Server fails after updates

today I ran updates on an ubuntu 18 server, there were about 160 I think, so I just said yes to everything and was soon informed that things were not ok - about 20 sites on the server just downloaded a file when visited. Every link in every site just downloaded this

<?php /** * Front to the WordPress application. This file doesn't do anything, but loads * wp-blog-header.php which does and tells WordPress to load the theme. * * @package WordPress */ /** * Tells WordPress to load the WordPress theme and output it. * * @var bool */ define( 'WP_USE_THEMES', true ); /** Loads the WordPress Environment and Template */ require __DIR__ . '/wp-blog-header.php'; --------------------------------------------- Google was not much help so I phoned support and they told me it was a common problem with plesk The nice man said they change the version of php then fix the problem then swap it back? but when I mention virtualmin GPL they lose interested of course. As there were about 20 sites down and I do not have a clue why, I rolled back a day and all was well. So I assume virtualmin will report that I have 160 updates to run tomorrow so is there something I should avoid - I only tick the website and database checkboxes when I create a site, does anyone know what I did wrong? I was thinking mime type?

I’m genuinely curious about this. I just upgraded from Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS to 20.04 LTS. But while I was on 18.04, I never, ever saw an update list longer than about 12.

How often did you check for updates? I used to check at the end of every week or two. I’m curious to know so that if I see something like that I’ll know not to touch it until I have it checked out.

If the PHP pages were displaying as code (huge security risk, by the way), then PHP wasn’t working. The pages were being displayed rather than parsed and processed.

We may be able to figure out why if you post a list of every update having anything whatsoever with PHP or Apache. Actually, I’d just post the whole list.


I don’t know much about Ubuntu or how often you should check, but Virtualmin does have an option to email you when updates are available. I install most of them the same day except for non security-critical kernel updates. I give Igor a few days to update them in Kernelcare to avoid the reboot.


Search the forum for “SetHandler”. Some types of upgrade allow replacing config files that have been modified, depending on how you answered the questions debconf asked you during the process. If it replaced the php.conf file or any other Apache config files that included SetHandler lines for PHP, it will do this. You have to set it back to the way Virtualmin sets it up during installation.

You may be able to just run:

# virtualmin config-system --include Apache

But, that may alter other Apache settings you’ve changed intentionally…so, maybe read the source to make sure it isn’t gonna break stuff you intended. (That’s here: )

Thanks for all you help folks, apt-get only reports 7 updates this morning so I am confused, I think the best solution is to use Ubuntu 20 on a new VPS and transfer my sites as wordpress has been nagging about php for some time now

That was what I was curious about. I hardly ever sit down at the server, log in to Ubuntu and do anything. I let Virtualmin do it all. I just log in to Virtualmin each weekend and it’ll have the red highlighted number of updates you have available. Click that, click install, done.

It’s really easy. That’s why I was wondering how often he checked and where he checked because at once every week or two I’ve never seen more than a dozen at one time.

Hi, this is our oldest server and I have tinkered with the apache files many times in the past when removing sites without removing certificates so the problem may have been self inflicted. I also have sites with unregistered domain names, just host file entries. I noted that there were 164 updates some of which were security so I clicked install now and let rip. The process ran for about 20mins with asking a few y/n questions and at one point a magenta screen with block graphic progress bars chugging away. This server also is unstable, it seems to bounce itself and I get alerts from statuscake about once a week.

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It is easy to fix the problem you’re having with Apache. See my previous comment. There are probably extraneous SetHandler lines in the Apache config that are breaking PHP scripts run via FCGI or FPM or however you’ve configured your individual domains in Virtualmin.

Thanks Joe for the advise, If it happens again I will know what to do. I have learned a lot from this forum.

I just set this up on all my servers: webmin > system > software package updates - many thanks

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