Baffling WordPress Bug – Help?

6167255518_7949376c48_bA frustrating WordPress bug is blighting my Sunday, and I need some help.

A reader has tipped me to a problem that I can’t solve, so I am throwing myself on the mercy of the the interwebs.

The problem is as simple as it is baffling:

  • Readers are no longer getting email notifications of new comments after they subscribe to a post’s comment thread.
  • This problem is affecting both the “Subscribe to Comments” plugin and it is affecting the JetPack/ subscription feature.
  • Neither is sending emails.

And to make things more interesting, my blog can no longer send trackback/pingbacks to other sites (I can receive but not send).

I’ve tried disabling all the plugins, and I also flushed the cache. That didn’t work.

My google-fu is failing me, so I thought I would post this publicly and see if anyone has encountered a similar bug, and might know a solution.

image by smswigart

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. R?zvan T. Coloja13 September, 2015

    The solution might be to reduce the list of servers you ping or increase the timeout to something like 4-5 minutes.

    1. Nate Hoffelder13 September, 2015

      I’m on shared WP hosting. Is this something I can fix myself, or do I have to complain to my webhost?

  2. Anna13 September, 2015

    I had that problem once too (the email problem) I added a couple of addons to test send emails and test smtp settings. Turned out email settings on my webhosting where wrong. Have you recently updated to a newer version of a firewall plugin perhaps? Sucuri and all-in-one-firewall gave me some trouble regarding pingbacks (luckily on my staging websitea)… Hope you will fix it 😉

    1. Nate Hoffelder13 September, 2015

      I don’t think I’ve changed anything, but my webhost might have.

  3. R?zvan T. Coloja13 September, 2015

    I think you should contact your webhosting provider and ask if they updated something recently (PHP itself maybe or a PHP library).

    1. Nate Hoffelder13 September, 2015

      Based on your suggestion, I have started a support ticket, yes.

      Thanks for the pointer!

  4. Maria (BearMountainBooks)13 September, 2015

    I had a problem where I wasn’t being notified of comments on my own website–turns out that yahoo had blacklisted the web hosting server. They had marked everything from there as spam. We had to mess with things to find an error message and basically found that the receiving mail server was blocking.

  5. Maria (BearMountainBooks)13 September, 2015

    There is a list of servers out on the internets somewhere that have been blacklisted by major players (yahoo, google, etc). You might want to see if your web server has been “added” to that list.

    1. Nate Hoffelder13 September, 2015

      Thanks, Maria!


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