Getting a “missed schedule” error on WordPress? Why your scheduled post didn’t publish and how to fix it

You come up with a concept, spend time writing copy, taking photos, creating images and formatting the post. You set the date and click schedule. Easy, right? Well if you regularly schedule content on WordPress you may know the frustration that is the “missed schedule” error.

I’m going to share a quick solution with you so you can prevent this from happening in the future.

Why does the “missed schedule” error happen?

Being able to schedule posts on WordPress is made possible by a little thing called cron jobs. A cron job is a task or event that is set to run at a specified interval, which will happen regularly, automatically and without human intervention.

The problem is that WordPress uses WP Cron, which is essentially a faux cron job. This is the reason why, on occasion, it doesn’t run as expected…

Tom McFarlin explains below that if someone doesn’t visit your site around the time your post is scheduled to go live, then the event won’t be triggered and your scheduled post won’t publish.

When it comes to WordPress, you can schedule an event to happen at a certain interval, but it doesn’t operate like a classical cron job. Instead, the event is set and scheduled and written to the database.

The next time a user hits the site, the WordPress cron system will look to see if an event is scheduled and, if so, will then fire the event. Notice the problem?

Someone has to visit the site before the event actually kicks off. So if you’ve scheduled something to happen hourly, but no one has visited your site in the last hour, then the event will never kick off.

Scheduled post failed to publish on WordPress? Here's how to fix it!

How to fix the “missed schedule” issue on WordPress?

The easiest, non-technical method to resolve this is to install a plugin that will re-trigger the post to publish once someone does visit your site.

There are a number of plugins available such as Scheduled Post Trigger and WP Scheduled Posts. There is another popular plugin called WP Missed Schedule, which is available to download on GitHub (you would then need to upload to your site).

If you don’t want to install a plugin or you need to get more technical, then there are a couple of things you can do instead.

You can check your wp-config.php file to ensure that WP Cron is not disabled or confirm with your hosting provider that the server settings aren’t blocking the default WP Cron method.

A more permanent solution is to manage cron jobs on your server through your hosting provider’s cpanel.

On your WordPress dashboard, go to Tools > Health Check > Status and look for a notification about a late scheduled event. This may give you insight into a particular issue on your site.


The ability to schedule posts is an important feature of WordPress, and one that we rely on when managing our content calendars. It can be frustrating when you’ve worked hard on a post only to later realise that it didn’t publish when you wanted it to. Using a plugin like Scheduled Post Trigger or WP Scheduled Posts should mean that your blog posts get published as planned. I hope this post has helped!

Free SEO Checklist (Content and Technical)

Get your free SEO checklist

Signup to the fortnightly newsletter below and get access to The Hub full of free checklists, ebooks, and more.