WordPress Jetpack site_inaccessible Error on ICDSoft Host

The WordPress Jetpack Plug-In

I recently installed the WordPress Jetpack plug-in, as part of a suite of plug-ins evolved by Vanessa Chau. Jetpack leverages WordPress.com infrastructure to provide much WordPress.com functionality to WordPress blog engine instances hosted elsewhere—like this one, which happens to be hosted by ICDSoft. Installation was so easy and fast that I don’t remember it! But when I tried to slip the Ring of Power on my finger, by clicking Connect to WordPress.com, I got the dreaded “site_inaccessible” error. Soon I learned how to modify the “.htaccess” file to fix this. Your mileage will almost certainly vary, but your experience may resemble what I describe here.

Jetpack site_inaccessible Error

After installing Jetpack, a new Jetpack item showed up in the growing list shown by my WordPress administrative graphical user interface. Clicking this displayed a screen promising wonderful things.

Connecting Jetpack to WordPress.

Connecting my Jetpack installation to WordPress.com. Boost traffic, enhance security, and improve performance? Of COURSE I’ll click the button.

The whole point of Jetpack is its integration with WordPress.com, so I didn’t need to think too hard before clicking Connect to WordPress.com. However, what happened next was not part of the plan: Your website needs to be publicly accessible to use Jetpack: site_inaccessible Error Details: The Jetpack server was unable to communicate with your site [HTTP 412]. Ask your web host if they allow connections from WordPress.com. If you need further assistance, contact Jetpack Support: http://jetpack.me/support/

Jetpack site_inaccessible error message.

That’s odd: Last time, I checked, the site was publicly accessible. If anything, embarrassingly so.

Seriously? My website must be “publicly accessible?”

My first move was to check to see if the blog was visible using a browser I wasn’t logged in with—and it was. But the fine print reveals that “publicly accessible” here means something a little different: Can the Jetpack server—also a member of the public, it seems—talk to my site?

As the error message suggested, I checked Jetpack support. It didn’t offer much. Googling turned up a diverse collection of poorly explained and misunderstood solutions, suggesting that the error might occur at different levels of a many-layered stack.

But you’re probably reading this because so far our experience has been identical, and my post is one of those suspect half-solutions Google has turned up in your own search. If so, at least my SEO is working!

This pointed me toward SureSupport, technical support for my web host (ICDSoft). They have always been very good, and surely I was not the first customer to try installing Jetpack. Maybe they had added this problem to their three-ring binders. I wrote:

I’m trying to get the Jetpack plug-in working with my WordPress installation. Unfortunately when I navigate to the plug-in within the WordPress administrative interface and click “Connect to WordPress.com”, I get the following error message…. Is this an issue your team has any experience with? If so, what do you suggest?

Thank you very much.

The Fix is In

Three minutes later I had my response:

The issue is related to a mod_security2 rule on our servers that denies requests to the xmlrpc.php file. Jetpack relies on this feature of WordPress.

Blocking access to the xmlrpc.php file has been implemented as an additional security measure, because xmlrpc.php is a common target for hackers who scan for outdated and flawed versions of WordPress. To remedy the issue, you can add this code to the .htaccess file in the main directory of your WordPress application (/www/www/blog):

<IfModule security2_module>
SecRuleRemoveById nnn

 …Except that I’ve substituted “nnn” for SureSupport’s “114.” This value is specific to the web hosting provider. The part of my experience that’s portable is: Check with your hosting provider’s support resources. They should know the value appropriate for your system.

Ready to connect Jetpack and WordPress

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