A few days ago, update 18.4 of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin was published. But it soon became clear that there was something wrong and many users started reporting issues. It seems to cause fatal errors and all users had to roll back to a previous version of Yoast.
Yoast has responded quickly to what happened, fixing the problem and posting an apology.
What news did version 18.4 of the Yoast plugin bring?
Yoast WordPress SEO version 18.4 incorporated the intention to introduce a new feature that introduces content and structured data timestamps in order to protect copyrights using blockchain technology.
This new feature connected to a service called WordProof. It provides verifiable timestamps that show site visitors when content was created and updated.
Integration failure between WordProof and Yoast
WordProof, a service in which some of Yoast’s co-founders are partners, provides a blockchain certificate to certify a timestamp and copyright infringement tools. Its goal is to build trust in a website by providing evidence and transparency.
As WordProof explains: “The Internet has root problems that grow daily: mistrust, plagiarism and fake news. WordProof wants to create a new standard for a more trustworthy Internet, with the help of blockchain technology.”
Unfortunately, it has been this integration that has caused the serious bug that users have detected and that has apparently affected versions 18.4 and 18.4.1.
Problems detected in the update of the Yoast SEO plugin
These are the main problems that users have detected:
- The XML sitemap displays all types of content, including private content that is not supposed to be exposed.
- Yoast Search Appearance settings tab is completely blank.
- Fatal error message.
- WordPress sends a message about the Yoast plugin error.
For example, some users have received the following email from WordPress:
“Since WordPress 5.2, there is a built-in feature that detects when a plugin or theme causes a fatal error on your site and notifies you with this automated email.
In this case, WordPress detected an error with one of its plugins, Yoast SEO.”
Yoast ensures that its latest version of the plugin is already stable
Numerous users began posting the issue on the plugin’s support page on WordPress.org. Before long, Yoast posted an apology note:
“Despite extensive testing, some users unfortunately experienced issues with Yoast SEO 18.4.
Because they communicated quickly with our 24/7 support team, we were able to act quickly and roll back this version.
….We are very sorry for any inconvenience you may have experienced.”
Yoast further stated that the latest versions of the plugin, Yoast SEO 18.4.1 and Yoast SEO Premium 18.2.1, are stable (they no longer contain the new WordProof feature) and that they would review the integration with WordProof at a later date.