WordPress Tips & Tricks

WordPress 4.9 Error – Unable to Edit Files – Resolved

WordPress has quickly become the favorite software to use when creating a new website with it powering 35% of the internet. If you’re planning to create a new website then it’s a good place to go for it. Something you must consider when doing this is the quality of the WP hosting provider you use and how it impacts your website. WordPress can go from a dream to a nightmare if you’re with a bad hosting provider. Anyway…

Recently, on November 16, 2017, WordPress released its latest version. WordPress 4.9 “Tipton”. Named after a Jazz musician, Billy Tipton. That news may sound like a (Jazz) music to the WordPress users’ ears but not for long. The new WordPress, encountered an error. This is not something new. In fact, just like any other release, there are many errors which eventually get resolved. Hosomwever, input from the WordPress community is necessary in order to get a hold of whatever’s wrong and this article is one such attempt.

So the story is that my web hosting provider, auto-updated my blog to the latest version of WordPress 4.9. That’s convenient but for the first time ever since I started using WordPress, I encountered an error immediately after the update. The error was that I was unable to edit any of my files in the WordPress Editor.

Finally, of course, with the help of the volunteers on the WordPress’s forum I was able to resolve the WordPress 4.9 Error so I thought why not share my resolution with many of the other WordPress users out there who might be facing the same problem.

After all, it’s all about giving back to the community. Right?

However, before going further, here’s a small but necessary disclaimer.


First, I truly admire WordPress as a CMS platform and this article is in no way to degrade the platform in any sense. The errors are normal part of the development process and they are acceptable as long as they don’t damage your blog/website significantly.

Second, the solution below of course, does not apply to all the WordPress users. There may be many reasons for the same issue and it’s literally impractical to test all of the solutions. So I’d rather stick to the problem that I faced, resolved, reproduced and then resolved again in order to make sure that the problem identified was, in fact, a problem.

So once we’ve gotten the disclaimer covered, let’s start with the details of the error and how I resolved it.

Also Read: How to install WordPress locally on Windows 10 (64-Bit)

WordPress 4.9 Error – Unable to Edit Files in WordPress Editor

As the heading suggests, soon after the update, I was unable to edit my header.php file. I wanted to apply some changes in the file and wasn’t able to do so.

As soon as I’d hit the “Update” button after making the changes, it’d keep on processing and would end up giving the following error:

“Unable to communicate back with site to check with fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted. You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP”.

Wordpress 4.9 Error - Unable to Communicate-min

To be honest, this wasn’t the only that was showing up. After couple of tries more, it gave me “Scrape Nonce Check Failed” error as well. However, after a day, when I tried to reproduce this error, I couldn’t. So I’ll just keep it to this, “Unable to communicate…” error only.

Following The Obvious Path

Of course, I googled the issue and found that there are dozens of other people with the same issue as well.

So WordPress 4.9 Error that I was facing wasn’t just confined to me.

After this confirmation, I scrolled for the solution and found it to be too technical.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind barging into the “Technical Realm” but I prefer applying Occam’s Razor for the resolution of my issue.

So I started searching for rather simpler solutions.

After some more research, I thought why not look for the solution purely from my perspective. Hence, I went on to create my own thread on the WordPress forum

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Response On My Thread.

After few hours, I received a response from the moderator, Steve Stern who asked me to install Health Check plugin and report back its findings.

Steve Stern - Health Check Plugin-min

Just for summary, health check plugin generates a report of your WordPress, PHP and database information so in many cases, it’s quite a handy detection tool.

Following the tip, I installed the plugin and when tried to use it, again, it kept on loading and eventually the browser ended up with Error 504 – Gateway Timeout.

Another WordPress Volunteer To The Rescue

Needless to say, I updated this on the WordPress thread and then another good fella (or girl) advised me to primarily deactivate my Contact plugin and then report any update. She also suggested me that I might be having WP_CRON error as well while some other plugin could also be causing the problem.

Wordpress 4.9 Error - Yui Solution

For a moment, I thought to be trapped in the abyss of errors after errors but I had no choice. So I went to my plugins list to deactivate my contact plugin.

No Contact Plugin

As soon as I landed on my plugins list page, I remembered that a couple of days back, I deactivated and deleted my previous contact form plugin. While I installed another one but I never activated it.

So the error due to contact form plugin was out of the equation.

The only option left for me to apply the trial and error methodology and deactivate plugins one by one while at the same time keep checking if the error is resolving.

Sometimes, Laziness Pays Off

I started looking for the plugin to be the first member of my hit list and to be honest, I did not want to deactivate majority of them as all of the plugins were playing the key role in the functioning of my blog. Additionally, I also feared that I had to reconfigure some of the plugins in case I reactivate them.

Truly speaking, I was just being lazy.

I started looking for the plugin which would have the least impact if I deactivate it and there you go, I found one.

This plugin was Shortpixel Image Optimizer.

My Lucky Day

I deactivated Shortpixel Image Optimizer, went straight to Appearance?Editor, applied some comments in my header.php file, clicked “Update File” and voila…!

It worked…!

It must be my lucky day as deactivating the very first plugin did the trick for me. As an afterthought, I should have bought a lottery ticket but alas, I exhausted my good luck on this WordPress 4.9 error.

Reproducing The Same Issue

To be sure that the solution is indeed not a fluke, I decided to take a rather more scientific approach and thought that before announcing my “major discovery” to the world, I should be confident that error was indeed because of that plugin.

In that case, if I reactivate the plugin, I should be 100% sure that it will reproduce the same issue. In case not, then even though I might have resolved the issue for myself but that’s it. I could not suggest it to anyone else.

So this is what I did. Went to my plugins list. Reactivated the Shortpixel Image Optimization plugin, edited my header.php file and clicked the “update file” button.

The error appeared one more time.

Indeed the plugin is having issue with the WordPress 4.9 version. So I went in the “Add New” section of the plugin area in order to see if the plugin is compatible with the latest WordPress version.

To my surprise, it says it is.

Wordpress 4.9 Error - shortpixel image optimizer-Compatibility

Seems like that the developers haven’t been informed yet. So I took it on myself and have emailed them about the issue.

I’m sure they will eventually figure it out.

So What’s The Crux Of The Matter?

The crux of the matter is that while there may be more than one causes of the above WordPress 4.9 error, it’s good to first see if the solution that I’ve jotted above applies to you as well.

If yes, then I’d be glad of being of some help. In case not, then I’d suggest you to start your own thread on WordPress forum and see if that helps. It might help to go from a previous system restore point. If this currently isn’t a major issue for you consider making a creating a system restore point. Additionally, if you resolved the error it’d be great to share your solution either below in the comments section or in some other forum so that anybody else can gain benefit from it.

Goodbye for now.

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I recently checked if the WordPress issue is still there by updating the plugin Shortpixel Image Optimizer to version 4.8.7.

After updating, I can edit and save my files in the WordPress File Editor section. So the WordPress 4.9 Error due to Shortpixel Image Optimizer plugin is resolved and you may no longer need to deactivate the plugin.

Simply updating it to the latest version will do the trick now.

60 thoughts on “WordPress 4.9 Error – Unable to Edit Files – Resolved

  • LordComander

    Great great words, but I don’t have that plugin activated. There has to be a function in that plugin causing the error used by many other plugins. WordPress fucked up..

    • Hi LordComander,

      Yes, there’s a function in the plugin which is/was causing the error. If you follow the link above to the WordPress forum in which I created my thread, you will see that the one of the experts have identified that particular function.

      • Robin Buxton

        This is by far the best solution. I had no plugin activated and still got the error. Download Theme Editor and it worked instantly. This solution needs to be posted everywhere.

      • Perfect. Forum after forum of technical advise and no easy solution for complete amateurs like me. Preblog, you are a crack.

  • Bhaiji1

    The problem is stil there :

    “Unable to communicate back with site to check for fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted. You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP.”

    I don’t use any Shortpixel Image Optimizer. plus my contact form plugin is also updated

    but the problem is still there, I can’t save php files any more.

    • Hi Bhaiji1,

      It’s not necessary that there’s only one plugin causing this issue. What I wanted to tell from my post was the methodology that you need to follow in order to resolve your issue.

      First things first, start a new thread on WordPress
      Second, perform health check just like I did
      Third, start deactivating plugins one by one and see recheck issue after each deactivation and see which plugin is actually the “problem child”.

      I hope this will clear some confusion and help resolve your issue.

      Thank you.

  • The link is not working, I have no plugins active and have this error for weeks now.
    There are several hundred cases out there, which make me think, if wordpress the right plattform.

    There really should be a fix for this out there for such a big problem.

    • Hi Rene,

      Sorry to hear about your problem. What link are you talking about which is not working?

      Worpress surely is the best platform for blogging there’s no doubt about that. All the errors are part and parcels of any cms software which keeps on updating.

      What I’d suggest to you is to perform the health check and see if it identifies anything.

      Moreover, start a thread on WordPress forum so that a proper record is maintained. The professionals over there will help you out in a much better way.

      Thank you.

  • Hakim

    you know what, i deactivate all my plugins…
    yes all my plugins…
    but same issue there…arrrggghhh…

    • Saad

      Hi Hakim,

      Sorry to hear about what happened with you. Did you raise this issue in the WordPress forum?

    • The issue can also be in a poorly written them. Try changing to the Twenty Seventeen theme and see if you can use the editor.

  • High5

    It’s not just about plugin.

    I have 4 sites, they are mostly identical, same plugins, same themes.

    After upgraded to 4.9, two of them started to have this uploading problem and the other two works fine.

    It’s not just about plugins. Your article wastes 5 minutes of my life.

    • Thanks for reading my article and your input High5.

  • I uninstalled all the plugins still it dint work.i m trying to edit the header.php..can u please help me with this..
    or can you provide the name of that particular function???

    • Hi Minal,

      Did you perform the health check? What error did it give?
      BTW, if you follow the conversation in the forum above you’ll see the function referred by one of the WordPress representative.
      I hope that’d help.

  • I deactivated all the plugins even cleared the browser history and website history still the error stays the same.could you please help me with the some another solution or the name of that particular function that is creating the mess..have been dealing this issue from long but cant figure it out..

    • Hi Minal,

      Did you perform health check? What error did it give?

      • Yes i performed health check,but that did not give me any error..

        • Hmmm…! As you’ve said, you’ve disabled all the plugins as well. Right?

          Have you created new thread on WordPress forum?

    • This issue can also appear in poorly written themes. Try activating the Twenty Seventeen theme and see if you can use the editor. If so, the problem is in your theme.

      • Hey Rob,

        Thanks for your contribution towards the community…! 🙂

  • C Finkelman

    I had this problem on my WordPress site. It happened because my URL was at https and the cert was invalid due it being on a shared hosting platform. When I changed the logged in URL to http I no longer got the error and could once again make changes to my theme php files in the online editor.

    • Hi C Finkelman,

      Thanks for sharing your issue and the solution. I appreciate it.

    • Thank you, this worked for me!

  • I had the same problem when I bought a new theme. Couldn’t fix it until I decided to upgrade to the latest php version. At that time it was php 7.1

    I did the compatibility checks and was OK then I set my host to use 7.1 Viola All was then OK.

    • Hi Wilf,

      Glad to know you were able to resolve your issue. One suggestion that I’d like to give is that publish your resolution either on your blog or WordPress forum so that other people can also benefit.

      Thanks for taking time and commenting.

    • hi Sylo,

      Thanks for your input.

  • I have some problems. After check with Health Check plugin I got this error…

    Loopback request: “The loopback request to your site failed, this may prevent WP_Cron from working, along with theme and plugin editors.Error encountered: (0) cURL error 60: Peer certificate cannot be authenticated with known CA certificates”

    Do you know what its mean?

    • Hi Jamal,

      First, thanks for commenting here on my blog.

      Second, I found a whole article mentioning your issue. Not sure if you’ve already read it.

      Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce the issue on my end so inevitably I’ll have to rely on 3rd party sources.
      I hope this helps.

  • Seun Crowther

    Hi, Just had the same issue, then I found this plugin “Ewww Image Optimizer” so I deactivated and it worked. I guess its any Image optimizing plugin that causes that. Cheers

    • Saad

      Hi Seun,

      Good to know that it worked for you.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Hello, I have the same problem:
    “Unable to communicate back with site to check for fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted.
    You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP.”

    But it hapens when I install the facebook pixel in the Editor.

    Do you have the same problem?

    • Hi Edith,

      Nope, seems like I have a slightly different problem.

  • The artilce didn’t work for me, I have the same problem:
    “Unable to communicate back with site to check for fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted.
    You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP.”

    • Hi Gaurav,

      So sorry to hear that you’re still not able to resolve your issue. In your case, I’d suggest you approach the WordPress team and open a new thread on their forum. This way, other people may also benefit from your resolution.

  • Jack Brown

    I ran into the same problem and luckily I found your article. My problem was due to a different plugin, -related to email test, I’ve installed a few days back and after upgrading to WP 4.6.9 the issue started. Disabling it solved the issue.

    • It feels nice to be of some help.
      You’re welcome Jack.

  • hi Every one
    i have an error in editor option when i want to make changes in editor option
    like in page.php it show the error please help me in this issue

    • Hi Maaz,

      Please explain your issue a little bit more in detail.

  • Looks like it’s because the new built-in Theme Editor (Appearance > Theme Editor) somehow tries to access wordpress to double-check, that the change was successfully changed & is visible, BUT if you have “WordPress Address (URL)” or maybe “Site Address (URL)” misconfigured (Settings > General), then it can’t reach your wordpress and reverts the changes.

    I’m experiencing same issue when using WordPress locally in docker (https://hub.docker.com/_/wordpress/) on my mac machine as the URL i’m accessing it with ( doesn’t work from the container itself…

    My solution for now is not to use the built-it Theme Editor. There are some plugins such as “Theme Editor” (don’t confuse with the built-in one 🙂 ).

    • Glad you were able to resolve the issue Petr.

      Thanks for sharing your findings. I’m sure readers here are going to admire it.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. In my own case, it was a certain “header and footer” plugin that was causing the issue. Found out after deleting a couple plugins.

  • Fantastic share, thank you! The threads I was reading in the forum never mentioned deactivating plugins, but after ready this, I deactivated my most recent plugin (Booking Calendar) and poof, it was fixed. Thanks again!

    • Hi Brian,

      Glad to be of some help.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience but I’m facing the same issue from past few months and deactivated all the plugins and still facing same issue.

    • Saad

      Hi Vishwaraj,

      Have you run the diagnostic tool mentioned in this article? If yes, then what error it showed?

      The best I’d suggest you is to create a thread on the WordPress. Quite possible that the reason you’re facing issues is different than what has been mentioned in this article.

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  • Christian Kaindl

    Thank you so much! You probably saved my day 🙂

    • Hi Christian,

      Glad to be of some help.

  • I have uninstalled W3 total cache plugin and it finally works. (took me 5 trials to find out)

    • Good to know that Anwar. And thanks for sharing your solution as well. Quite possible this will help our other readers as well.

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  • I was having a lot of issues with “Scrape nonce check failed. Please try again.”

    I even updated the header.php file via Cpanel>Filemanager … but WordPress wasn’t seeing the change when I viewed the header.php even though I logged in on 3 different browsers (not simultaneously, of course!) and cleared all caches on the browsers.

    Installing the Theme Editor plugin allowed me to successfully edit the header.php file. Thank you!

    • Sounds great Dora,

      It feels awesome to know that my content helped someone.

      Keep reading The Usual Stuff.

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