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Greetings! Website Error Message "Fatal error: Call-time pass-by-reference has been removed"

My website, which has operated more or less trouble free for years, suddenly shows the following error message instead of loading: "Fatal error: Call-time pass-by-reference has been removed in /home/content/72/14035372/html/wp-content/plugins/fast-category-cloud-wordpress-plugin/byrev_cat-cloud.php on line 37"

What does this mean, and how can I get my site back up and running again?

Bro. Cliff


You must have updated php versions recently, and your plugin fast-category-cloud-wordpress-plugin is years out of date and insecure.


Call-time pass-by-reference was removed in PHP 5.4, which was released in 2012 and stopped receiving updates in 2015. You have to be running PHP 5.6 or newer these days to be receiving security updates.


You're best off removing that plugin. As a bandaid to get your site loading, you can add the following line to your .htaccess file to get your site to load with a very old, insecure version of PHP:


addhandler x-httpd-php5-cgi .php