How to Troubleshoot WordPress Plugins

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WordPress is widely regarded as the best content management system on the market, and one of the main reasons for this is Plugins. There are over 26,000 plugins and counting in the WordPress Plugin Directory and the add-on programs help you customize your website so that is able to perform certain duties that the default set-up cannot. From time to time though, you may stumble across a WordPress plugin that conflicts with your theme and causes problems that prevent your website from running as it should.

Typically, the way to stop a plugin from causing problems is to go to Plugins > Installed Plugins in your WordPress dashboard and disable or delete them from there. However, a troublesome plugin might stop the Administrator login page from loading, making it impossible to access the dashboard. If this happens, you will need to troubleshoot plugins via your WordPress database. Let’s look at how this is done.

Disabling plugins via the Hosting cPanel

To access your plugins without logging in to your WordPress dashboard, you will need to login to your hosting account and use the File Manager in the cPanel. Alternatively, you can use a FTP client to access the required folders.

Rename the plugins folder

The plugins folder can be found in the wp-contents folder of your WordPress database. Once you have located it, you should rename it – something like “plugins-1” will do. With this done, create a new folder named “plug-ins”. Doing this will disable all of the plugins, but as you do not know which plugin is causing the problem, this is a necessary step.

Reload WordPress

With the file changed, go back to your WordPress page and attempt to login. If you can, then the problem is going to be with a rogue-loaded plugin.

Rename the folders (again!)

The next step to take is to change the name of the old plugins folder from “plug-ins” back to its original name. Then rename the newly created folder (“plugins-1”) to something like “plugins-old”.

From here, depending on how many plugins you have loaded, things could get a little bit time consuming. To establish which plugin is causing the problem, you will need to rename each individual plugin folder one-by-one. The idea is to rename them all except one and check to see if your website loads. If the page does not load, then the problem will be with that plugin; if it does load then the problem is with another of the renamed folders.

If you do not experience an error when attempting to load the page, enable the plugin and move on to the next one. Continue the process until you have discovered the dysfunctional plugin.

Once you have found the plugin and regained access to your WordPress dashboard, you can choose to delete it, or contact the developer about the problem. It may just be the plugin needs updating or reloading to fix the error. Either way, you should contact the author to alert them of the problem so that the same thing can be prevented from happening to other users.

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