What is a Missed Schedule post?
Like most people, I’m pretty terrible at forming good habits – flossing regularly, resting my eyes when using the computer, and regularly writing new material for my website. For the first two problems, there’s not much I can do but to do my best and hope it sticks. But the third problem should be easily solvable! Just write a lot to build up a buffer, and then use WordPress to schedule them to be published in the future! Easy solution, right?
And it works, until one day you log in and realize some posts that were supposed to be published days ago, aren’t. Instead of being Published, they have a status of Missed Schedule.
And it’s not just one post either, almost a third of posts from the last three weeks were unpublished! And so, stuff that I expected to be published and available, was not. For me, it’s not a big deal. But this problem might mean lost sales and lost revenues for a commercial site. So it’s got to be solved!
What causes a Missed Schedule WordPress post?
There’s a lot of data out there on WordPress Missed Schedule posts, but most of it is either useless, contradictory, or very technical. However, I pieced them together to discover the following:
1) When you schedule a post in WordPress to be posted in the future, WordPress uses something called WP-cron to post at the scheduled time.
2) A ‘cron’ job is a task scheduling system that runs on the website server, doing stuff like telling WordPress to post at a scheduled time.
3) However, WP-cron is a not actually a true ‘cron job’ (presumably because not everyone has the full server access). Instead, it checks if it should publish every time somebody visits the website.
4) This does not always work – I get roughly 100 visitors per day, and clearly this has not always triggered the posts. I theorize that some combination of plugin problems and server issues contribute towards these Missed Schedule problems
How can I prevent Missed Schedule posts?
This is the easy part – there’s a couple of great plugins. I just installed and recommend WP Missed Schedule, which sets up a true ‘cron’ job to publish scheduled posts.