WordPress 4.3 is (Unintentionally) Evil: A Site Update

I don’t throw the word “evil” around lightly, but the ten days since WordPress issued its 4.3 update have been a royal pain around here. And the software bugs are causing me enough trouble that I figured I should let my readers know why I’m not publishing as often as usual.

You may have noticed a few things broken on the front end of the site (the part readers see). I can’t get “top posts” to work, for instance. But on the back end where I’m working, it’s way, way messier. Some basic elements of the blog are broken thanks to the new WordPress. It’s a long, tedious process to fix everything (follow this link if you’re having the same problems and need a plain-language explanation).

For instance, it’s now virtually impossible for me to include images in new posts. Getting that picture above was a major epic.

I can’t go through a major epic every time I want to insert a screenshot! Oh, WordPress, you’re breaking my heart!

The good news is that I’m not the only person on the web having trouble with 4.3. The new update included a change that affects a large number of plugins. And even though “plug ins” sound optional, these extra pieces of code actually do a lot of the heavy lifting on a site like K-Drama Today.

Plugins allow me to keep track of a media library with thousands of images and to cache the site content on a fast server in Singapore, so that readers hopefully don’t have to wait 20 seconds for a recap to load. (Plugins also do some fun stuff, like give us the cute black and aqua “K” in the browser tab.)

WordPress is free website design software, developed in the belief that anyone should be able to share their ideas online. (The fact that it’s free is important because most bloggers never make a dime. We just want someone to read us.) It has a reasonable learning curve at the beginning and a lot of flexibility for advanced users.

I generally love WordPress. I was excited that Na Bong-Sun of Oh My Ghostess uses WordPress. Her site dashboard looks almost the same as mine (check it out above). Seeing her typing away, I felt at one with mankind, part of a noble society of bloggers around the world.

But with the 4.3 update, I feel like I need to hire a full-time computer scientist just to get it working right. Should I just go back to the earlier version of WordPress and refuse to update?

Unfortunately, I can’t do that either. Because WordPress is popular, hackers are always trying to exploit its security flaws. One of the big surprises of starting a blog was seeing messages like this on the dashboard:

The “malicious attacks” come in waves. For awhile, folks in Iraq were trying to hack in. Yes, I had my own little cyber-war with ISIS.

So is it true that WordPress 4.3 is evil? Unintentionally, yes. But it’s not as evil as ISIS.

Updates like 4.3 keep us one step ahead of the hackers, by fixing security flaws. If I didn’t update, I would be dooming K-Drama Today to a limited life span.

Don’t worry: this site has life in her yet! But it’s going to take awhile to fix everything. Last week I fixed the caching plug-ins. My goal this week: get images to work again. I’m working on a piece about Funny Hats, and what’s a piece about Funny Hats without pictures?!?

Until I get things fixed, thanks for your patience! ♥

11 thoughts on “WordPress 4.3 is (Unintentionally) Evil: A Site Update

  1. I haven’t experienced as many problems yet with the update, but I started getting lots of hacking attempts last week. Why oh why would anyone (or thing) want to hack my itty bitty blog I will never know. But I had to disable some features and I still don’t know when or if I will find the time to figure out how to restore the features without making the blog vulnerable to those specific hacking attempts again. Blogging is wayyyy more technical than I ever knew. Definitely not for the faint of heart—especially considering (as you pointed out) that most of us do not get paid for it. *sigh*

    Good luck fixing things though!

    • Hi Elle! I’m so glad the update went relatively smooth for your site. It looks great right now (I don’t notice any features “missing”) and I think you’ve convinced me to give Yongpal a shot. I find it kinda hard to think of Joo Won as a doctor (he looks so young!). But if you’re recommending it, I’m going to give it a look. (And how can I not be curious with its ever-rising ratings.) I’ll let you know what I think!

      The hacking attempts are weird. It was a surprise to learn that just using a big platform like WordPress makes us targets. Every day I discover new weird stuff happening on the site, and sometimes I can figure it out, but not always. Like the spring’s wave of zero-second visits from highly dubious Russian sites. What was that all about?

      I’m sorry you had to disable some stuff. I’m finding the update pretty frustrating and I sympathize. “Not for the faint of heart” just about sums it up. What are we doing?!? 🙂 Thanks so much for the encouragement! I will at least get the pictures to work again, darn it.

  2. I saw your post that things are up & running again around here. Yay!

    As for Yong Pal, I agree. Joo Won looks super young to be a doctor. When you do the math, he barely squeaks by, but I guess it’s possible that he could be a resident at his age. Who knows!?

    As far as giving it a shot, don’t hold me to that recommendation. I do think they did a good job w/the first 6 episodes. If episodes 7 & 8 are any indication, things look to be about to slow down. Coupled with the 4-episode rumored extension, I’m starting to worry that things are going to fall off track a bit. Fingers crossed though.

    • Good question! The dot-com version avoids update problems, but it doesn’t let me do as much with the website. The dot-com and dot-org versions are totally different. I do use the dot-com site occasionally for another site I have, and I find it really frustrating. The interface is very basic. Most of the time, the dot-org version is way better. That’s why my soul sister Na Bong-Sun uses the dot-org version! Another cool thing about the dot-org is that it’s easier to find my site. Google gives a boost to sites that have their own domain name. So it’s a choice. I generally love, love, love WordPress, and I’ll stick with them. But I feel bad during the weeks when I can’t write anything because I’m so busy fixing stuff! I’d rather be posting stuff for you guys! 🙂

        • The dot-org software is totally free. The people at WordPress are really committed to that. BUT the dot-org method means paying some outside company for a domain registration and hosting. The dot-com doesn’t require paying anything up front for hosting. Instead, they just insert ads of their choosing into your site in locations of their choosing. You don’t have any control over the advertising your readers see, and you can’t change the layout. So there are pros and cons both ways. As Yong Pal would say, everything costs money one way or another.

    • I’m not sure what would cause a problem like that, but the folks at the WordPress forums are amazing at answering questions (though they are all volunteers so please be nice to them!). Try asking them at https://wordpress.org/support/.

      Only one suggestion I have: If nothing’s happening when you click the log-in button, not even an error message, something is probably going wrong with your browser and browser plug-ins. Try reinstalling the latest version of your internet browser (chrome, firefox or whatever) and make sure you don’t have any firewall plug-ins turned on. Good luck!

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