Safe Mode helps to prevent an “Identity Crisis” with development and staging sites.
You can also prevent any issues from occurring by putting your staging site into Jetpack’s staging mode.
What is an Identity Crisis?
When you first connect your Jetpack-enabled site to WordPress.com, we assign a unique blog ID and a token that is tied to the site URL – similar to a username and password. We use this blog ID to keep track of a lot of things, including your site’s stats information and your subscribers. When the URL changes, the system should update the ID with that new URL and keep everything properly connected.
Oftentimes, though, the system would recognize the new URL as a new site and would then assign a new blog ID, despite the fact that it’s the same site. It then appears that your historical statistics and site subscribers are “lost.” This is what we call an “Identity Crisis.”
How does Safe Mode Help?
Safe mode helps prevent these problems before they start.
There are several cases where your Jetpack-enabled site’s URL could change:
- You bought a new domain name and updated your site to use that domain.
- You clone your site from production to staging.
- You allow two URLs to point to the same WordPress installation.
- Any other scenario where the URL of your site might change.
In most cases, we can safely update the URL and not cause an Identity Crisis. But, there are a handful of cases where we’re not able to automatically determine whether we should update the URL in our data caches.
In these cases, Jetpack takes some extra steps to make sure that we’re not causing an Identity Crisis:
- We don’t allow syncing any more information from the Jetpack-enabled site to the WordPress.com caches.
- We begin displaying the Jetpack Safe Mode notice.
- We continue showing that notice until an admin of your site resolves the potential Identity Crisis.
What does the Safe Mode notice look like?
When the notice is first displayed, you’ll see something like this:
- Clicking the “Safe Mode” text at the bottom of the notice will hide the notice and leave your site in Safe Mode.
- Clicking the “Move your settings” button will show you a notice that confirms your settings have been migrated successfully.
- Clicking the “Create a fresh connection” button will start the Jetpack connection process.
What does each button mean?
Looking at the above screenshot, there are three actions you can take. Below is an explanation of why you would click each button.
Stay in Safe Mode
If you have cloned your site for testing purposes, then you’ll want to click the “Safe mode” text at the bottom of the notice.
This will keep your site in Safe Mode and hide the notice. Many hosts will refer to this as a “staging” environment.
After clicking the “Safe Mode“ text, you will see a “Jetpack Safe Mode” button appear in the admin bar.
Clicking that button will open the initial Safe Mode dialog box again in case you need to fix your connection using one of the other methods.
Move your settings
You would click the “Move your settings” button if the new site URL is replacing your old site’s URL. The most common case is when you are moving a site from a development environment to a production environment.
For example, going from
After clicking this button, WordPress.com will migrate all of your stats and subscribers from the old site to the new site and then we will place the old site in staging mode.
Note: After clicking the “Move your settings” button, the Safe Mode notice should disappear immediately on your new site but it could take a few minutes for stats and subscribers to migrate.
Create fresh connection
You would click the “Create a fresh connection” button when you’re creating a new and separate site.
The most common instance for this would be to create a copy of site A that will be used as a starting point for site B.
After clicking the “Create a fresh connection” button, you will be redirected to WordPress.com to authorize the connection.
After clicking the “Approve” button there, your new Jetpack-enabled site will have its own connection and the Safe Mode notice should disappear.
Safe Mode and Staging Mode
Jetpack’s Staging Mode is designed to be enabled on a known staging environment or when staging mode is explicitly set via the staging mode constant. When in Staging Mode, your staging site will not pass data to WordPress.com or Jetpack so as not to cause issues with your production site. If a staging site is created without being set as a staging site (or detected as a staging site automatically), Safe Mode will be triggered.