Jetpack JSON API failed to activate bug solution

So, this is actually the part 2 of my problems concerning DigitalOcean WordPress 1-click-app and JetPack (about the first issue you can read here). If you read my first post you found out what I had to do in order to activate the Jetpack. All seemed fine and I could see the stats from WordPress installed on DigitalOcean droplet on my account and even some of the active things were working (like Photon or Contact Form).

But, when I wanted to turn on some of the Jetpack modules that I have previously turned off (or that were turned off by default) it didn’t work. For example I wanted to turn off and then turn back on JSON API at General settings tab. When I turned it off it looked like it “worked” (no error messages) but when I wanted to turn it back on I was getting following error message (and the slider won’t go to active position):

JSON API failed to activate. SyntaxError: Unexpected toket < in JSON at position 0


When trying to activate some other Jetpack module I would also get this error:

SyntaxError: JSON Parse error: Unrecognized token ‘<‘” error

I was also unable to disconnect the Jetpack using the account and this was only possible if I would disable Jetpack at plugins and re-enable it again. Then I would have to re-connect it with my WordPress account and it’s a loop but the results were the same. It didn’t work!

I have contacted Jetpack support but their help was similar to Microsoft support (restart the computer and try again), or in Jetpack case: disable all plugins and try reconnecting again. Since Jetpack support was unable to help me after we have exchanged couple of emails I have decided to dig deeper into this on my own. DigitalOcean community also wasn’t helpful since I found just one comment about someone having the same problem as I do but there were no reply or solution.

So I have opened Chrome debugger and have noticed that when I try to activate the JSON API it actually tries to make a POST call to url: /wp-json/jetpack/v4/module/json-api/activate:


and the result is 404 – the standard 404 page! Since there files on that path and WordPress installation doesn’t have wp-json folder at all I figured out that this is mod_rewrite path so I knew in what direction to focus my exploration. I’d like to mention here that this also happened on brand new, zero days blogs, no plugins installed, default theme: basically on out of the box WordPress installations. Also permalinks worked so mod_rewrite was working normally (or it appeared to be working normally), and that made the situation even more confusing.

Out of pure despair I tried re-enabling mod_rewrite and restarting apache:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo service apache2 restart

And it FU*KIN WORKED!!! 

I have tired this on my other 5 or 6 sites hosted on DigitalOcean and it worked on all of them! I hope that some one from Jetpack or some geeks from DigitalOcean will see this post. I’d love to hear more about this issue. How is possible that mod_rewrite is working without being enabled on Apache or if it’s enabled why it doesn’t work for Jetpack plugin? I’m puzzled and I’d like some explanation.

Also I have one more bug that I don’t know how to solve. When I login to these WordPress admins I have this error on every (admin) page I load in my debugger:

Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property ‘type’ of undefined(…)

This traces back to… as you can see in detail on this screenshot:


Update: 05th December 2016
Now Jetpack is works normally on my DigitalOcean droplets, but on some occasions while setting up the Jetpack options I saw this message: Warning! Multibyte support missing!


This means that multi-byte support php module was not installed. To get it installed simply install package php-mbstring using apt-get (or yum in case you’re using CentOS/RHEL Linux), restart Apache and you’re good to go!

sudo apt-get install php-mbstring
sudo service apache2 restart

PHP multibyte should now be installed and these messages should no longer appear.

Images won’t center align in WordPress

If you click on the image and hit the Align Center icon inside the editor, it will give to that image a class named “aligncenter” (or left “alignleft” and right to be “alignright” in case you align it left or right) and it will look good in the editor. In some cases once you save the changes and go to check how the image looks on the site you can notice that it’s not properly aligned and instead of being centered your image is right aligned.

This issue occurs on some themes while it works fine on the other (it works nice on the default WordPress theme) and the reason for that is that the theme doesn’t define these aligncenter (or alignleft and alignright) classes in CSS. These are introduced with WordPress 2.5 so some older themes are usually lack this and thus don’t work as expected.

There are some workarounds to solve this issue, but the best one is to just edit default styles.css and add the following css classes in it:

/* =WordPress Core
-------------------------------------------------------------- */
.alignnone {
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

div.aligncenter {
    display: block;
    margin: 5px auto 5px auto;

.alignright {
    margin: 5px 0 20px 20px;

.alignleft {
    float: left;
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

a img.alignright {
    float: right;
    margin: 5px 0 20px 20px;

a img.alignnone {
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

a img.alignleft {
    float: left;
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

a img.aligncenter {
    display: block;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto

.wp-caption {
    background: #fff;
    border: 1px solid #f0f0f0;
    max-width: 96%; /* Image does not overflow the content area */
    padding: 5px 3px 10px;
    text-align: center;

.wp-caption.alignnone {
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

.wp-caption.alignleft {
    margin: 5px 20px 20px 0;

.wp-caption.alignright {
    margin: 5px 0 20px 20px;

.wp-caption img {
    border: 0 none;
    height: auto;
    margin: 0;
    max-width: 98.5%;
    padding: 0;
    width: auto;

.wp-caption p.wp-caption-text {
    font-size: 11px;
    line-height: 17px;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0 4px 5px;

/* Text meant only for screen readers. */
.screen-reader-text {
	clip: rect(1px, 1px, 1px, 1px);
	position: absolute !important;
	height: 1px;
	width: 1px;
	overflow: hidden;

.screen-reader-text:focus {
	background-color: #f1f1f1;
	border-radius: 3px;
	box-shadow: 0 0 2px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);
	clip: auto !important;
	color: #21759b;
	display: block;
	font-size: 14px;
	font-size: 0.875rem;
	font-weight: bold;
	height: auto;
	left: 5px;
	line-height: normal;
	padding: 15px 23px 14px;
	text-decoration: none;
	top: 5px;
	width: auto;
	z-index: 100000; /* Above WP toolbar. */


You can add the code anywhere in the file, but the end of the file is probably your safe bet. Once you save the changes you can reload the site and your images should now be aligned same way as in your editor.


Tags: wordpress wont centre

JetPack can’t connect to DigitalOcean WordPress 1-click app installation

You made your WordPress blog using DigitalOcean 1-click apps, you have installed Jetpack WordPress plugin but you can’t activate. Instead you’re getting this message:

Error Details: The Jetpack server was unable to communicate with your site [HTTP 500]. Ask your web host if they allow connections from…


But the problem is not with the communication between and your DigitalOcean droplet. The problem is with the fact that following php modules were not installed: php7.0-xml and php7.0-xmlrpc.

No we can argue why these were not installed by default: it might be due the fact that this way WordPress XML-RPC will not function and this would automatically reduce the amounts of spam on your blog (more likely) or that that the system would perform (slightly) better without these two modules (less likely) but in order for JetPack to work we need to install these two modules and to restart the apache.

Here are the commands you need to execute in console in order for it to work:

sudo apt-get install php7.0-xml php7.0-xmlrpc
sudo service apache2 restart


After you have done this logout out of your WordPress, then login back again and try once again to connect your Jetpack plugin. I hope it will work out for you since it just did it for me on more than 10 different droplets!

How to solve wp-cron.php high CPU usage?

It is known that wp-cron.php file can cause high CPU usage on high traffic WordPress sites. This can also occur on sites hosted on shared or VPS hosting when they receive more traffic than usual at short period of time (traffic spikes).

Typically, every page load calls wp-cron.php to be executed and to run any tasks that are scheduled to be executed (like posting scheduled posts, plugin or theme updates, clearing caches on various caching plugins, sending email notifications etc). This basically asks WordPress: Is it time do do anything now? And then WordPress checks for pending tasks and if there’s nothing to do typically answers with: sorry, but there’s nothing to to at this moment… Try a bit later… and this probably happens in 99% cases. So this wp-cron.php literally nags WordPress all the time with those requests. On low traffic sites, this is perfectly fine but on high traffic sites (or sites with traffic spikes) this can cause higher resource usage, make problems with your hosting (vps/server) and decrease your site performance.

Best way to prevent this wp-cron.php activity is to stop it from running the default way (on every site visit) and then just run it using cron when according your needs.

To stop WordPress from executing wp-cron.php after every page visit, simply add this single line to the end of your wp-config.php file:

define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', 'true');

That’s it! This will lower the CPU/resource usage instantly. But it’s not recommended to never execute wp-cron.php since your WordPress plugins and themes won’t be updated and your scheduled posts won’t be posted etc.

Here is the commands that you can use to run wp-cron.php using a real cron:

/usr/bin/wget -q -O - >/dev/null 2>&1

There’s no general rule as for the frequency of this cronjob since every site and setup is different. Everything from once per day to every minute is fine but it really depends on your system. If you have tasks that run every 10 or 15 minutes you should probably setup cron to run every 5 minutes. It’s still quite frequent but it won’t happen that you get several cron runs in couple of seconds.

To setup cron at cPanel hosted site login at cPanel, click on Cron Jobs icons and there add a new cronjob like this:


How to disable xmlrpc.php?

While monitoring my system I have notices increased number of requests to xmlrpc.php. Every single of those requests took 200MB to 205MB of ram and resulted in system instability and in few occasions it caused my 8GB Digital Ocean Droplet to go out of memory and eventually crashed leaving all my sites not working for some 10hours or so.

Recently I’ve read that many hackers now use xmlrpc.php instead of wp-login.php to execute their brute force attacks. And the problem is – since WordPress 3.5 you can’t disable the use of xmlrpc, at least not from the WordPress control panel.

There are many ways to do that and I’ll write some:

1. Deleting xmlrpc.php file
This is really not recommended. Also after WordPress (auto)update the deleted file will be replaced so it’s not really smart to do this, but I just wanted to write this just in case someone doesn’t try to do this.

2. Plugins
There are several plugins that can do this. I found these two to be the most used ones: Disable XML-RPC and  XML-RPC Pinkback. Both plugins are really basic (only couple lines of code) but they should be able to help you out and protect your blog against those attacks.

3. Adding filter to theme functions.php file
This is basically same thing as the plugin above, but you have one plugin less. All you need to do is to edit your theme’s functions.php and add these couple of lines:

function remove_x_pingback($headers) {
    return $headers;
add_filter('wp_headers', 'remove_x_pingback');
add_filter('xmlrpc_enabled', '__return_false');

4. Block access at .htaccess
You can simply add this one line of code to your .htaccess file and block the access to the xmlrpc.php file entirely. User accessing the xmlrpc.php will get the 403 Forbidden error.

<Files xmlrpc.php>
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all

5. Blocking access in nginx
If you are running nginx instead of Apache you should add this code to your nginx configuration:

server {
    location = /xmlrpc.php {
        deny all;

6. Block on entire server
If you have one server or VPS with tens of hundreds of WordPress installations (like me) any of the solutions above will take time to implement. So the best thing to do is to block access to xmlrpc.php file on Apache level, simply by adding this to httpd.conf file:

<FilesMatch "^(xmlrpc\.php)">
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all

Or even better adding this code (that also blocks wp-trackback.php and also prevent’s trackback hacking attempts).

<FilesMatch "^(xmlrpc\.php|wp-trackback\.php)">
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all

If you don’t use XML-RPC than you can safely disable it using any of the methods above (except the first one, of-course) and protect your blog against xmlrpc hacks.

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