cURL error 28: Connection timed out

This error can happen when trying to activate your theme’s license key, or when trying to perform an update.

WordPress uses something called cURL to communicate with other websites using this function: wp_remote_post()

This is a core WordPress function and not a “theme” function, but this is how we verify license keys and perform updates.

This is actually necessary for your website to communicate with our website because we need to know the license key you’ve input so we can validate it in our records. When validating your key, this sends a response back to your website to activate it.

When cURL times out, it typically means one of the two websites is blocking that communication or that it’s taking a long time to talk to each other. Firewalls and other forms of server security can also cause this to happen.

What to do?

The first thing to do is go through this list and hopefully support from your hosting provider can help you out.

  • Ensure that your server is running the latest (recent) version of PHP and the cURL library.
  • Try increasing your PHP memory limit.
  • Try increasing your cURL timeout limit.
  • Ask your host if there is some limitation with wp-cron, or if loopback is disabled.
  • Ask your host if there are firewall or security modules installed and active that could block the outgoing cURL requests.

If none of the above fixes the issue, you will need to ask your hosting support for additional help–if possible. The other option is to grab a coffee and look on Google.