A few days ago, I received an email from one of my customers.
This particular customer’s website is hosted via GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting offering.
They’ve been a long time customer and not had any major issues using GoDaddy Web hosting services.
This same customer also uses Goldmine as its customer relationship management (CRM) software to management its contacts.
As it seamlessly integrates with Goldmine, this customer most recently started using Intelliclick email and web marketing software to send and track usage.
So, what could go wrong, right?
Well, as I discovered, it didn’t take much. I was a bit baffled to receive an email from the customer stating their last email send had encountered an error not loading the website when clicking a link within the email.
Of course, I had the customer forward me the email and the link. Below is a sample link from the customer email. The sample link contains as many query string parameters as the actual customer email link:
// START of CODE
// Example of long URI with many query string parameters
// END of CODE
Sure enough, the actual link and email link both did not load the page. Every time I clicked either link, the page loaded nothing but a white page.
Being a bit tech savvy, I opened Chrome’s developer tools to discover the following error message in the console:
Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 414 (Request-URI Too Long)
So of course, thinking that it may be a parameter causing the issue, I removed one parameter and its value at a time until I was able to load the page.
This didn’t work as doing this remove the number of characters from the original domain which made it not long anymore (duh!).
The next stop was Googling to see if anyone had encounter the same error. Many had encounter the issue I encountered, but all of their answers were invalid.
I tried everything… i cracked opened the WordPress header.php file and tried a number of things without much success. I tried changing the <!DOCTYPE html>. No success. I tried adding <meta charset=“UTF-8”> immediately following the <head> tag. No success. I tried adding <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1”> with no success.
Onto something else then… The next stop was trial and error with the .htaccess file. It didn’t take me long to figure out there was nothing wrong with the .htaccess file.
However, I did notice a commented line containing the words “Suspicious Query Strings” and code following it for about 20 lines.
Could this be the query string parameter issue not allowing the page to load correctly? Hmm…
I decided to login to the customer’s website to see if there was a plugin setting for the commented line and lines of code that followed.
Sure enough, following the commented out instructions in the .htaccess file, I paid a visit to the iThemes Security Plugin.
There within Security > Settings > System Tweaks, I found a check box that disabled Long URLs due to hackers commonly using long url requests to inject you website or its database with malicious content.
BINGO! I unchecked the box and tried both links with much success. The website loads with ease and the customer is quite pleased.
Heck, it only took me 3-4 hours to figure this nonsense out (OUCH).
Watch the video below, kiss that HTTP Error 414 Request URI Too Long goodbye and get your WordPress website back to purring like a kitten.
Drop me a comment if you need additional thoughts or ideas to try, or a simple thanks for saving, if not adding, years back to your life. 😀