So, you’ve spent countless hours crafting informative, entertaining, and all-around high quality content for your blog. You’ve also developed a loyal audience that has come to expect blog posts from you on a regular basis by using all the best WordPress tools out there you can.
Only, you want to take a vacation. Or appeal to those in different time zones. Maybe you manage multiple websites. Or simply have so much other work that needs to be done that you cannot literally sit down and write out word-for-word every blog post at the exact time you wish to publish it.
So what do you do?
You schedule your posts ahead of time in the WordPress dashboard that’s what!
Now you can sit back and enjoy that plane ride to the Bahamas (nice right?), or enjoy an extra hour of sleep without your global readers missing their favorite morning blog post, or you can finally catch up on that admin work you have been putting off forever.
When WordPress Delivers a Low Blow
In an ideal world, scheduling your website’s blog posts ahead of time is a fool-proof way to never miss regularly scheduled posts that all of your readers have come to enjoy. But, sometimes WordPress gets a little confused and after that 2 week vacation that you fully prepared for beforehand, so that none of your website’s posts would skip a beat, you realize everything was a mess while you were away.
In fact, you come to realize that none of your scheduled posts were published according to the schedule you had set and that while you were away, so was your content, leaving your readers to wonder,
“Where did he go?”
And to make matters worse, WordPress never notified you that something was missing. So, had you just been catching up on your admin work and checked your website regularly, you might have noticed after the first one or two missed posts that something was off.
But while on vacation, where WiFi is sketchy and quite honestly, you were enjoying the great food, salty sea air, and swimming with the dolphins, you never even thought twice about your perfectly set up website. Little did you know, while you were far away on vacation, your blog was turning into a ghost town.
Low blow WordPress, not fair.
WordPress Missed Schedule Error
When your scheduled WordPress post does not get published properly, your dashboard will give you the ‘Missed Schedule Error’.
This means that while you were away, despite setting up your post to publish at a specific time, it did not. This can happen for a number of reasons, although the most common reason I found was due to a failed cron job.
In a nutshell, a cron job is a task that is set to run at a specified interval that will be executed regularly, automatically, and without human intervention. The user must set the program up to occur and the cron job takes over from there.
Cron jobs can be scheduled to run at fixed times, dates, or intervals, and include actions like automatic backups, deletion of temporary files, and even scheduling of WordPress posts ahead of time to publish at a future date. This is especially useful for repetitive tasks that you do not want to hassle with manually setting up every single time.
Yet, like I mentioned before, WordPress likes to have a mind of its own at times and can fail to execute your cron jobs as specified.
WordPress Cron Jobs
As explained in detail by Tom McFarlin, WordPress cron jobs are what he deems “faux cron jobs”. Typically, when a cron job is set up within an operating system, the server is set to execute that job at the required interval regardless of whether anyone is at the computer or not.
With WordPress cron jobs however, things work a little differently. When a cron job is set, it’s scheduled and then written to the database. Then, when a user clicks on the website, the cron job scans the system checking for any scheduled tasks and executes them.
Notice the issue?
If one of your website visitors does not visit your website right before a scheduled post is set to publish, your post will not execute as planned and you will find a ‘Missed Schedule Error’ the next time you log into your WordPress dashboard.
For those of you that have well trafficked websites this may never pose as a problem. However, if you have many cron jobs set up that must execute very regularly, or your website traffic is hit and miss at times, you will find yourself with many failed cron jobs.
Don’t worry though, there is a relatively simple solution for preventing these types of mishaps from happening again. You are saving for that next vacation right? Maybe a cruise this time?
Fixing the WordPress Missed Schedule Error
The easiest way to fix the missed schedule error in your WordPress dashboard is to use a nifty plugin called WP Missed Schedule. Here’s a look at some of the features WP Missed Schedule provides website owners:
- No decrease in server performance, even while checking for internal WordPress cron jobs
- Missed schedule posts are the only cron jobs checked so no resources are wasted
- Any scheduled future posts stored in the database will be found and fixed by WP Missed Schedule using an index table for queries
- Full compliance with hyper db table query formatting
- Repair of 10 items each session, every 15 minutes to remain compatible with WordPress default feeds syndication
- Designed for simple or heavy use of WordPress scheduled future posts
- Compatible with popular WordPress plugins such as W3 Total Cache and Jetpack
- Automatic configuration
Let’s take a look at how to install and set WP Missed Schedule to avoid the costly mistake of not providing your readers the content they want.
Step 1: Install and Activate WP Missed Schedule
The first thing you’ll need to do is download the WP Missed Schedule plugin from GitHub, a hosting service used by open source developers and projects.
To start, go to WP Missed Schedule’s repository on GitHub. On the main page of the repository, click on the green clone or download button. Then, click on the Download ZIP button.
When you do this, you’ll be prompted to save the zip file. Save it somewhere you can access later when you log into your WordPress dashboard.
Log into your WordPress website and head to the admin area. From there, go to Plugins > Add New. When there, click the Upload Plugin button.
This will show you the option to upload the plugin’s zip file. Click Browse to find the zip file you saved and then Install Now.
Lastly, click Activate Plugin to make WP Missed Schedule active on your website. You will now see WP Missed Schedule in your list of installed plugins.
Step 2: Check for Missed Schedule Posts
Now that WP Missed Schedule is activated and working on your site, you can check the posts that were scheduled that would have been considered “missed” had the plugin not caught the fail beforehand and corrected it.
To do this, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins and scroll down to WP Missed Schedule. Then click on Miss and see what posts were corrected. This assures you that the plugin is working correctly.
If everything is working the way it should, and all your scheduled posts are going live when they should, there will be no posts for you to see when you click Miss.
Step 3: Download WP Crontrol
In addition to using the WP Missed Schedule plugin, you have the option of downloading the plugin WP Crontrol to coordinate with WP Missed Schedule. This plugin, when activated on your WordPress website, let’s you view and control what is happening in the WordPress cron system.
For example, from the admin panel you can:
- View all cron events and their associated details
- Edit, delete, or immediately run any cron events
- Add new cron events
- Bulk delete cron events
- Add, edit, or remove custom cron schedules
The admin screen will also show you a warning sign if your cron system seems to be malfunctioning. For example, if your server cannot connect to itself or fire scheduled cron events, you’ll see a notification.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Vacation, Extra Hour of Sleep, Admin Day, Whatever!
That’s it! After activating WP Missed Schedule your website is ready to check for failed cron jobs at all times. Remember, while you can check to make sure the plugin is working, you don’t have to do anything. WP Missed Schedule works automatically.
Consistently providing your website visitors with high-quality content is the key to maintaining and growing a successful website. Sometimes we cannot be at our computers, logged into our WordPress website, and providing a live feed of information to our readers. That’s why WordPress has provided us with the solution of scheduling our content for future dates and times.
Though, as with anything in the world, things are not perfect and tend to go awry causing us frustration and costing us loyal readers and maybe even revenue.
That’s why I suggest using a plugin like WP Missed Schedule to easily and automatically prevent your future posts from not publishing. Enjoy that vacation, get your beauty rest, catch up on work, or just do nothing. But don’t worry about your content not posting, at least not when WP Missed Schedule is in your arsenal of plugins.
Have you ever had the frustration of seeing the dreaded ‘Missed Schedule Error’ on your WordPress website? Have you tried using WP Missed Schedule or anything similar? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!