Troubleshooting WordPress: A quick DIY guide

WordPress is being used for thousands of blogs because of how powerful it can be. However, that can often be its downfall and many blog owners come across problems while extending and customising their blog. Being a free platform, there’s no support other than the forums so here’s a quick DIY troubleshooting guide.

Essentially, WordPress is made up of 3 parts;

  1. Core – the bare bones of WordPress, without any plugins or themes.
  2. Themes – the theme controls the look and feel of your blog, the part your readers see.
  3. Plugins – extra functionality or features are provided by these extensions.

When a problem arises the cause will likely be in one of these three areas. Go through these steps to try to find out where the problem lies;

  1. Revert to the default theme that comes with WordPress.
  2. De-activate all your plugins.
  3. If you’ve edited any of the themes or plugins you’re using, revert to the original.
  4. If the problem persists, it may be an issue with the WordPress Core. Try upgrading to the latest version if you’re not up-to-date.
  5. Or, if the problem goes away; start re-activating each of your plugins, checking for the issue after each one. If it’s a plugin issue it’ll be obvious which plugin has the problem, and you can contact that plugin’s author.
  6. If you’ve re-activated all the plugins and the problem hasn’t come back, re-activate the theme you were using. If the problem comes back it could be either;
    1. the theme is clashing with one of your plugins (go back to step 2) or
    2. the theme is trying to use a plugin that you haven’t activated; check the ‘readme’ or ‘install’ file that came with the theme.

Once you’ve done all that, if you still find yourself with the problem, take a screenshot of the problem and search for any error message you get. It might also be worth searching for the error on the WordPress support forums. If you’re still stuck, pray to your chosen deity.

Philip John is a freelance consultant providing WordPress installation, customisation, training and support. He is the technical geek behind The Lichfield Blog and you can find out more on his blog.

3 thoughts on “Troubleshooting WordPress: A quick DIY guide

  1. Matt Kline

    I have had to use the wordpress support forum quite a bit. They are a great way to find help. There are many experts there willing to help. Good post, you have some great advise.

  2. malcolm coles

    Any clues on what would make wordpress wrap a inside a (and then not close the ) when I add an image? Have turned off all plugins, reverted to default theme etc. They’re still there …


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