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I have a very simple AJAX function that works fine when logged in as admin, but when logged in as a subscriber the call to admin-ajax.php returns a html page with the header and footer of my theme, and that's it.

By doing some wolf fencing I've tracked it down to line 37 of admin-ajax.php do_action( 'admin_init' );. It gets there and just returns.

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Please post all of your code. It sounds like you have something hooked incorrectly but it is impossible to say for sure without more information. – s_ha_dum Feb 11 '13 at 14:21

If an AJAX function does not work properly, in most cases you forgot to allow Users with no or little privileges to access the function.

Adding the Callback Function is quite simple:

add_action('wp_ajax_my_action', 'my_action_callback');

Now you need to do the same thing for the "not-so-privileged" users:

add_action('wp_ajax_nopriv_my_action', 'my_action_callback');

With these two lines everything should work as expected.

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No dice. It doesn't get as far as deciding whether or not it should be using "nopriv" callbacks (this happens at the very end of admin-ajax.php). I just gets to admin_init and fails there. – Mark Webster Feb 11 '13 at 11:00
Try deactivating all Plugins, and see if the Problem still exists. And try switching back to TwentyTwelve. – fischi Feb 11 '13 at 20:10

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