Tag Archives: certificates

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 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)


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.

Get free SSL certificates from startssl

SSL certificates can be a pain, especially if you have to pay for them. It turs out you can get free SSL certificates from startssl.com, though, so at least your wallet doesn’t have to suffer!

In order to create an account with them, head over to https://www.startssl.com/ Their account creation process is a little strange. Follow their instructions for generating a certificate for authentication (they don’t use passwords.)

Note: if you are getting frustrated because you follow their certificate login process only to have your browser tell you there is no cert it’s likely due to some caching of the certificate error page in your browser. Clear cache and cookies (or open a browser in incognito / privacy mode) and try again to log in.

First, validate your domain using their validation wizard. Once your domain is validated, head over to the Certificates wizard to generate a certificate.

I don’t trust any website that generates private SSL keys for you, so I recommend you create your own with the openssl command (steps copied from my sophos SSL certificate tutorial) and skip the creation step on their website.

  1. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) by creating a key and using it to generate the CSR
  2. openssl genrsa -aes256 -out <keyname>.key 2048
    openssl req -new -key keyname.key -out csrname.csr

2. Copy the content of the csr file into the CSR form box and click Next

3. If you’re lucky, you’ll be provided the key files immediately. Sometimes it takes a few hours for them to approve the certificate creation first.

4. Once the certificate is created, head over to Toolbox / Retrieve certificate. After selecting the appropriate certificate, copy everything in the box and paste it into a crt file.

5. Obtain Startcom’s intermediate and root CA files by going to Toolbox / Startcom CA Certificates. Download the “Server Certificate Bundle with CRLs” file.

6. Combine the generated certificate and Startcom certificate bundle into a single file:

cat ca-bundle.pem generated_crt_file.crt  > combined.crt

Sometimes you will need to wait 6-12 hours after getting key before installing it. This allows for OCSP to propagate as explained here. If you get certificate errors after installing, this may be the cause.

7. Profit.