Fix wordpress PHP change was reverted error

Since WordPress 4.9 I’ve had a peculiar issue when trying to edit theme files using the web GUI. Whenever I tried to save changes I would get this error message:

Unable to communicate back with site to check for fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted. You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP.

After following this long thread I saw the suggestion to install and use the Health Check plugin to get more information into why this is happening. In my case I kept getting this error message:

The loopback request to your site failed, this may prevent WP_Cron from working, along with theme and plugin editors.<br>Error encountered: (0) cURL error 28: Connection timed out after 10001 milliseconds

I researched what a loopback request is in this case. It’s the webserver reaching out to its own site’s url to talk to itself. My webserver was being denied internet access, which included its own URL, so it couldn’t complete the loopback request.

One solution, mentioned here, is to edit the hosts file on your webserver to point to 127.0.0.1 for the URL of your site. My solution was to open up the firewall to allow my server to connect to its URL. I then ran into a different problem:

The loopback request to your site failed, this may prevent WP_Cron from working, along with theme and plugin editors.<br>Error encountered: (0) cURL error 60: Peer's Certificate issuer is not recognized.

After digging for a while I found this site which explains how to edit php.ini to point to an acceptable certificate list. To fix this on my Cent7 machine I edited /etc/php.ini and added this line (you could also add it to /etc/php.d/curl.ini)

curl.cainfo="/etc/pki/tls/cert.pem"

This caused php’s curl module to use the same certificate trust store that the underlying OS uses.

Then restart php-fpm if you’re using it:

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm

Success! Loopback connections now work properly.


Update 7/16/2018: I still had a wordpress site that was giving me certificate grief despite the above fix. After MUCH frustration I finally found this post where André Gayle points out that wordpress ships with its own certificate bundle, independent of even curl’s ca bundle! It’s located in your wordpress directory/wp-includes/certificates folder.

My solution to this extremely frustrating problem was to remove their bundle and symlink to my own (Cent 7 box – adjust your path to match where your wordpress install and certificate trust store is located)

sudo mv /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt.old
sudo ln -s /etc/pki/tls/cert.pem /var/www/html/wordpress/wp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt

FINALLY no more loopback errors in the Health Check plugin, and thus the ability to edit theme files in the editor.

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