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I see only a loading animation. What’s the problem? (WordPress REST API not responding)

If you only see a loading animation, but the actual content in one of our plugins does not load, your WordPress REST API is most likely not reachable.

What is the WordPress REST API?

A REST API is generally a standardized method that many applications on the Internet use to communicate between server and client. WordPress v4.7 introduced the WordPress REST API, which allows modern WordPress plugins to use this standard method for communication instead of the WordPress specific way of communication.

How can I enable the WordPress REST API in my website?

The WordPress REST API is enabled by default in your WordPress website. It is a standard method of communication and there is no additional risk to have it activated compared to other methods how WordPress plugins communicate between client and server. But some WordPress plugins allow you as WordPress admin to disable the REST API. The reason is possible by a better performance or security aspects, which often can not be verified.

We know the following plugins that allow you to disable the REST API. By default, none of these plugins disable the REST API, but they can optionally disable it:

Additionally, you can restrict access to the REST API in your web server configuration (usually Apache2 or NGINX). This can be done intentionally or accidentally by rejecting requests that start with /wp-json/.

How do I know if the unreachable REST API is my issue?

You can easily check if an unreachable REST API is the problem when you see only one loading animation in a devowl.io WordPress plugin. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open a new tab where you access your website.
  2. Right-click into the web page to open the panel “Inspect” (Google Chrome) or “Inspect Element” (Mozilla Firefox). Here you can go to the “Console” tab.
  3. Now open the page on which you see the loading animation that does not disappear.
  4. In the console, you should see an entry marked red as an error, which indicates an error 403, 404 or 500 (depending on your plugin/configuration to disable the REST API).
Multiple errors due to an unreachable REST API

If you see an error like this, you need to make sure that the WordPress REST API is reachable again.

I do not want to enable the REST API in general, but for your plugin. Is this possible?

This depends on the configuration or plugin you use to restrict access to the REST API. For example, with Cerber Security, Anti-spam & Malware Scan, you can disable the REST API using namespaces. Each plugin that uses the WordPress REST API must register a namespace in which all endpoints are registered. For example, if you access /wp-json/realmedialibrary/v1 in your WordPress REST API, the namespace is called realmedialibrary/v1.

We use for the devowl.io WordPress plugins the following namespaces:

  • Real Media Library: realmedialibrary/v1
  • Real Physical Media: real-physical-media/v1
  • Real Category Management: real-category-library/v1
  • Real Thumbnail Generator: real-thumbnail-generator/v1
  • Real Custom Post Order: real-custom-post-order/v1
  • Real Cookie Banner: real-cookie-banner/v1 (must be available for everyone, not only for logged-in users)
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