Main Support

Troubleshooting connection problems

Normally when a site is added to the Watchful Dashboard, a connection is immediately formed between the site and Watchful.

However, there are a number of things that might prevent a site from connecting successfully.

If you have an error connecting a site, please follow the suggestions below to resolve the issue.

If these suggestions fail to resolve the problem, please submit a support ticket from the Watchful Dashboard.

Troubleshooting connection problems

Note: Take care to manually refresh the site data after each step.

1. Ensure you are using the most recent version of the Watchful Client on your website site. You can see the most recent version for your platform on the Downloads tab in your Watchful Profile.

2. Ensure the Watchful Secret Key on your website matches exactly the Secret Key in your site details. Tip: Copy-paste from your site to Watchful to be sure the keys match. See also: Changing your Watchful Secret Key.

3. Check that the URL of your site in the Watchful Dashboard matches exactly what a user would see if they visited your site (i.e. HTTPS vs. HTTP; WWW vs. no WWW). If your site works with or without WWW in the URL, test the connection in each case.

4. If you are using an internationalized domain name (eg. using characters other than unaccented Roman letters (A-Z), digits (0-9), and the hyphen), use to convert it to ASCII. The converted URL can then be used in Watchful.

5. Clear the Word to Check field in your Site Details. 

6. Add the Watchful IP Addresses to the IP Address whitelist on your server. You may need to contact your hosting service provider or IT department to complete this task.

7. Add the Watchful IP Addresses to the IP Address whitelist in your web application firewall. See How do I whitelist the Watchful IP address? for details.

8. Temporarily disable your Web Application Firewall to see if other firewall settings are interfering with the connection.

9. Contact your hosting service provider or IT department to see if the time on your server is synchronized. A sample reply you should expect is shown below. 

synchronised to NTP server ( at stratum 3
time correct to within 42 ms
polling server every 1024 s

If you are unable to verify time synchronization or are unsure if the time is synchronized, login to the remote site backend and disable the timestamp check in the Watchful Client options. Watchful can operate normally with this setting disabled.

WordPress troubleshooting

1. The following URL should be accessible and return a no verification key error message:

2. Watchful requires the WordPress API to be installed and activated. You can test if your site has a properly installed and activated REST API by visiting the following

If the REST API is functioning normally, you will see a long list of API endpoints. If you get an error page of any sort, you'll need to speak with your hosting provider or IT department to fix any API issues. Here are some likely sources of problems:

  • WordPress 4.6 or older: Install and activate the REST-API plugin from the official WordPress Directory. When properly installed, the REST-API will appear in the Installed Plugins area of the WordPress backend as shown in this screenshot:
    support wordpress wordpress4.5 rest api plugin installed 2017
  • WordPress 4.7+: The REST-API is baked into WordPress 4.7 and no longer appears in the list of plugins. However, any plugin that blocks or conflicts with the REST-API will prevent Watchful from connecting to your website. Start by ensuring that the Disable REST API plugin is not installed or active on your site. Then try disabling your plugins one at a time and see if this restores the REST API functionality.
  • All WordPress versions: It is possible that there are some HTACCESS rules on your web server that affect the REST API. Comment out each section (or line) of your HTACCESS file to see if any of the directives contained within are the source of the problem. Importantly, since URL rewriting is required for Watchful to connect to WordPress (see above), do not completely disable the HTACCESS file (by renaming it for example) as part of the troubleshooting process. 

3. Disable "Coming Soon" plugins that hide your website frontend (typically used during development).

4. If using the Advanced Access Manager plugin, enable the RESTful WordPress API option in Settings > Core Settings.

Joomla troubleshooting

1. The following URL should be accessible and return a no verification key error message:

2. Check whether the Example Watchful App is installed in the plugin manager and disable it if found.

3. Check whether jmonitoring-slave is installed in the Joomla plugin manager and disable it if found.

4. Add the Watchful component (com_watchfulli) to the list of allowed extensions in your Joomla web application firewall (i.e. RS Firewall, Admin Tools, OSE AntiHacker).

5. Check whether Docman/Extman from Joomlatools is installed in the Joomla plugin manager and disable it if found.