I have near 5000 closed user’s questions in support email now. Usually, people write something like “my page doesn’t work, what I need to do”. Then, I need to write several emails to user to understand what is the problem. You know, developers didn’t study at Hogwarts and we can’t know problem without information about it. So, I want to write easy ways which help you to localize problem and send to support all information to make resolving process more faster
Fisrt of all, we need to understand type of problem. There are several most common issues:
White screen of death.
This means, that your site has error which breaks all executed functions and stops all code. This can be syntax error in code, incompatibility with your server extensions, calling of non existed functions in code, incompatibility with php version on server or even viruses. You can localize such error if you enable debug mode in WordPress.
Some parts of page are not working
The problem can be as in previous case. But difference is that you can login in wp admin dashboard. So, I recommend to setup plugin Debug. It does the same job as you can do in wp-config.php file, but you can do this from admin panel, without ftp. Usually, if you have error on page which breaks only part of page – you will find error in place where correct code is finished and error begins. Sometimes, error will be hidden on site, for example, if this part has display:none in css. But, you can enable error log in plugin and find code of error in log.
Scripts are not working
Usually, you can find such error when one of script is not working. For example, slider. Or, it’s working, but not properly. This is js error. Usually, it happens when you have incompatibility with different scripts or syntax error in js code. Also, I find this error when people use some minify js plugins or server caching of scripts, like rocketloader. Problem with such extensions is that they can minify scripts not correctly. One of thing with js code is that if you have one error in one script, usually, all scripts become broken on site. This can be a head pain also because many developers use ajax functions now which are js code related which also become broken. For example, you can’t save settings in admin panel.
First of all, you need to see web console. Different OS and browsers have different way for this, but, in most cases, you can open console with keyboard shortcut Command + Option + J (Mac) or Control+ Shift + J (Windows/Linux). This is how you can get it in Chrome.
You will find red text in console if you have error. Also web developer tool has option to see what you have in ajax requests and response
It’s a very common problem when you have plugins or themes which have some requirement from your server (extensions, memory limit). But you don’t have enough powerful system. For example, I am confused how many hosters use old versions of php (<5.3) on their servers. Such incompatibilities can break your site or work of plugin. So, first of all, you need to know what you have on your server. Plugin Snapshot System can help to do this from admin panel. Also, I will tell you which of points are most important and what errors they can cause.
My site don’t want to import…
Many themes provide now demo content. Sometimes you can’t import them, because your server has too small execution time. So, it just can’t unpack zip file in this time. This is point which is important in system snapshot. It’s good if you have more than 60.
My site can’t activate license or get data from external site
Remote control and access become popular more and more in our days, especially because wordpress added REST API in last updates. Many developers uses remote functions. For example, if you want to parse Amazon or Ebay, activate license of paid theme or plugin, get data from external site. All of this requires special extension on your site. Usually, developers uses cURL, file_get_content, wp_remote_get. This requires next extensions. Make sure that your server has them and they are enabled
My admin page works very slow
Usually, this is because you have too small memory limit. Current version of wordpress works good if you have 128mb and more. But, many hosters can limit memory limit by default to 64mb (and increase it if you ask this). Check next
Ask your hoster to increase memory limit if you have less than 128mb
Also, we have great article how to increase speed of site with cache functions
My plugin doesn’t work
Sometimes, this is because you have outdated php version. Check next and ask hoster to increase version if you have less than 5.3
Now you know how to localize problem and you can write to support error code which will help us to resolve problem more quickly.