quote me on that. ;-)

  7. neville

    I’ve updated my test blog to 2.1.1 (and this blog to 2.0.9), all very smooth.

    Thanks for the kick-in-the-pants to just get on with it! No more dithering! This weekend is the time!

  8. neville

    Thanks, Dreamhost.

    FYI, this blog’s been running on PHP version 5.2.1 since the upgrade, with no ill effect at all. I have not yet upgraded WordPress to a version above 2.1.

    So what was “Any version of wordpress under 2.1 will have problems after the upgrade to php 5.2” all about?

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