Popup Maker Detected an Issue With Your File System

If you see the admin notification message below and want to know what to do, you're at the right place.

Popup Maker detected an issue with your file system's ability and is unable to create & save cached assets for your popup styling and settings. This may lead to suboptimal performance. Please check your filesystem and contact your hosting provider to ensure Popup Maker can create and write to cache files.

I don't care. Just get me to the troubleshooting steps.

To help popups load faster on a page, Popup Maker grabs your popup settings and styles (assets) from the database and stores (caches) them on your web server's filesystem. That all happens by default. You can turn this off by going to Popup Maker > Settings > Misc and clicking Disable asset caching.

Remember that checking this setting turns OFF the asset cache, and unchecking it turns ON the cache.

In the screen capture above, Popup Maker's asset caching is ON

All your popup settings will be in the /wp-content/uploads/pum/pum-site-scripts.js file.

All your popup styles will be in the /wp-content/uploads/pum/pum-site-styles.css file.

If Popup Maker can't get to those files, it'll throw up that warning message.

NOTE: This is a default yet optional performance setting. Turning this off or if it isn't working is *NOT* a critical error. Your site and popups will run fine without the cached assets. You might only notice some slowness if you have many popups on a single post or page.

Storing settings and styles from the database to the filesystem is called asset caching. Put it this way. If Popup Maker didn't create and use an asset cache, a bunch of database queries would need to run every time a page with a popup loads. Imagine if you have a lot of popups on a page! 

In general, getting info from a file is more efficient than getting it from a database. This is especially true if the data (like popup settings and styles) don't change all the time.

When you turn on Popup Maker, it creates the asset cache (those 2 files we mentioned earlier). The cache gets updated any time you change popup settings and styles. So you'll always have the latest settings and styles loaded for your popups.

Let's get into the troubleshooting.

There was a bug we found around version 1.18.0. The bug displayed that filesystem notification even if there wasn't a problem. Upgrading to v1.18.1 ( released 8 March 2023) will fix it.

If the notification goes away after upgrading, there's nothing more to see here. You're done. 

If nothing happened and you still see the notification, carry on reading.

Underneath the admin notification message, you'll see 3 links.

If you clicked on Try to create cache again and the notification message went away, awesome job. You're done.

If that link didn't do anything (the notification is still there), it's time to check for:

  1. Errors under Popup Maker > Tools > Error Log.
  2. The pum-site-scripts.js and pum-site-styles.css files on your web server.
  3. Wrong filesystem permissions for the wp-content and uploads directories.
  4. Mischief from a security plugin (i.e., firewall) that blocks HTTP connections to the files in /wp-content/uploads/pum/.

Let's go through each one.

Checking Popup Maker's built-in error log can give you clues about what's happening.

Go to  Popup Maker > Tools > Error Log.

Seeing "Debug logging is disabled." in the log and nothing else under it could mean a filesystem permissions problem. Jump down to the filesystem permissions section to confirm it.

If you see any other messages, especially about the asset cache, click Download Error Log and attach it when you open a support ticket. You can also share the same error log with your hosting support team if you've already reached out to them about this issue.

In the screen capture above, there was a temporary network problem that blocked Popup Maker from getting to the asset cache.

Before you start, you'll need a way to look at your server files. Here are 2 popular tools you can use.

You can also ask your hosting team to do this check for you. Send them the link for these instructions.

We use the words directory and folder interchangeably. I.e., they're the same thing.

To check if the pum-site-scripts.js and pum-site-styles.css files are on your web server:

  1. Open your FileZilla or File Manager.
  2. Go to the folder where your WordPress is (e.g., "public" or your site name).
  3. Go to wp-content.
  4. Go to uploads.
  5. Look for the pum folder.
  6. If you see the pum folder, open it and make a screen capture of what's inside it.

Here's an example. In the screen capture below, we installed WordPress in a directory named public. To find our JS and CSS asset files, we go to public > wp-content > uploads.

In uploads, we open the pum folder.

By now, you've confirmed that your asset cache files are either OK or missing.

If you don't see a pum folder or the JS and CSS files: 

  1. Make sure your Popup Maker asset caching is on. Go to Popup Maker > Settings > Misc and uncheck Disable asset caching.
  2. Check your web server's filesystem permissions (read the next section).

This is an easy check since WordPress has a built-in tool that shows your website's system info.

From your /wp-admin/ area, head over to Tools > Site Health > Info.

Scroll down to Filesystem Permissions and expand it. Make a screen capture of the content in that section.

In the screen capture below, our uploads directory is marked Not writable. That's a problem 😔

If you see Not writable next to the wp-content or uploads directories, you've found the reason why you're getting the admin notification warning.

Popup Maker needs to write to the /wp-content/uploads/ directory. If either of those directories isn't writable, Popup Maker can't create and use its default asset cache. Hence the warning.

The best way is to ask your hosting support team to make the wp-content or uploads directory writable for you.

If you're a techie, you can use your SFTP app or cPanel File Manager.

For SFTP, check out the official WordPress Changing File Permissions guide.

For File Manager, read the cPanel doc.

If your filesystem permissions are OK and you still see the warning message, there could be a network problem. 

  1. Bring up your browser's dev tools network tab.
  2. Filter on "pum".
  3. Look for the JS and CSS asset files.

Here's what a healthy network tab should look like for those files.

Status 200 is good. If you see anything but 200 for the asset files, there's a network issue.

  1. A security plugin: Temporarily turn off your security plugin. If the warning goes away, then go through your security plugin settings. Try changing any settings or rules that block writing to the asset cache. Then, retest.
  2. A WAF (web application firewall): Check with your hosting or CDN provider to see if they have a WAF that might be blocking write access to the asset cache.
  3. A random network issue: Ask your hosting provider if they've seen any network issues with your site.
  4. A bug: This isn't network related, but there could always be something buggy on your site. Give our support team a holler so they can help you figure this out.

Our support team can help you if none of this worked or made any sense. Head over to our support page or watch this quick how-to-submit a ticket video.

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