Wordpress keeps flashing updating button when updating pages using WPML Multilingual CMS

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It has been quite a long time since I worked the last time with a Wordpress CMS but for a new project I'm currently building a web shop using Wordpress. This web shop will run with multiple languages, therefore the Wordpress Multi Lang Language (WPML) plugin was installed. 

When I recently updated another plugin, I noticed that pages wouldn't be saved anymore once I edited them. Actually, the changes were saved, but the flashing "saving" text and "updating" button never went away and just kept flashing.

Wordpress pages flashing updating

I followed the PHP error log and found the following entry appearing, whenever I tried to save a page:

[Sat Aug 17 16:08:51.368644 2019] [php7:error] [pid 3901] [client 192.168.15.150:50446] PHP Fatal error:  Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function WPML\\PB\\Gutenberg\\StringsInBlock\\DOMHandler\\mb_convert_encoding() in /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/vendor/wpml/page-builders-gutenberg/src/strings-in-block/dom-handler/dom-handle.php:31\nStack trace:\n#0 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/vendor/wpml/page-builders-gutenberg/src/strings-in-block/dom-handler/dom-handle.php(18): WPML\\PB\\Gutenberg\\StringsInBlock\\DOMHandler\\DOMHandle->getDom('\\n<p>At scoby&am...')\n#1 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/vendor/wpml/page-builders-gutenberg/src/strings-in-block/class-html.php(24): WPML\\PB\\Gutenberg\\StringsInBlock\\DOMHandler\\DOMHandle->getDomxpath('\\n<p>At scoby&am...')\n#2 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/vendor/wpml/page-builders-gutenberg/src/strings-in-block/class-collection.php(26): WPML\\PB\\Gutenberg\\StringsInBlock\\HTML->find(Object(WP_Block_Parser_Block))\n#3 /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sit in /var/www/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/vendor/wpml/page-builders-gutenberg/src/strings-in-block/dom-handler/dom-handle.php on line 31, referer: https://wordpress.example.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=432&action=edit&lang=de

Some quick research on the WPML support forums always pointed to try and disable other plugins, but by looking at the error message more closely, something caught my eye:

Call to undefined function [...] mb_convert_encoding()

Hmm... that does pretty much sound like an mbstring function. But is the mbstring extension actually installed on that server? No, it was not! Let's do this, followed by an Apache2 reload:

root@debian:~# apt-get install php7.3-mbstring
root@debian:~# systemctl reload apache2

And voilĂ . Updates on pages now worked fine, no error messages anymore.


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