After a lot of debugging, I was able to figure out that Media Temple’s (dv) configuration was responsible for the “Missed schedule” errors I was getting in WordPress. By default, the /etc/hosts file looks like this:
127.0.0.1 yourdomain.com yourdomain localhost localhost.localdomain
To execute cron tasks, WordPress needs to post to the URL http://yourdomain.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron. This isn’t usually a problem, but with the above hosts file and Plesk’s Apache configuration, that URL will actually result in a 404 error.
I tried removing yourdomain.com and youdomain from the hosts file:
127.0.0.1 localhost localhost.localdomain
127.0.0.1 localhost localhost.localdomain xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx yourdomain.com yourdomain
Now when you restart the VPS, these changes to the hosts file will remain.
I looked at several other possible solutions to fix the “Missed schedule” problem. One solution was setting the “ALTERNATE_WP_CRON” constant in the wp-config.php:
This activated some very messy redirecting for the user as they browsed the site though. Not a great solution. Another solution I was considering was just executing wp-cron.php from a cronjob every hour. Something like this:
0 * * * * /home/yourdomain/htdocs/wp-cron.php >/dev/null