learning to

Troubleshoot WordPress

by Carrie Dils

carriedils.com • @cdils

Fort Worth WordPress Meetup • 5/20/14

I'm gonna teach you to fish

what we'll talk about

Troubleshooting Basics

  • where/how to start
  • common problems
  • editing your site files

Troubleshooting for developers

  • syntax
  • styles
  • debugging
  • speed & performance

Troubleshooting has been my greatest teacher as a developer.


Troubleshooting Basics

what do you do when something doesn't work?

Troubleshooting basics:

starting with the right steps

Uh, is it plugged in?

Does the problem still exist?

bonus tip for multi-user sites

Track and monitor every change on your WordPress site.


stream plugin

Troubleshooting basics:

Fixing Common Problems

Who knows what's in your cache. Flush it.

Troubleshooting basics:

Fixing Common Problems

  • permalinks don't work
  • broken pagination
  • restoring site from a backup
  • diagnosing errors


(don't forget to #googlethat)

Troubleshooting basics:

avoiding common pitfalls

Troubleshooting basics:

avoiding common pitfalls

  • using the editor in the WP dashboard
  • not having FTP client and login at the ready
  • editing core WordPress files
  • editing framework or parent theme files

troubleshooting for developers

time to bring out the big guns

troubleshooting for developers

syntax helpers

Use a  code editor:

Sublime Text (mac, pc)

Notepad++ (pc)

Coda (mac)

Dreamweaver (mac, pc)

Or a full IDE:

PHPstorm (mac, pc)
NetBeans (mac, pc)

be nice to yourself

troubleshooting for developers

syntax validators





troubleshooting for developers


// add this to wp-config.php
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

Use plugins like...

To help you...

  • see what queries ran on a page
  • which page template is used
  • run php or sql against current query
  • show all actions fired on a page
  • break down HTTP requests (and show time)

query monitor

troubleshooting for developers


Use built-in browser tools like Firebug or Chrome Developer Tools.

troubleshooting for developers

speed and performance


P3 (plugin performance profiler)

Browser Tools

Pingdom Speed Test
Google Pagespeed Insights

In-Depth Analysis

(plus a great review from Mika Epstein)

thank you!

carrie dils



photo credits

crying baby - http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/776532

toilet - http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/131456

big guns - http://i986.photobucket.com/albums/ae342/Nonsensitive/bigguns.jpg

validation - http://film-english.com

plug - http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/906155

Learning to Troubleshoot WordPress

By carrie dils

Learning to Troubleshoot WordPress

Presentation for Fort Worth WordPress Meetup - May 19, 2014

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