Solving WordPress Problems

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WordPress is a stable product, and in most of the cases that I have come across, problems are usually nothing to do with the core files that WordPress distribute.  The usual culprit is one or more plugins.

Plugins are small pieces of code that add new features to WordPress, and these can be written by anyone and everyone who has a little php coding experience.

Plugins themselves can often conflict with either WordPress or other plugins, and the frequent updates to WordPress only compound the problems.

The types of problems I have had include:

  • Unable to login to the dashboard
  • Pages load up blank e.g. when going to edit a post/page
  • Dashboard does not load proerly with bits missing
  • Pages don't completely load, e.g. the bottom sections of the add post page is missing
  • Plugins wont auto-update
  • Plugins wont function properly e.g. WordPress Auto-update wont work and fails at some point

The first thing I always do when I have a problem like these is to make sure all plugins are updated to the latest version.  Doesn't work?  Read on…

Cannot login to WordPress  Dashboard?

The worst possible scenario is that you are unable to login to your WordPress Dashboard. There are a couple of things you can do here:

1. Rename the plugins folder on your server to something else, e.g. plugin_old


You’ll find the plugins folder inside the wp-content folder.

After renaming, all plugins are effectively disabled.  This should allow you to login to your Dashboard.  You can then create a new folder on your server called plugins, and copy across the plugins one by one until you find the plugin that is causing the problem.

If you can login to the Dashboard.

Got to the plugins page, and deactivate all plugins.

Then, one by one, reactivate them checking to see if the newly activated plugin is causing the problem.  This will nearly always show you which plugin is the culprit.  In these cases your choice is simply – find a new plugin which does the same thing, OR make do without the functions of that plugin.

Cannot Auto-Update a WordPress Plugin?

This happens a lot.  You go and click on the auto-update link, and the screen just hangs mid-process.  The solution I have found for this is to deactivate the plugin BEFORE clicking the auto-update link, and then reactivating it again after the upgrade was successful.  This works in every case I have tried.

WordPress Auto-Upgrade does not work?

The solution I use for this problem is to deactivate all plugins except the auto-upgrade plugin.  The auto-upgrade then works.  WordPress 2.7 has an autoupgrade module built into it, so the old automatic upgrade plugin is no longer necessary, and at the time of writing this, was not compatible either.

Both of the last two problems are probably due to plugins conflicting with each other, and I could probably find  the culprit with some testing.  However, this would be time consuming in these cases, and the solutions I have given above don’t take much time.

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3 thoughts on “Solving WordPress Problems”

  1. One problem I’ve been having is when the WYSIWYG icons don’t show up when editing a page/post. Basically, WP stays in the HTML mode and not the visual editor mode. I’ve not been able to determine what the issue is, but after removing and reinstalling a new blog 3-4 times, I finally go it cleared up. I’ve done what the WP forums said and none of those “fixes” worked.

    Just wanted to see if you’d run into that. The icons first disappeared after uploading photos to the page I was working on, but was since able to upload without issue.

  2. Hi Susan
    No, I have not come across that problem. Did you try different web browsers?

  3. Charlotta

    Thanks a lot. This helped me solve my problem (wasn’t able to login after update to 3.0.4 – it was solved by renaming the plugin-folder).

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