Basic WordPress Troubleshooting Techniques

Posted OnNov 22, 2013     CategoryTroubleshooting     CommentsNo comment

In this article, we will go over the basic techniques needed to troubleshoot common WordPress issues.

What’s changed?

If you all of a sudden start having issues with your site, it’s possible that something has changed. Ask yourself these questions before moving onto the other sections…

  • Have I installed any new plugins?
    • If you answered yes, try deactivating the plugin or uninstalling it to see if that resolves your problems. If it does, it is likely that the plugin is not compatible with either your version of WordPress or it may not be compatible with your theme or other active plugins.
  • Have I upgraded WordPress?
    • If you upgraded WordPress to find that parts of your site no longer work, try disabling your plugins to see if that restores functionality to your site. If it does, reactivate each plugin one by one until you find the one that caused the issue. You may need to wait for the plugin to be updated before it will work with your site again.
    • If testing the plugins does not result in a solution, try changing your theme to the default WordPress theme to see if that resolves the issue. If it does, you may need to wait for the theme to be upgraded before you can use it again on your site.
  • Have I upgraded any plugins?
    • If you recently upgraded a plugin just to find that your site no longer functions as expected, try deactivating the plugin to confirm that this is the cause of your issues. If it is, you may need to wait until the plugin has been upgraded before you can use it again. You can also try disabling all your other plugins to see if the issue is a compatibility problem with a different plugin.
  • Have I upgraded my theme?
    • If you upgraded your theme and find that part or all of your site is no longer working, we recommend that you disable all plugins to see if there is now a compatibility issue with any of them. If not, you may need to either contact the theme designer or wait for a fixed version of the theme to be released.
  • Have I changed anything on the file system?
    • If you recently made changes to your file system (e.g. renamed folders, changed permissions, deleted files, etc), you may need to revert some or all of the changes to find what modification caused the issue. If you are not able to fix the issue this way, you may need to upload a fresh copy of the WordPress files to attempt to fix the issue.

If no recent changes were made by you or other administrators of the site, here are a few steps that may help resolve any problems on your WordPress based site.


Plugins, if you have any, can sometimes be the cause of your website issues. One of the first steps you should take is disabling all the plugins on your site to see if that resolves the issue. If it does, reactivate each plugin 1 by 1 until you find the plugin that caused the issue. Sometimes files used by plugins can become corrupt (e.g. cache files in cache plugins) and the plugin may need to be reinstalled or tweaked.

If disabling all the plugins does not work, keep them disabled and continue on to the next section.


Like plugins, themes can also be the cause of your problems. Try changing themes to the default WordPress theme to see if that resolves the issue. If it does, you may need to either update your theme, or contact the designer to have them look into the problem.

Once you have resolved the theme issue, feel free to reactivate all your plugins.


Another thing that can sometimes cause issues is an optimized database. Attempt to optimize and repair your database using the tools provided by your hosting provider. It is a good idea to do this every few weeks (or more often on super popular sites).

Hosting Provider

While unlikely, if none of the other steps have resolved the issue, try contacting your hosting provider to see if anything on the server has changed that might affect your website.

This option should be moved to the top of the list if you are unable to access your admin dashboard or other sites/files on your account (timeout issues, error 500, or sometimes 404 not found errors). It may be possible that your server is down or responding slowly to requests. Your hosting provider will be able to confirm this if it is indeed the case.

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