Receiving the message “The link you followed has expired” is a disheartening moment. The link expired? What does that mean? You’re not sure why the link you followed has expired, and the error message won’t tell you either.
Unfortunately, it happens all too often. On WordPress, you’ll receive this message when you attempt to upload a file over the size and/or execution limit of your server. Strange but true!
The message is no help in telling you why you’re getting it, which can be frustrating. For beginners especially, you’re often not sure what to do next. Luckily, in this article by our team at wpDataTables, you’ll be presented with a couple of easy solutions to fix this error.
Why am I seeing ‘The link you followed has expired’ error message?
The message, ‘the link you followed has expired,’ is most often received when you’re uploading either a WordPress plugin or theme.
With all standard WordPress installations, there is a server setting that limits the upload of files over a certain size. There is also a setting that prevents scripts from running for too long,causing any script that exceeds the limit to timeout.
This means that when you try to upload a file that’s over the size limit, or the upload takes too long, you’ll get an error message. This is the one that reads “the link you followed has expired”.
To find out the size of the upload limit, you can go to the Media section of the WordPress dashboard, then click ‘Add New’. At the bottom of this page, you will see the text: “Maximum upload file size: …”
The default file size limit is usually pre-configured at 2MB which is quite low, especially for WordPress theme uploads. In the following sections, we’ll show you how to change this to a higher value, as well as set a more reasonable script timeout limit.
How to Fix the Error
So, if the link expired, what do you do? The answer is clear —if the setting is too low, you need to increase the limit. Luckily, this is not too tricky to do, even for a beginner.
There’s more than one way of increasing the limit to avoid ‘the link you followed has expired’ message. Don’t get scared, but they all include adding some code. This isn’t as hard as it sounds —if you can copy and paste, then you have all the necessary skills.
At the same time, we’ll also be increasing the time your site allows a file to execute (in this case, how long it takes to upload a file, theme, or plugin).
We will provide a step by step guide, making this as easy as possible. Follow along and make sure you complete all the steps for the method you are attempting. Try the methods one at a time.
If a method doesn’t work you will need to undo what you did before trying a new method. This is important to make sure your website continues working smoothly.
Method 1: Change the functions.php file
The functions.php file is a core file for WordPress sites. Do remember that the file is linked to the theme you use. So, if you change your theme later, you’ll need to repeat this method to increase the upload size.
It’s a simple file to edit but if you’re considering a new theme, try a different method. Solve the ‘link you followed has expired’ error with the following steps.
- Find the php file (either via FTP or inside your Admin dashboard at Appearance > Theme Editor)
- Paste this code into it:
@ini_set( 'upload_max_size' , '100M' ); @ini_set( 'post_max_size', '100M'); @ini_set( 'max_execution_time', '300' );
- Change upload_max_size and post_max_size in the above to the size required
- Look at the max_execution_time and change it if it’s not long enough
- Save changes
- Check if the error still occurs
It might be tempting to make these limits massive but be careful as hackers can use this against you. If the timeout value is really high and they get into your website, they could run all sorts of dangerous, long-running scripts. In other cases, a bug might cause a script to take abnormally long to process, which can slow your site down to a standstill.
Method 2: Increase limits in the .htaccess file
It’s also possible to change the .htaccess file to solve your issue.
Here are the steps:
- Find the.htaccess file (usually hidden in the root directory of your WordPress installation)
- At the bottom, add this code:
php_value upload_max_filesize 128M php_value post_max_size 128M php_value max_execution_time 300 php_value max_input_time 300
- Save the file
- Check if the issue is resolved
Method 3: Edit the php.ini file
If you can’t find the functions.php or .htaccess files or don’t like to edit them, there’s another method. To solve the issue of “the link you followed has expired”message, you can edit the php.ini file, which contains settings for your server’s implementation of PHP.
Some shared website hosting companies don’t give access to the file, which may be a roadblock for you. If that’s the case for you, it’s best to contact your hosting provider directly.
If you’re sure you have access, you can perform the following steps:
- Access the ini file using anFTP program
- Create a backup copy before editing
- Open the file and search for the following lines which are scattered throughout the file:
memory_limit upload_max_filesize upload_max_size max_input_time post_max_size max_execution_time
- Preferably, edit them to the following values:
memory_limit = 256M upload_max_filesize = 64M upload_max_size = 64M max_input_time = 1000 post_max_size = 64M max_execution_time = 300
Method 4: Contact your hosting provider
You can always contact your host provider to change these settings. They’ll likely ask for a screenshot of the ‘the link you followed has expired’ message so ensure you take one when it happens. If you didn’t, you can recreate the error to get a screenshot.
You could also choose to send them an email explaining the issue. Request that they increase the limits of the following:
memory_limit upload_max_size post_max_size upload_max_filesize max_execution_time max_input_time
Try again to see if your file will now upload.
Ending thoughts on fixing ‘the link you followed has expired’ error
Remember that if you get truly stuck, that’s what your hosting provider is there for. You can ask them to help if you have any serious issues. Luckily, as you can tell by the methods above, it’s very possible to fix this error all by yourself.
Whether you’re new to this or quite experienced, getting stressed about an error message like ‘the link you followed has expired’ is quite natural. However, with WordPress, there are plenty of ways to find out how to solve any error you might encounter.
Before delving into any steps that involve editing core files like functions.php, .htaccess, or php.ini, it’s advised that you backup your website, so that if you have a real issue you’ve got an error-free copy. This would only be used in an emergency, but it’s good to have there just in case.
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