One of the worst possible problems that a webmaster can face is a WordPress fatal error. When this occurs, you will typically lose access to your dashboard or back end and will typically have no other option than to restore a backup of your website to regain functionality. If you don’t have a backup system in effect, you can see how this might cause problems. With an upcoming update, however, WordPress is hoping to make this problem a thing of the past by implementing fatal error protection.
While originally slated for release as part of the WordPress 5.1 update, fatal error protection was ultimately pushed back due to several security concerns that were discovered. Multiple follow-up tickets were created to remedy these problems to ensure a stable release once ready. However, a new approach required more time to successfully implement the functionality.
The primary goal of providing fatal error protection is to allow an administrator to still access the backend of their website even if a fatal error has occurred that stops functionality on the front end. This is great news for webmasters! For instance, if you perform regular updates on your website and a new plugin release causes your website to crash, you will still have the ability to access the backend to replace the plugin or fix the problem.
Not only can this minimize downtime, but it will also allow an easier way to protect your website against fatal errors. Even if you have to temporarily disable the plugin to regain functionality, you can have your website up and running in a matter of minutes, instead of going through the lengthy process of restoring a backup and hoping you haven’t lost any information. However, this isn’t the only benefit of this crucial update.
Another secondary benefit of WordPress fatal error protection is the ability of webmasters to quickly and efficiently pinpoint fatal errors as they occur to provide the best experience possible for their website visitors. Once a fatal error occurs following an update, webmasters will now be notified that an error has occurred that impacts the usability of their website to ensure a quick recovery. This occurs even if no other users have accessed your website in the given time frame.
While this isn’t explicitly error-logging, it does provide valuable insight into the root cause of any problems that have occurred on your website. Developers primarily use error logging in order to determine what went wrong with a plugin or other software to find a solution and create a working version. However, the implementation of fatal error protection can help these developers quickly fix the problems and be notified at the moment they occur through user feedback.
One of the biggest advantages of fatal error protection is the guidance it provides non-technical users to quickly pinpoint their problem and correct it as needed. Through this new approach, entering a recovery mode to diagnose and mitigate problems will be much more efficient and user-friendly. This dedication to easy-to-use functionality is what has made WordPress one of the most trusted content management systems available.
With over two decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience, Matthew Maennche’s views on developing and supporting a successful business are fundamentally different from the norm. As a developer and strategist, Maennche has helped thousands of businesses of all sizes, both domestic and international, take their organizations to the next level.
Matthew also spends time giving back to the local business community as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the local chapter of SCORE.