On our production and staging servers, we're seeing the "WordPress News" feed show an error:

wordpress news error

After poking around in the WP codebase a bit, I've discovered that this is stored in the wp_options table as a "transient cache". I went ahead and deleted those caches in the database (and also tried deletion via the Transient API), but the feed continues to fail to load and then rewrites the failed cache at each load so the error persists.

My question is, what exactly is this feed load operation doing that it would fail on certain servers? My initial guess is that it's trying to write some sort of filesystem cache as well as the transient cache and there's probably a permissions error or something there.

Thoughts? This is the only place in the admin or site where this is happening AFAICT.

  • It seems as though the outbound API call is what's actually failing. Can you install Query Monitor on one of the sites? That plugin will catch any failed HTTP requests and verify whether the outbound request is being blocked. You may need to clear the transients and then reload the page to trigger a new request in order to catch it.
    – Jared Cobb
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Since you mentioned that this is only happening on certain environments then a possible cause could be that those servers do not have the proper PHP extensions installed to handle parsing XML.

Here's a great Stack Exchange answer that outlines most (if not all) of the required extensions.

Specifically, I would confirm whether or not SimpleXML and XML Parser are installed and functioning properly. Maybe use a phpinfo plugin to check that quickly.

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