Digital Marketing

Update to Yoast SEO 19.5 Brings About Fatal Errors

Yoast SEO Plugin

WordPress sites that have the Yoast SEO plugin 19.5 upgrade report fatal errors. It’s possible that publishers that changed to Yoast SEO 19.5 experienced more than they anticipated. Soon after the upgrade was applied, reports of fatal failures started to surface. It’s interesting to note that the error seems to only occur in certain circumstances, not always.

Yoast SEO version 19.5

Several changes in Yoast version 19.5 enhance user experience, address a validation problem with the Article structured data, and correct a few minor errors. The Front-end SEO inspector, which offers an overview of posts and other SEO settings like meta tags and structured data, is a notable enhancement. Sadly, a flaw that resulted in a fatal mistake also happened in a certain circumstance.

Yoast Fatal Error

In the well-known book Product Led SEO author and search marketing guru, Eli Schwartz tweeted about a terrible mistake. Unexpected conflicts between plugins frequently result in issues. However, other others confirmed that they were experiencing the same issue, so it wasn’t entirely random. There were additional complaints of fatal failures on the Yoast SEO support page on WordPress.org. One person wrote:

Uncaught fatal error YoastSEO Vendor

“When I logged on to my website’s dashboard this morning, I saw a fatal error and was unable to access the backend or log in.

How do I resolve this problem?”

Two more people replied with the same issue, and one of them said, “Same here. Backend login is not possible, and the website and backend both produce fatal errors. I noticed today’s Yoast auto-update. The site is now back online after the free and premium versions were moved from the plugins directory to a temporary directory.”

Another user who had both the free and premium versions configured the same way confirmed that story by posting: “Getting a fatal error after the update also. You can also get News SEO, the premium version, and the free version.”

Yoast Responds

The creator of Yoast, Joost de Valk, provided the following reply to Search Engine Journal: “A fix was generated immediately by the team indeed and for the majority of sites that resolved it completely. Some websites’ automatic update systems didn’t function properly, therefore those websites didn’t automatically repair themselves. We have been debating this internally a lot because we were unhappy with how we handled the situation as well as the fact that it even occurred. We’re all genuinely upset about it and regretful for the websites we’ve damaged.”

Yoast Identifies the Problem

The previous commenter’s observation that they had both the free and premium versions of the Yoast plugin installed may have provided a hint as to what caused the fatal fault because that circumstance was given as the cause of the Fatal Error. Yoast responded immediately to the problems and released version 19.5.1 of a patch that same day.

The changelog for the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin lists what is included in each update:

When Yoast SEO 19.5 was utilized with an earlier version of Yoast SEO Premium, a fatal error would be thrown on the front end. This bug has been fixed in version 19.5.1.

The Problem is Fixed with Version 19.5.1

The issue has been resolved in Yoast 19.5.1. In the Yoast support forum, a user wrote, “Update 19.5.1 has fixed the issue.”

However, given that millions of users have installed millions of different combinations of other plugins, it is almost certain that a very small number of edge situations would have problems.

One user, for instance, complains about their unsatisfactory experience after updating immediately from 19.4 to 19.5.1 in a post on the official Yoast support site.

Edge cases frequently appear with any release, and Yoast 19.5.1 can be one of them. The issue appears to have been caused by Yoast publishing an update for Yoast (19.5)’s a free version but not its premium counterpart at the same time. This led to a conflict between the two plugins and a fatal error.