Stop Blanking Me
One morning whilst checking my emails I noticed a ‘phantom’ email that had come from my blog which was just blank. Yep, as blank as plain paper. It just said ‘From: WordPress’ and ‘To: You’, which doesn’t really give that much away. I pondered a bit, and just proceeded to delete it and think nothing of it. I just put it down as a random harmless side-product of the various php-crunching algorithms, xhtml and css code whirring away under the bonnet of my blog.
The week after, I got another one. Again, I just deleted it and didn’t bother to investigate further. I usually get a daily email from the WP Database Backup Plugin I use, and even fobbed the anomally off as something to do with this plugin.
Enough Blanking, Already!
This carried on for about a month and on my sixth random email, I opted to open the bonnet and have a good poke around. What was causing these random gremlins to pop-up in my inbox every-so often? I try to keep my blog bullet-proof with all the security loopholes closed and all plugins and themes updated, but this was bugging me now.
I likened the situation to a pristinely-engineered and finely-tuned F1 car running good and working as it should, but spitting out a massive blob of oil from the back, once every forty-or-so miles. It HAD to be sorted.
Contact Form 7As part of my investigation, I decided to test the main contact form I use for my readers to get a quote in regards to the services I offer. I’ve used the Contact Form 7 plugin, by Takayuki Miyoshi, for over a year now and it’s been flawless. I filled in all the fields, correctly entered the CAPTCHA details and submitted it. Everything seemed fine, it said the message had been sent so I headed on over to my inbox to check.
Voila! Literally seconds after I logged into my email client, I got a new message in my inbox. Yes, it was blank, my F1 car had just spat out a blob of oil and I had personally orchestrated it. I felt a sense of relief at diagnosing the problem but also a sense of curiousity as to the cause. I re-tested to be sure.
I headed into the settings for Contact Form 7 and viewed my form. Everything seemed fine, all the tags and code was correctly in place and the form worked on the site, but I noticed the ‘Message Body’ area of this particular form (I have a few!) was blank. I couldn’t remember changing anything myself so I just re-entered the tags in the ‘Message Body’ section, saved and re-tested the form. It worked fine, no more blank emails! :)
I put it down to maybe a plugin update somewhere had stripped the code from the section, but I can honestly not say what caused the data to be wiped from the ‘Message Body’ section of the form. I suppose I had become accustomed to the plugin working great in the background that I didn’t notice when the handful of enquiries I get through it every month dried up! The remedy was quick and painless, but what isn’t is that I will never know who them six blank emails were from, and what wierd and wonderful projects/work they required me for.
To all others who use Contact Form 7, I recommend it’s worthwhile just giving it a quick check-up in the settings every week, because as like what happened with mine, the contact form itself could be working fine, except you’re not receiving the details when the moment comes!
To the potentially six ‘lost clients’ who filled and submitted the form and were excitedly expecting a reply from me, now you know why you didn’t get one. Please re-submit if this has jogged your memory. A deep and heartfelt ‘sorry’ from me. No matter how highly-engineered the technology, sometimes it spits out blobs of oil(!)
You can find the Contact Form 7 plugin here.