Connection Refused

Recently, two of my client sites, which had been connected to my MainWP dashboard without issue for over a year, suddenly disconnected and would not reconnect.

When I run Test Connection, I get a result of “Connection Refused” which I found strange.

I did a quick search here in the community and came across this post: Hostinger MainWP Child Plugin error Connection test failed which has the same symptoms (but sadly no follow-up from the OP). While my client sites are not on Hostinger (but both are on Bluehost), when I checked the Server status via MainWP on my child sites, I see the exact same error as the original poster:
SSL Warnings = empty error:0607A082:digital envelope routines:EVP_CIPHER_CTX_set_key_length:invalid key length

Both child sites lost their connection and refused to reconnect starting on 16 March.
Both child sites are on Bluehost, although one I do not have access to Bluehost directly.
One was recently migrated to Bluehost, and had connected successfully after the initial migration (this one I have BH access). The other has been on Bluehost the whole time I’ve worked on it (over a year) and has never had connection issues before (this one I do not have BH access).
I manage two other sites on Bluehost (for over a year as well) and neither of them have shown any connection issues recently.

The only other commonality I can find is that both were recently upgraded to PHP 8 at the host’s discretion.

Is there a known issue with PHP 8 and MainWP connections?

Hi Connie,

PHP 8 should not be a problem here.

The error message usually means that the server firewall started blocking requests from your dashboard.

You should contact the BH support and have them check firewall logs and whitelist your Dashboard site IP address.

Thanks for the quick reply. I will check with BH for the site I do have access to and see if this can be done.

Also, on a side note, if not Server side firewall, please check if there are some security plugins on the child sites, some security rules in .htaccess, or maybe some Cloud Proxy firewall that could block requests.

I just checked Wordfence (the only additional security I’m using on either site) and my MainWP IP address had already been added to the Allow list there. Hoping it’s a quick thing chatting with Bluehost support…

Could this change “randomly”? I would imagine these are set and forget mostly, so for my IP to suddenly be blocked after working fine for a year seems strange…

I don’t think rules would change randomly. Only if someone adds rules on purpose.

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Bluehost claims there is nothing on their end blocking my access…
... I am really sorry that we dont have much access to fix this issue on our end as this is out of scope issue for us, as we are server admins we can fix only the issue related to the server and hosting related, I know it is important for you to resolve, But We do have restriction on this, [...] I have checked that there is no block from our hosting end.

Any other ideas or suggestions…?

Not to be snarky but wouldn’t checking the server firewalls and logs fall under being “server admins” and “in-scope”?

Hmm… unless you had updated your MainWP Dashboard or Child at or slightly before that date it seems to point to something happening at Blue Host that then interfered with the MainWP connection.

What is the exact response you are getting from the test connection feature?

The comment from their support did feel a little weak. I may try again at a different time of day and see if I get someone a bit more technically minded.

I did not make any changes that I know of on that date, and since I have two other Child sites hosted on BH with no problems, I found it all sort of strange.

That error message tells me that they (Blue Host) or another security service you are using has blocked your Dashboard from accessing port 443.

Port 443 is the standard port for HTTPS traffic, so your Dashboard board cannot communicate with the child site.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to make these sites connect. If you have verified that you don’t have any of your own security services blocking 443, you will need Blue Host support to unblock it.

I would start by keeping it simple for support:
On the MainWP > Status page, locate your MainWP Dashboard IP address and note it down. Then send this to support.

Please unblock (your Dashboard IP from above) for (list your URLs having an issue).

Keeping it simple sometimes helps and apologies to have to send you back to them.


I thought I started with simple: “please add IP [] to the allow list in the firewall for [site url]” - they told me they added my IP to the allow list and confirmed there were no active blocks for the provided IP address. Yet when I tested again and again, I still received the “connection refused” message. So unless there’s some caching on my dashboard hosting that needs clearing, I have to assume all that can be done has been done at this point…

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had issues with my dashboard site connecting to client sites (on a variety of hosts, mind you), so I have other ways to manage, but still. Annoying that sites which used to work no longer do.

All that we can do has been done, we can’t force your host to allow the connection.


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