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      Troubleshooting Network Issues – IPv4 and IPv6


      A successful internet circuit from host-to-host usually involves many components: from an application in one host, to an application in the desired target host. This tutorial covers troubleshooting connectivity between apps, and their hosts, whether over IPv4, IPv6, or an IPv6 tunnel over IPv4.

      Applications are usually chained to the network stack and capabilities of the host, therefore troubleshooting communications requires troubleshooting through the layers of the ISO OSI stack: through the host network communications layers, through the network interface card, then along the network path, through gateways, routers, and switches, until it meets the target host.

      It involves a working electrical circuit, correct host protocol information, correctly supplied information from local hosts, and verification that the local host’s network stack works. Proxies can make troubleshooting more complex because you must use application-specific techniques, so this is not covered in detail.

      The differences between troubleshooting IPv4 versus IPv6 stacks is simpler now than it used to be. Major operating systems treat them equally, often as parallel stacks. Troubleshooting IPv4 and/or IPv6 involves testing parallel stacks using parallel and common tools.

      Modern operating systems come with a handful of useful basic commands for the network communications software stack. Windows, macOS, and Linux already have common Unix-like network troubleshooting commands built-in, and other cross-platform testing tools are available to download.

      Troubleshooting Stack Configuration

      To start, you need to ensure you have power. Verify your electrical connection to the first router/switch/gateway leading to the rest of your network or internet.

      Wired Ethernet

      Wired Ethernet connections are generally on the back of the host and router/switch/gateway. Working cable connections are indicated by illuminated LEDs on the Ethernet jacks. For gigabit speeds, both LEDs on the cable jack should be lit, while a single lit LED indicates a 100mbp/s connection. The jack on the connected router/switch must also be lit. If the LEDs are not lit, you have no connection and the circuit is broken. This results from bad cables, bad jacks, wrong or incorrectly wired cables, and electrically dead jacks or routers.

      WiFi

      Where a WiFi connection is used, examine the local host to verify the status of the cable or WiFi connection. The connection must be alive and working according to the host desiring connection. Working WiFi supplicant verification is made either in the host in question, or through the WiFi router administration software.

      Once the electrical circuit and/or WiFi connections are verified, the host software stack becomes the second step in the troubleshooting procedure.

      Network Software Stack

      Next, check host protocol adherence. The basic IPv4 and IPv6 addressing scheme must match the needs of the next downstream device (router/gateway/switch/hub). At minimum, there must be a routable address, a correct network mask, and a gateway address (next hop of a router/gateway/switch that can forward packets). Most network stacks require a reachable DNS IP address or a DNS Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) whose IPv4 and/or IPv6 address can be reached from the host.

      The boot process requires one of three types of suppliers of compliant address information. The first is a user/administrator-supplied static address that is permanent for the host (for fixed installations). The second supplier can be through proxy software, such as Mobile Device Management (MDM) like Microsoft’s Intune or IBM’s Maas360, or other proxy software that automates control of the host IP address. The third and most common supplier of addresses comes from the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

      DHCP Troubleshooting

      DHCP clients are configured to receive their IPv4/IPv6-compliant address through the DHCP protocol from a downstream host. If the DHCP address server is offline, a usable address for the host network stack is not available until the working DHCP server is re-contacted by the DHCP client.

      The DHCP address must be delivered within an IPv4/IPv6 range that permits the host address to be routed through the next gateway/switch/router to other downstream gateways, then on to the Internet (or the target host if on a local or private network). Many hosts substitute an IPv4 address if they fail to procure a DHCP address in the 169.XXX.XXX.XXX range, which is a point-to-point protocol for machine-to-machine connections not involving gateways.

      Note

      A DHCP server may also consult a RADIUS server for information, but become unusable if the RADIUS server cannot be found. DHCP and RADIUS servers can be combined in the same device, and serve as combined proxy authentication (RADIUS) and supplicant provider (DHCP) when confirming network addresses and credentials.

      If a Linode host requests a DHCP address, it receives an IPv4 and IPv6 address from a pool depending on where the host node is located. If a network host receives DHCP host addresses in the 169.XXX.XXX.XXX range, this indicates that the DHCP server did not supply an address correctly, and communications to the needed DHCP must be tested.

      When an IPv4/IPv6-compliant address is delivered to a requesting host, this address is not considered static. Most DHCP addresses are automatically renewed every 90 days, so dependencies on that IP address by applications are at risk when the address is renewed. If a host has been unavailable with a leased address and is re-introduced to the network, the DHCP server delivers the next available list in its pool, which may be different from previous address.

      DHCP servers test an address before leasing it to a DHCP client. However, users on the same local network may have been assigned a static address within the DHCP range. This causes a conflict because each address must be unique. Duplicate IP addresses cause each host with the same address to receive errors. To fix this, flush the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache on each host assigned a duplicate address, as well as the cache on the DHCP server.

      DHCP servers delivered information can overwrite default settings, and overwrite settings of a default/preferred DNS server. Errors ensue if the default/preferred DNS server contains unique information needed by the requesting host (itself supplied with the wrong DNS server). Users have the ability to name a DNS server in a home environment that may conflict, or not be able to resolve within a local network. Administrative procedures must ensure that local organizational DNS servers take priority, or be listed as the first nameserver/DNS host.

      Host Network Stacks

      Even when the electrical circuit is verified, and the host has an IPv4/IPv6 client address, gateway/router/switch address, and DNS, other trouble may exist in the local host network software stack. Numerous shims can be placed in the stack that perform different steps, such as a VPN, authentication, proxies, unique or settings-specific protocols, and other services that impact network use.

      The host network stack is the currently defined and configured list of settings required to make the host a member of a network. These settings include:

      • Valid network address within the range that can be routed by the next downstream device with a correct network mask, which enables the downstream device to correctly address it.
      • Media Access Control (MAC) address that is unique for that subnet.
      • Gateway address for the downstream device to be a target of packets for routing.
      • DNS address, either user/administrator-controlled or delivered from the DHCP protocol, if not defined locally.

      There may be several software drivers in the stack. For example those needed for VPNs, special protocols, network card driver, and others.

      Troubleshooting the stack may require removing all but the base network address information and hardware driver. This minimal stack must work before other components are added. To verify the integrity of the stack, add services back one-at-a-time and test each new component until a culprit is found. Troubleshooting network stacks requires revealing stack settings for the network hardware in use. Keep in mind there are multiple hardware items in a host, and each has a network stack that controls it.

      All hosts display their stack when administratively accessed settings are chosen. This includes third-party network stack software insertions.

      Revealing The Stack In Windows

      GUI: Right-click the network/WiFi icon on the taskbar.

      CLI: ipconfig

      Revealing The Stack In macOS

      GUI: Click the network/WiFi icon and choose Settings, or go to Apple -> System Preferences -> Network.

      CLI: ifconfig

      Revealing The Stack In Linux

      GUI: Open Network-Manager, or right click the network/WiFi icon

      CLI: ifconfig, if, systemd -network-configuration

      If a Linux instance hosted in Linode needs its network stack revealed, the systemd commands are used.

      Windows, macOS, and Linux hosts all contain the ping command, which uses ICMP messaging, a different protocol than TCP or UDP. Pinging a host reveals if a circuit is complete, indicated by a reply to the ping. A few missing replies means there is latency, jitter, congestion, and/or other intermittent connection characteristics.

      The usual syntax of the ping command line tool is:

      ping <hostname or IP>
      

      If a route to a DNS server, resolver, or local hosts file isn’t present, ping fails where a fully qualified hostname has been used. If ping can find the hostname through a resolver, then it uses the IP address as its target. If no hostname resolution is found, the IP address of the host is preferable. If there is a reply from the host by IP address only, name resolution has failed, which is a DNS problem. If it’s successful, then the circuit path is good. Ping can show intermediate response slowdowns. The Windows version only shows four replies, but other versions show replies until the program is forced to stop with CTRL-C. Vast differences in response times point to network congestion between the hosts, router latencies, jitter, and/or other circuit problems

      The Windows native command line tool tracert, or traceroute in macOS and Linux, traces each host/gateway/router between two hosts. A better, downloadable cross-platform command line tool, mtr (the Windows Version is called WinMTR), performs an interactive traceroute that reveals jitter and latency between two hosts.

      Wireshark

      The Wireshark application is a protocol analyzer that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Most commonly used in a GUI, Wireshark captures network traffic seen by a host’s port. The captured traffic is analyzed to determine problems between hosts, and measure traffic on the local routable network.

      Wireshark requires hardware configurations to have full access to a desired network port on a host. Traffic can be viewed in real-time, or captured and analyzed for host pairing of conversations among hosts, and specific protocol analysis. It also permits decrypting IPsec and TLS.

      Firewalls and Other Network Traffic Controllers

      Windows, macOS, and Linux each have stateful firewalls. With exceptions for several standard traffic types, by default, they block all inbound traffic unless an outbound connection has been established to an external host. Each of these operating systems can have optional applications installed as traffic controllers, acting as a secondary firewall. These applications can change firewall settings and increase the complexity of troubleshooting networks.

      In Windows desktop and server editions, Control Panel -> System and Security -> Windows Defender Firewall, lets you examine blocked and permitted ports as well as settings for an Active Directory Domain, Private, and Public context.

      The macOS Firewall is turned off by default, but can be turned on, and viewed through Apple -> System Preferences -> Security and Privacy -> Firewall -> Firewall Options.

      Linux firewall primitives are in the Linux kernel, called netfilter. Netfilter control is provided by iptables, the ufw wrapper to iptables, or firewalld. Like Windows and macOS, Linux distros use a variety of added firewall products, which may or may not be chained to the default iptables (or its update, nftables).

      Third party firewalls on Windows, macOS, and Linux may use different commands, and troubleshooting them is vendor/version-specific.

      Additional network traffic control can be asserted to a host by third party software, typically a directory domain threading system such as Microsoft’s Active Directory, or MDM applications.

      Firewall Programming and Table Insertion

      Firewalls admit or deny host traffic for its protection. Troubleshooting firewalls requires knowing the network traffic types, addresses, and protocols needed by the host, as all others should be denied.

      Firewalls block or admit traffic into a host based on rules. A host usually has a default set of rules that can be user-modified, or inherited from proxy control or other tables of rules. Firewall rules tables must all be administratively protected.

      Depending on the firewall’s rules and added proxy control employed, rules files may be imported into the firewall at when it loads from a local or proxy agent. These modified rules may permit the altering of packets, blocking, admitting, routing, and other movements of network traffic through the host’s network interface(s).

      Once sure you have a working network electrical circuit and a correct client network stack, look for apparent blockages caused by firewall rule errors, rule overreach, and/or limitations imposed on one IP protocol but not the other. Both IPv4 and IPv6 rules should be comparable for the same communications path desired.

      Linux

      Linux iptables/nftables, UFW, and firewalld, all permit the inclusion of runtime-loaded rules files, which are integrated into the settings directives the host firewall uses. This aids other apps that can form them by learning. An example of a learning firewall aid is fail2ban, which can ban IP addresses directly to the iptables rules as an included table. The fail2ban app regularly re-writes the iptables rules according to its configuration by examining traffic, matching offenders that fail rules, then blocking them specifically in the iptables rules. These rules re-load each time iptables loads – like when you restart or boot a system – and can prevent iptables from passing traffic until tables are loaded into the Linux kernel netfilter framework. This delay can simulate a network failure because traffic is blocked until the potentially large tables are loaded into the framework.

      Third Party and Proxy Network Control Troubleshooting

      Proxy control of hosts requires application-specific techniques. Domain control, remote device management, MDM, and Cloud-Assisted Security Brokers can be inserted in most all modern operating systems as a proxy-authenticator, DNS controller, (site) Access Control List limiter, and general connection blocker. Network access to a specific host by domain, DNS resolution and/or IP address can be controlled by proxy. Proxies may prevent local troubleshooting, and by design, proxy control software operations may be masked at the local host from scrutiny.

      Proxy control software requires testing when inappropriate blockage of site-to-site communications is a function of misdirected control by the proxy, or is the result of another site or service blockage problem.

      Successful proxy control requires a working network path to the proxy controller, often located in the cloud, and proxy control problems likely can’t be performed until the proxy is reached.

      Troubleshooting network control proxy software and its agent/linkage software requires the removal of proxy control. Test whether the proxy stack is delivering incorrect blocks or presenting problems to desired and permitted target sites. If the proxy can be removed, and communication is successful, then troubleshooting points to problems in the network control proxy software stack. Troubleshooting the network control proxy stack is usually performed by a trained administrator or network engineer familiar with the specific software stack.

      Note

      If a proxy control is in the network circuit/stack, standard troubleshooting methods may fail. Only the proxy control vendor’s troubleshooting methods are successful in this case because the proxy controls the network circuits in non-standard ways.

      IPv4 and IPv6 Troubleshooting

      The aforementioned recommended tools and techniques should work with both IPv4 and IPv6 seamlessly. Where separate tools are necessary, an equivalent IPv6-specific tool is often available on modern hosts. The ping6 app, found in some operating systems, exclusively pings IPv6 hosts.

      Depending on the operating system family and version, two separate-but-equal networking stacks (IPv4 and IPv6) share the same network adapter. One stack may pass IPv4 traffic but not IPv6 traffic, or the reverse. When a DHCP address is given for each protocol, a DNS resolver may be given on the IPv6 protocol that cannot be found by an app that can only inquire IPv4 resolvers, and vice versa. If DHCP delivers a mixture of IPv4 and IPv6, examine both protocols when troubleshooting to complete a network connection successfully.

      In some operating systems, there are equivalent tools made exclusively for IPv6 traffic. For example, in Linux it’s common to see ip6tables as a separate netfilter component used to handle and route IPv6 traffic, because standard iptables does not. nftables, an iptables replacement, works with both IPv4 and IPv6.

      Priorities must be set when two protocols compete for the same resources. For example, a network interface card connection in the host. By default, Microsoft Windows prioritizes IPv6 over IPv4, while Linux commonly does the reverse. A host stack may also have IPv6 turned off, which is not recommended in Windows, but is nevertheless common in all hosts. It’s often an attempt to remove unwanted traffic and network card contention in environments where IPv6 isn’t commonly used. Most network engineers recommend against this, because IPv6 resources are used more seamlessly today.

      IPv6 Tunneling

      When IPv4 was running out of addresses, the large host and network address space rendered by IPv6 was seen as a huge necessary change, even though many routers were not IPv6-compatible. Network client protocol stacks were also not mature. However, any of these stacks may still be in use, and must be examined for version before troubleshooting. Several different methods of tunneling IPv6 over IPv4 were invented and may still be found in some network configurations today.

      For example, IP6to4 is a useful protocol used when a downstream link cannot support IPv6 traffic, as many international ISPs still do not support IPv6. Sometimes users inadvertently leave IPv6 enabled, leaving accidental responders active within their hosts. The IP6to4 protocol encapsulates IPv6 packets into IPv4 packets, disassembling the IPv4 information, and transforming the packet into an IPv6 packet once again. This tunneling action is deprecated but must be used where IPv6 routing isn’t available in the desired routing path between hosts.

      IP6to4 is a handicapped stack, and requires static routing, so that a target IPv6 host can be found. Because of this and other problems, Microsoft deprecated this method of packet tunneling, however IPv6 packet tunneling is still found on older hosts.

      Conclusion

      Successful network communication is completed when there is an electrical circuit, the host network stack works, and downstream routers/gateways/switches can connect to a target host/site. The network stack resident in the host is bound by protocols and firewall rules. There are iterative steps involving tools that are available by default in most modern host operating systems.

      Troubleshooting begins by examining the correct values in the host network stack, then the firewall rules. Proxy-controlled network stacks must be treated differently, because they may involve both business policy and specialized treatment germane to the stack proxy.

      Although IPv6 integration is treated separately as a protocol, most modern stacks use a separate set of equivalent tools to IPv4 for troubleshooting. Older IPv6 implementations can be buggy, and require stack version-specific techniques to troubleshoot IPv6 connectivity or interference issues with IPv4.



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      How to Fix Common SSL Issues in WordPress (5 Key Solutions)


      A few years ago, Google announced that it would begin flagging websites that don’t have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate installed. While setting up an SSL certificate tends to be pretty straightforward, you may encounter some errors in the process.

      The good news is that many of these errors have simple fixes. Therefore, if you run into a problem when trying to move a current WordPress site to SSL, there’s no need to panic. All it takes is a little troubleshooting to get your site working properly (and securely) in no time.

      In this post, we’ll start by discussing the importance of SSL certificates on your website. Then we’ll provide you with a list of five common SSL issues and show you how to fix them on your WordPress site. Let’s get started!

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      An Overview of SSL (And Why It’s Important)

      SSL enables you to ensure that your website delivers a secure connection via Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocol. In a nutshell, this is the updated, secure version of HTTP. Since it’s encrypted, HTTPS increases the security of any data that is transferred.

      Installing an SSL certificate on your WordPress site is important for several reasons. For starters, it enables the web server and browser to communicate over a secure connection.

      Moreover, SSL/HTTPS can help prevent security breaches that can compromise not only your personal information but your customers’ as well. For this reason, Google now penalizes sites that don’t have an SSL certificate.

      For example, it may display a “not secure” or “your connection is not private” warning message to users who try to access the site.

      A “Your connection is not private” warning message in Google Chrome.

      The exact wording of the message may vary depending on the browser you’re using, but the concept is the same. Ultimately, this can hurt your engagement. Additionally, it can hamper your Search Engine Optimization rankings.

      Finally, not having SSL properly configured can also limit what type of site you’re able to run. For instance, if you want to start an online store, you’ll need SSL/HTTPS encryption to accept online payments via gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net.

      How to Fix Common SSL Issues in WordPress (5 Key Solutions)

      Now that we understand a little more about what SSL/HTTPS is and why it’s important, let’s get into the issues that can come from it. Below are five of the most common SSL problems in WordPress and how to resolve them.

      1. The NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID Error

      If you’re a Google Chrome user, one of the most common issues you might run into is an error message that reads “NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID.”

      A CERT: ERR_AUTHORITY_INVALID error message in Chrome.

      This can happen in other browsers, too, though the message may differ slightly. In any case, it simply means that the connection to the site is not secure.

      If you have an SSL certificate installed on your site, this likely means something is wrong with the settings or configuration, and therefore the browser cannot read and accept it properly. When this is the case, there are a few steps you can take.

      First, you’ll want to make sure the certificate is assigned to the correct domain or subdomain. Next, you’ll need to check that your certificate is not expired. You can do this by clicking on the padlock icon to the left of the browser address bar.

      Details of the certificate will appear, and you’ll want to make sure it says “Valid.” If it says “not valid,” you’ll need to renew it as soon as possible through the issuing provider, also listed here.

      If you installed the certificate yourself, you could try reinstalling it. However, you may want to use a different provider this time, as your browser may not recognize the issuing authority of your current certificate. We recommend using Let’s Encrypt.

      The Let’s Encrypt website.

      Finally, if the certificate is assigned to the correct domain and is updated, you may want to contact your hosting provider. If they installed the certificate, they might know what steps to take to resolve the issue.

      2. Mixed Content Errors

      Another common type of error you may encounter when moving to SSL is mixed content warnings. In a nutshell, this is what happens when images, scripts, or stylesheets on your site load while using the old, unsecured HTTP protocol. In other words, some of your WordPress content is secure while other parts aren’t.

      There are two methods you can use to fix mixed content errors. The first is to use a plugin such as Really Simple SSL.

      The Really Simple SSL plugin.

      Once you install and activate the tool on your website, you can locate the plugin settings by navigating to Settings > SSL.

      The Really Simple SSL plugin settings in WordPress.

      However, you don’t need to take any further action to fix the mixed content errors. The plugin automatically does that upon activation.

      The second method you can use is to manually fix the warnings. To get started, you can navigate to Settings > General in WordPress.

      Under WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL), check to make sure that the URLs are using “https.”

      The WordPress General settings screen.

      After you save your changes, you can install the Better Search Replace plugin.

      The WordPress Better Search Replace plugin.

      With this tool, you can easily search for, find, and replace old URLs within your WordPress database. Once you activate it, you can navigate to Tools > Better Search Replace.

      The Better Search Replace plugin settings.

      In the Search for field, you can add your website URL with “http” at the beginning. Then, add “https” to the Replace with field.

      When you’re done, save your changes. Now the mixed content errors should be gone when you refresh your site.

      3. Too Many Redirects

      Another SSL issue you may run into is the too many redirects error. This might happen because WordPress lets you enforce SSL/HTTPS for the admin area of your site.

      To resolve this error, you’ll need to edit your wp-config.php file. You can locate this file by using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client like FileZilla or the file manager in your web hosting account.

      If you have a DreamHost account, start by navigating to Websites > Files in the sidebar. Then, locate your domain and click on the Manage Files button.

      Accessing the file manager in your DreamHost account

      This will take you to the file manager. To access your site’s directory, you’ll need to open the folder labeled with your domain name. Inside it, you’ll find the wp-config.php file.

      If you’re using FileZilla, the first step is to connect to your WordPress site. If this is your first time using the FTP client, you’ll need to obtain your credentials from your web host. Once connected, locate the wp-config.php file in your site’s directory.

      Locating the wp-config.php file in FileZilla.

      Open the file and insert the following snippet of code:

      define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);
      
      // in some setups HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO might contain
      
      // a comma-separated list e.g. http,https
      
      // so check for https existence
      
      if (strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO'], 'https') !== false)
      
             $_SERVER['HTTPS']='on';

      Note that you should add this at the bottom of the file, right before the line that reads, “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.” When you’re ready, save your changes and close the file.

      4. HTTP to HTTPS Redirect

      By default, WordPress won’t automatically redirect your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Instead, you’ll need to tell it to do so. In some cases, you can use a plugin such as Really Simple SSL.

      However, you can also manually configure the HTTP to HTTPS redirect by editing your .htaccess file. Again, you can do this via SFTP or the file manager in your hosting account.

      Locate and open the .htaccess file, then add in the following code:

      <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
      
      RewriteEngine On
      
      RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
      
      RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
      
      </IfModule>

      Remember to save your changes when you’re done. If you’re not comfortable editing your site’s files, we recommend using a plugin or contacting your hosting provider for assistance.

      5. A Name Mismatch Error

      A fifth common SSL issue you may run into is the name mismatch error, which we briefly touched on earlier. This occurs when your domain name listed in the SSL certificate does not match the browser URL. This normally happens when you purchase a certificate from a third-party seller.

      To fix this error, you’ll simply need to add the following code to your .htaccess file:

      <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
      
      RewriteEngine On
      
      RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
      
      RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
      
      </IfModule>

      Save your changes when you’re done. Then, when you revisit your WordPress site, you should no longer see any SSL error messages.

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      How to Fix Other Common WordPress Errors

      Do you want to learn how to resolve other technical issues on your site? We’ve put together several guides to help you troubleshoot some of the most common WordPress errors:

      Check out our WordPress Tutorials section if you’re looking for tips and best practices for running a WordPress site. This is a collection of expert-written guides designed to help you navigate the WordPress dashboard like a pro.

      Conclusion

      Adding an SSL certificate to your WordPress website is essential. This will help you ensure that your content is accessed via a secure HTTPS connection. However, setting one up can cause a variety of issues.

      In this post, we discussed five common SSL errors and showed you how to resolve them:

      1. The NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID error. This suggests that your certificate needs to be renewed or reinstalled.
      2. Mixed content errors. You can fix this manually or with a plugin such as Really Simple SSL.
      3. Too many redirects. You may be able to resolve this issue by adding code to your wp-config.php file.
      4. A WordPress HTTP to HTTPS redirect. You can configure this manually via your site’s .htaccess file or by using a plugin such as Really Simple SSL.
      5. A name mismatch error. This happens when the certificate domain and browser URL do not match, in which case you’ll need to add code to your .htaccess file.

      Do you need help choosing and installing an SSL certificate on your WordPress site? When you use DreamHost as your hosting provider, this is an effortless process. Check out our DreamPress plans to learn more!



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      How to Fix 16 Common Image Issues in WordPress


      High-quality imagery can do wonders for your website. When used right, images can make your content highly engaging and easier to digest. More importantly, blog posts with images tend to rank better in search engines than those lacking visuals. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to use images on your site adequately.

      WordPress enables excellent flexibility when it comes to adding photos to pages and posts. You can format your images and arrange them within your content any way you wish. You can also make your site more visually appealing with features such as photo galleries, headers, and background images.

      If you want to learn more about using images on your WordPress site, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll show you how to fix 16 common image issues in WordPress with clear, step-by-step instructions. Let’s get started!

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      1. How to Upload Images in WordPress

      To upload an image in a WordPress post or page, simply click on the black button with the plus symbol (in this post, we’ll refer to it as the Add Block button). This will ask you to choose a block to insert into your content.

      Select the Image button, and a block will appear.

      Uploading an image in WordPress.

      Next, click on the Upload button and select the image you want to add. Select Open, and then you’re done!

      2. How to Align an Image to the Left or Right

      When you select an image, a toolbar will appear above it. Click on the alignment button and choose Align left or Align right.

      Aligning an image in WordPress.

      As you can see, this toolbar also gives you other options as well. This includes replacing the image and adding a link to it.

      3. How to Add Captions Below Images

      To add a caption, simply click on your image, and you’ll see the option to write something below.

      Writing an image caption in WordPress.

      Note that you’ll also get a few styling options for your caption. You can link to another page by clicking on the third button in the caption toolbar.

      4. How to Display Images in Columns and Rows

      If you want to display images in columns and rows, you can click on the Add Block button and select Gallery from the options. Next, click on Upload in the gallery block, and then select the images you want to add and choose Open.

      Adding an image gallery in WordPress.

      Once your images have been uploaded, you’ll be able to move them around. To do this, you can click on an image and use the arrow buttons. You’ll also see an option to write a caption for your images and the gallery.

      5. How to Create Responsive Image Galleries

      The default WordPress gallery is very basic. If you use your site to showcase your photography, you might want to consider adding a plugin that lets you build and customize your own image galleries.

      For beautiful responsive galleries, we recommend using the Envira Gallery plugin. After installing and activating the plugin, navigate to Envira Gallery > Add New. There you can create your first gallery, which you can then insert into your posts by selecting the Envira Gallery block.

      The Envira Gallery settings page.

      You can start by uploading some photos to your gallery and then clicking on Config to select the number of columns, set the lazy loading delay, and use the other available features.

      Adding an Envira Gallery in WordPress.

      Remember to name your galleries. This way, you’ll be able to find them more easily when adding them to your posts.

      6. How to Set Featured Images for Posts

      WordPress lets you select a featured image for your posts. This image will be attributed to your post when it appears in your blog feed. Without a featured image, your post will have a missing thumbnail image. A post thumbnail is a reduced-size picture that appears on your blog’s homepage to help users sort through and identify relevant content.

      To set a featured image, head to the sidebar on the right, select the Post tab, and navigate to the Featured image section.

      Setting a featured image in WordPress.

      Next, click on Set featured image and upload your image file. Alternatively, you can choose an image that is already uploaded to your site by clicking on the Media Library tab.

      7. How to Add Cover Images in Posts and Pages

      If you’re writing a long post, you might want to add a wide cover image between different sections so that your content is more digestible. To add a cover image, start by clicking on the Add Block button and typing “cover” into the search bar.

      Once you select the Cover button, the block will appear. Click on Upload to add an image from your computer, or select Media Library to choose an image you’ve already uploaded to your site.

      Adding a cover image in a WordPress post.

      If you want to make some changes to the cover image, you can use the options in the tool section in the post.

      8. How to Fix the Featured Image Appearing Twice

      Some WordPress themes display the featured images at the top of published posts. This image will not be visible in your post when using the content editor.

      Therefore, you might think you have to insert it into your content in addition to setting it as the featured image (as shown in step six). If you do this, you’ll get the same image twice in your live post.

      Fixing a featured image appearing twice issue.

      To fix the multiple images problem, simply delete the image from the post editor. Then you can just use the one you selected in the Set featured image box.

      9. How to Crop Images

      WordPress offers some basic photo editing features. To edit a photo, you can go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Media > Library. After you select the image, a window will pop up.

      Cropping images manually in WordPress.

      Click on the Edit Image button below the image, and you’ll be taken to a page with editing tools. Select the Crop button at the top, and drag the corners of the box to crop the image to your liking.

      Alternatively, you can change the image size by entering the dimensions and aspect ratio in the right sidebar.

      Cropping images in WordPress.

      At the top, you can find options to rotate and flip the image. Once you’ve finished editing your photo, click on Save. Note that the changes will be applied to the original photo.

      10. How to Add Header Images

      Some WordPress themes feature header images. To change the default header image, go to your dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Customize.

      On the customization page, click on Header Image. If you can’t see this option in the menu, it means that your current theme does not support header images.

      Changing the header of a WordPress theme.

      On the Header Image page, select Add new image to replace the default image in your header.

      Changing the header of your WordPress site.

      When you’re done, you can click on the Publish button at the top of the screen. This will save your changes.

      11. How to Add Background Images

      Your WordPress theme might also come with support for background images. To set a one, access the theme’s customization page by navigating to Appearance > Customize from your WordPress dashboard.

      Next, click on Colors. Locate Body Background and click on Select image.

      Changing the background of your WordPress site.

      When you set your background image, you’ll get some options for adjusting the preset and image position. Remember to save your changes before exiting.

      12. How to Find Free Images for Your WordPress Site

      When sourcing images for your posts and pages, we recommend accessing free stock photo sites to avoid copyright infringement. Several sites offer royalty-free images, including Pixabay, UnsplashFlickr Creative Commons, and Pexels.

      A site offering free stock photos.

      The images available on these sites are free to use. However, it’s always a good idea to credit the photographer or artist with a link in the image caption.

      13. How to Tag Images

      Tags make it easier to organize and filter photos on your site. However, WordPress currently does not offer an image tagging feature. Therefore, you might want to download a plugin that lets you sort your images with categories and tags.

      For categorizing and tagging images, we recommend using the Media Library Assistant plugin. Start by installing and activating the plugin, and then head to Media > Library.

      You can see all the photos you’ve uploaded to your WordPress site on the Media Library page. Click on the list view button at the top, then find the photo you want to tag and click on Edit.

      The WordPress Media Library.

      On the Edit Media page, find the Att. Categories and Att. Tags sections on the right-hand side, and start adding categories and tags to your image.

      Tagging images in WordPress.

      You can also rename your image on this page, write a caption, and add alternative text. When you’re done, click on the Update button on the right to save your changes.

      14. How to Import External Images to WordPress

      To import external images to WordPress, you’ll need to access your old website’s files directly using a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) tool such as FileZilla. Locate your site’s root directory, and then go to wp-content/uploads.

      Accessing the WordPress uploads folder.

      There, you’ll find the media files that you’ve uploaded to your site. Download them to a secure location, and then log into your new WordPress site. Navigate to wp-content/uploads again, and copy over your media files.

      You may still encounter image-related errors after doing this since your image URLs may be pointing back to your old site. If that’s the case, you’ll need to go through and update your image URLs so they point to your new site instead, which can be a time-consuming process.

      To avoid that problem, we recommend using a plugin such as Duplicator to move your website between domains or web hosts. You may also benefit from reaching out to your new host for assistance to make sure everything on your site gets transferred over properly.

      15. How to Require a Featured Image in Your Posts

      If your site has multiple authors, you might want to set a reminder for everyone to select a featured image before publishing a post. To do this, you’ll need to add some custom code to your site.

      Before getting started, we recommend backing up your site and creating a child theme. Then you can add the following code at the end of your theme’s functions.php file:

      <?php
      
      /**
      
      * Require a featured image to be set before a post can be published.
      
      */
      
      add_filter( 'wp_insert_post_data', function ( $data, $postarr ) {
      
      $post_id              = $postarr['ID'];
      
      $post_status          = $data['post_status'];
      
      $original_post_status = $postarr['original_post_status'];
      
      if ( $post_id && 'publish' === $post_status && 'publish' !== $original_post_status ) {
      
      $post_type = get_post_type( $post_id );
      
      if ( post_type_supports( $post_type, 'thumbnail' ) && ! has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ) {
      
      $data['post_status'] = 'draft';
      
      }
      
      }
      
      return $data;
      
      }, 10, 2 );
      
      add_action( 'admin_notices', function () {
      
      $post = get_post();
      
      if ( 'publish' !== get_post_status( $post->ID ) && ! has_post_thumbnail( $post->ID ) ) { ?>
      
      <div id="message" class="error">
      
      <p>
      
      <strong><?php _e( 'Please set a Featured Image. This post cannot be published without one.' ); ?></strong>
      
      </p>
      
      </div>
      
      <?php
      
      }
      
      } );

      Save your changes, and users will be required to add featured images to all post types that support them.

      16. How to Set a Default Featured Image

      If you want to set a default featured image for those occasions when you can’t find the right photo, the Default Featured Image plugin is a handy tool to have. It lets you choose a photo that will automatically appear as the featured image for posts published without one.

      After installing and activating the plugin, navigate to Settings > Media in your dashboard.

      Using the Default Featured Image plugin.

      Click on the Select default feature image button and choose your photo. Finally, hit Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

      Take Your WordPress Website to the Next Level

      Whether you need help navigating the WordPress dashboard, choosing the perfect product image, or writing alt text, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you never miss an article.

      Additional WordPress Resources

      If you’re new to WordPress, you may run into some common issues while working with images and other content. To help you navigate any WordPress problem you encounter, we’ve put together several how-to guides:

      If you’re looking for more WordPress tips and hacks, check out our WordPress Tutorials. This collection of guides will help you set up and design your first WordPress site.

      Now You Can Fix That Common Image Issue

      Images can improve your site’s User Experience (UX) and increase the visibility of your content in search engine results. Therefore, it’s important to know how to use photos to engage readers with your content.

      Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to upload and manage photos on your site. It lets you crop and customize images, as well as create beautiful photo galleries and headers to make your pages more interesting.

      If your business relies on high-quality imagery, you might want to consider using a web hosting service that offers full WordPress support. Our DreamPress plans are perfect for site owners who want to focus on growing their businesses and spend less time troubleshooting errors in WordPress.



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