Today we’re going to be talking about troubleshooting your WordPress site. Hopefully, you never have to use them, but these are some great things to know.
First Troubleshooting Step
Check WordPress, your plugins, and themes to make sure you’re running the latest versions of everything. Keep in mind that the number one reason for successful WordPress hacks is outdated software. You can see more WordPress Security Best Practices here.
If you’re running older versions of your plugins, themes, or WordPress, it can be causing issues on your site.
So where do you find this information? Finding the WordPress version you’re running is as easy as going to your site’s Dashboard or in Dashboard> Updates. It’s right there on your home screen.
The version number for all your plugins will show on your plugins page.
And for your themes, you’ll go to Appearance > Themes and click Theme Details.
Great! You know what versions of everything you have on your site! Now, what do you do with that information…
Well, it’s more than just knowing the version numbers, it’s making sure you’re running the latest versions. So how do you know whether or not you are?
For WordPress itself and any themes or plugins you got from the WordPress Repo, it’s pretty easy!
You know that annoying red dot that shows up on your phone when you have voicemail or new email and is the only reason some of us check those things? The same thing happens on your site when you have updates available. To see what you have available for updating, go to Dashboard > Updates. If you don’t have the red dot, you’re probably good!
What about those premium themes and plugins, though? Stuff you didn’t get from the repo? That’s got a couple more steps but still not too complicated.
First, you’ll want to make sure you have these items licensed. It’s going to vary depending on where you got your plugins or themes, but for iThemes products, you’ll go to Settings > iThemes licensing where you’ll enter your iThemes username and password to license the products. If needed, you can reset the password using the Reset Password box or you can reset your password using this link.
With the plugin licensed, you should see the same annoying red dots you see when repo items need updating. You can also go to your iThemes Dashboard to view the latest version numbers if you want.
Everything is up to date! But it’s still not working…
That brings us to step 2! Everyone’s favorite…testing for a plugin conflict!
Believe me, we all know how tedious this can be! But please don’t skip this step!
To test for a plugin conflict, go to the plugins page and deactivate every plugin except the one you’re having trouble with. Then go and test that plugin again. Does it work now? If so, you’ve got plugins conflicting with each other! If not…well, we’ll get to that…
So it does work with all the other plugins deactivated, now what? Now comes the tedious bit… Go through and reactivate all of your other plugins, one at a time! After reactivating one of your plugins, go back and test again. If it’s still working as it should, keep going until you find the culprit.
If there doesn’t appear to be a conflict between any of your plugins, try testing for a theme conflict, which just requires enabling one of the default WordPress themes like twenty-twenty. Then test to see if the issue is fixed. If not, the theme isn’t the issue.
Alright, you’ve made sure everything is up to date and you don’t have any theme or plugin conflicts…where do you go from here?
Now it’s time to get a little more technical, but don’t panic. All we’re going to do is take a look at log files.
Some plugins create logs of what’s happening while the plugin is running to let you know what the problem is should you run into one. We’re going to use BackupBuddy as an example today.
Let’s say you’re running a backup and it’s just not completing and you don’t know what’s going on. While you’re watching the screen that never seems to change, you’ll notice a Status Log tab. Go there to view what’s happening. If something is going wrong, it will tell you and even give suggestions to resolve the issue.
Don’t understand the log files? No worries! At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a button that lets you download your status log file which you can provide to your moderator.
What if none of your plugins have log files? The next step would be to contact your host and see if they can provide you with the error log created on your server.
So you’ve gone through the three troubleshooting steps and the problem still isn’t fix! It’s time to contact your friendly support moderators!
Seems simple enough…but hold up just a second! Here’s how to make the process that much easier and faster FOR YOU!
Be Specific! “iThemes stopped working.” doesn’t tell your moderators anything and just leads to more questions and fewer answers.
iThemes actually has a lot of plugins and themes, none of which are just called iThemes…
And what exactly stopped working? There are multiple setting TOPICS in iThemes Security Pro, each with its own settings within them. Which one stopped working? A specific feature within that? Basically, just provide as much detail as possible about the issue you’re having.
And remember all those steps we went through before? Include them in your ticket. Tell the moderator any troubleshooting you’ve already tried. Tell them what version of WordPress you’re running, the version number of the plugin or theme you’re having trouble with. And those log files you downloaded or got from your host? Attach those to the ticket.
Make sure to add any other relevant information, including your site’s URL.
Including all of this information in your tickets helps out your moderator, which in turn helps you out!