An awesome feature was added to WordPress 5.2 that created a recovery mode when a fatal error on the site occurs. Prior to adding this feature, a fatal error would cause a blank white screen with no further information on the problem. Solving the issue required digging through server error logs if available, or manually disabling plugins and themes.
Now instead of a white screen, when a fatal error occurs you’ll get this screen:
The two pieces of information that are critical here: First the simple fact that there’s been an error, and two – to check your site admin email for instructions.
WordPress now sends an email to the site administrator with information about the error, and a tokenized link to be able to get back into the site. This link is a one-time login to recovery mode. It allows you to log into the site admin by disabling what ever plugin, theme, or extension is causing the issue.
Once logged in you’ll see a couple of notifications and an option to Exit Recovery Mode:
How you solve the issue from this point depends on the actual issue, but at least you’re not locked out of the site.
Site Administrator Email?
By default, the recover mode email goes to the site administrator email, which is set in Settings > General > Administration Email Address.
But what if you don’t have access to that email? Or what if it was set to the developers email address, or someone who no longer is associated with the site? Luckily there is a workaround.
Define recovery mode email address
This is the workaround to set a separate address for the recovery email. You will need access to the site files either through SFTP or your hosting panel. In the
wp-config.php , add the following:
define( 'RECOVERY_MODE_EMAIL', 'email@example.com' );
You should now get an email at the newly defined address as well as the original administrator email.
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