WordPress instance is broken: Decoding failed: Syntax error


2016-11-16 12:41:09 UTC


2017-08-17 03:09:24 UTC


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WordPress instance is broken: Decoding failed: Syntax error

Applicable to:

  • Plesk 12.5 for Linux
  • Plesk 12.0 for Windows
  • Plesk 12.0 for Linux
  • Plesk 12.5 for Windows

Note: This article has the reference to the issue with the fix available:

  • #PPPM-4442 "WordPress installs put into maintenance mode using a WordPress plugin could no longer be managed via the WordPress Toolkit."
    Fixed in:
Please consider updating your server:


When accessing WordPress installation under Home > Subscriptions > example.com > Applications > Manage My Applications the following error appears:

Decoding failed: Syntax error


  • To find the cause of the issue execute the following command:
    # /usr/local/psa/admin/bin/wpmng --user=subscription-user -- --path=/var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs core info --format=json


  • Check Apache /var/www/vhosts/system/example.com/logs/error_log log for the issued domain.


For example:

  • the command mentioned above was executed:

    [root@server ~]# /usr/local/psa/admin/bin/wpmng --user=subscription-user -- --path=/var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs core info --format=json
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html lang="de-DE" id="wp_maintenance_mode">
    <title>Reethdach Ferienhaus</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
    <meta name="author" content="WP Maintenance Mode: Frank Bueltge, http://example.com" />
    <meta name="description" content="Reethdach Ferienanwesen - Neu renovierte Reethdachhäuser mit Sprossenfenstern, viel Charme und Licht!" />
    <meta name="keywords" content="Maintenance Mode" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index, follow" />
    <link rel="Shortcut Icon" type="image/x-icon" href="http://example.com/favicon.ico" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.example.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-maintenance-mode/css/jquery.countdown.css" media="all" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.example.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-maintenance-mode/styles/ks.css" type="text/css" media="all" />

    As can be seen, there is stub page on main website page from 'WP Maintenance Mode' WordPress plugin (if such plugin is enabled in the WordPress instance, WordPress Toolkit will not recognize it). To resolve the issue disable the plugin:

    # mv /var/www/vhosts/example.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/wp-maintenance-mode/wp-maintenance-mode.php{,.bak}
  • The following error can be found in /var/www/vhosts/system/example.com/logs/error_log file:

    [root@server ~]# tail -f /var/www/vhosts/system/example.com/logs/error_log
    PHP Parse error: syntax error, unexpected '*' in /var/www/vhosts/example.com/wp-config.php on line 93

    As can be seen from the error, /var/www/vhosts/example.com/wp-config.php file should have correct syntax.

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