Please upgrade here. These earlier versions are no longer being updated and have security issues.
HackerOne users: Testing against this community violates our program's Terms of Service and will result in your bounty being denied.
Options

Forum Suddenly Down... Help!

Hello All,

I am a programmer, but of C++ not php and the like. And I need some help (or at least an opinion.)

Suddenly today my forum at http://troikatronix.com/troikatronixforum went down. The forum is embedded in a WordPress site. I am the administrator of everything, so unless my host company went in and did something without asking (highly unlikely) then I can only assume some kind of very strange bug or that I've been hacked.

I had not made any major changes for about 3 days. (The last thing I did was add a WordPress plugin, "Exclude Pages from Navigation" -- but this worked as advertised and showed no ill effects. Deactivating the plugin doesn't help in any case.)

But now, when clicking on a forum discussion, it sends me off to our 404 Not Found page. And other users cannot log in, because the sign in dialog ends up with a 404 as well.

Trying to get to the dashboard also results in a 404, so I can't even access stuff to try to do something.

What's really weird is that, when sitting on a the main forum page, I've seen some "auto-updates" happen -- where weird stuff (like the search box) appears scattered on the page. See the attached image.

I went to examine the site via FTP. The modification dates on all the files (WP and Vanilla) do not seem suspicious. The files that were updated today I downloaded and compared to a backup, and nothing seemed amiss. Also, the main TroikaTronix WordPress site seems totally fine.

So I'm just wondering what could be up here. If anyone has any advice to offer, I'd be really grateful.

Best Wishes,
Mark

Comments

  • Options
    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    When examining the files, did you look at .htaccess files?

    What version of Vanilla are you running?

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

  • Options

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I'm running 2.0.18.1

    I didn't compare the .htaccess file before (I see one at the root of my forum, and another inside the Minify plugin). But did that just did now. The mod dates are fine and their contents are the same.

    I did a diff of the my backup (relatively current) and the contents of the site.

    --- tagging et. al. php ---

    There's several differences in the tagging modules, because we changed to "Tagging Enhanced." These seem legitimate.

    --- config.php file ---

    Also some differences in config.php file, but this is simply due to different plugin enables, and the fact we changed from Captcha to Approval to allow users to join.

    There was only three lines I didn't understand:

    These were not in the backup of config.php

    $Configuration['Vanilla']['Categories']['MaxDisplayDepth'] = '3';
    $Configuration['Vanilla']['Categories']['DoHeadings'] = FALSE;
    $Configuration['Vanilla']['Categories']['HideModule'] = FALSE;

    Does that mean anything? I mean, they're plugin settings right?

    --- cache/*.ini ---

    I did find some differences in the .ini files in the cache. I don't know if it's safe to post these entries publicly, so I won't copy this stuff here. But I do not see any paths to any other site than troikatronix.com in these.

    First, there a two files now that aren't in the backup:

    a_conversations_controller_map.ini
    a_conversations_library_map.ini
    p_core_library_map.ini

    The SMARTY files all diff as the same, except for one minor change that I recognize.

    --- summary ---

    That's what I know so far. Thanks for any further guidance you can give.

    Best,
    Mark

  • Options
    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    You can safely clear out the cached ini files (and should for debugging this issue). Just delete all the ini files but keep the folder structure.

    Those configurations all pertain to the display of the categories view and the category module. They look fine either way.

    I strongly suggest to not use the minify plugin. At all.

    Were there any changes in the wordpress .htaccess file? This is what my gut tells me is the issue.

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

  • Options

    I actually didn't have a backup of the .htaccess at the root of WP. This is what is says:

    BEGIN WordPress


    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index.php$ - [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

    END WordPress

    Which matches the default suggested in the second post of this thread: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/i-destroyed-my-site-default-htaccess

    What if the SQL database were modified/hacked/messed up. Could that be a reason?

    Thanks Again,
    Mark

  • Options

    Well, that didn't print very nicely here. But, as I said, it matches the code in the post.

  • Options

    So the company that hosts my site worked on this a bit. In Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks they changed

    Custom: http://troikatronix.com/%postname%/ (note that /%postname%/ is entered in a field)

    To

    Default: http://troikatronix.com/?p=123

    and the Forum comes back to life. But then all my permalinks are gone, and this is very bad for me because those links are referenced in lots of place, namely in the help menu of my software.

    Thing is, this option has been set that way since day 1. So I can't understand why it suddenly caused a problem.

    Again, any further advice would be much appreciated.

    Best Wishes,
    Mark

  • Options
    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    If this was fixed from the Wordpress side of things, there is a misconfiguration somewhere. It might be in your WP settings, WP .htaccess, or Vanilla config or .htaccess.

    Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with WP. :(

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

  • Options

    Thanks for the help regardless. I'll keep working on it. If I find a solution I'll post it here.

  • Options
    ShadowdareShadowdare r_j MVP
    edited June 2013

    What happens when you keep your custom WordPress permalink settings enabled and then add RewriteRule ^(troikatronixforum)($|/) - [L] before all the rules in the .htaccess file?

    Add Pages to Vanilla with the Basic Pages app

  • Options

    Dear All,

    OK, the guy who designed the site in the first place found the problem. The .htaccess file inside of the Vanilla Forums folder on my site had been somehow modified. He changed the line

    # RewriteBase /

    to

    RewriteBase /troikatronixforum

    And everything went back to normal.

    So hgtonight, you were right about it being related to .htaccess files.

    Thanks to all for the help. It is much appreciated.

    Best Wishes -- Mark

  • Options
    hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New MVP

    @mconiglio thanks for reporting back with the solution!

    I also forgot...

    Welcome to the community!

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

Sign In or Register to comment.