Plugin and Theme Fault Finding in WordPress

Just a quick tip or 2 to help troubleshoot faulty WordPress plugins and themes. If you have a major WordPress issue it’s usually always the fault of rogue plugins or themes and if you contact your hosting company or Google around for advice you’ll see a lot of people say deactivate and reactivate each plugin in turn to find the culprit. With around 50 plugins in my own site, that would take forever.

Tip 1 (Plugins):

If you have access to FTP or a hosting File Manager for your site go into the remote “wp-content” folder and change the name of the “Plugins” folder to “Plugins2” or similar. This will quickly deactivate ALL plugins and tell you whether your issue is with plugins at all or not. Reload the site with the plugins folder renamed and see if the issue persists. If it does then it’s not a plugin issue so go back and rename the plugins folder properly and the site will be as was.

If the issue is fixed then one of your plugins is acting up. Rather than go through them one by one, take groups of about 3 or 4 plugins and deactivate/reactivate them.

Tip 2 (Themes):

If the above doesn’t fix your issue then the problem might be with your theme. Try switching theme’s temporarily and switch to a well known and stable theme like WordPress’s own “Twenty Twelve”. The first thing I always do when it’s obvious the theme is at fault is go into the theme’s “Functions.php” file and make sure there’s no white space at the start or end of the files php code. After that I might go and see if there’s an updated version of the theme available.

Tip 3 (Error Reporting & Debugging):

If nothing else works you can try a bit of debugging by turning on WordPress’s own error reporting tool. You add the following line in the “wp-config.php” file in WordPress’s root directory:

define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

You can also enable php error reporting in your site’s root “.htaccess” file with the below code which puts the errors in a log file on your site rather than show them to the public:

php_flag log_errors on
php_value error_log /home/path/public_html/


Published by

Leon Quinn

Multimedia Design company in Leitrim, Ireland specializing in WordPress Website Design, Photoshop and Graphics.

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