Is your WordPress website broken? Are you having trouble removing a plugin? Perhaps your site relies on a certain problem plugin and you are reluctant to remove it altogether? Have you googled around and the list of possible problems are endless and some solutions are a bit outside your technical comfort zone. Welcome to the World of WordPress development. Though WordPress is an amazing, robust platform 3rd party plugins can vary in code quality or maintenance may have been discontinued together.
In this article, we are going to explore some simple options available to you to get your website up and running again. This article presumes you still have access to your WordPress dashboard despite your website’s dysfunction. You should be aware at this point that item one and two in this list will only work if you have had the foresight to do them prior to a website failure. If you are having trouble removing a plugin, go straight to point three and if you want to keep a problem plugin and fix your site go to point four.
1. A Precautionary measure
This one is easy to call in hindsight but you should always have some sort of backing up procedure for your website. Most hosting packages these days have some options to automate website backups. The benefit of hosted backups is all of your emails will be archived along with your website files and database too. If for some reason this not an option then you should use one of the many great plugins available from the WordPress Plugin Repository. Just search for backup plugins from the ‘Add new plugin’ option in your WordPress dashboard.
Once installed and configured properly, sleep easy in the knowledge you can restore a working backup of your site in the eventuality your site is irreparably broken. Please refer to the plugin documentation on how to restore a backup.
We use WordPress Backup to Dropbox. WBDP syncs with your DropBox account and archives backups locally to your PC. WBDP allows you to specify a day, time and how often you wish your backup to be performed. in the eventuality your website becomes totally unresponsive you can always deploy an old backup to the server.
2. Diagnosing the Issue
The most common issue with a broken WordPress website is a recently installed or updated plugin. With this in mind, a good habit to get into is to install a plugin called Stream on your websites. Stream is an auditing plugin that tracks changes made on your website. Stream allows you to access activity logs right inside your WordPress dashboard. On discovering an issue, refer to your Stream logs and check to see if a plugin has been recently installed or updated.
Once identified you should pop over to the page for that plugin on the WordPress Plugin Repository. Check the support threads for reported issues relating to your problem and/or a recent update. If the answer is positive, then deactivate said plugin. If your site is still broken then clear the server cache from your caching plugin(s). Try point three on this list if you are having trouble removing the plugin.
3. Bad penny plugins
You may come across a plugin you have removed but parts of it remain in the database. This can be particularly infuriating when you are trying to eliminate persistent analytics code left behind by an analytics plugin. Don’t worry, we have just the thing. We recommend Transients Manager. TM lets you view, search, edit, and delete transients from your database right from WP Admin. Just go to Tool > Transients and search for the plugin data by plugin name, delete any transient data associated with that plugin. If you have W3 Total cache or anything that caches your database installed, be sure to disable database caching. Make sure you also save your settings and remove all memory of the offending plugin once and for all.
4. Fix the site and keep you plugin
This one is my favourite of today’s roundup. We came across a situation recently whereupon an update of Contact Form 7 v4.8 was conflicting with a Contact Form 7 extension called Conditional Fields. This rendered the extension unusable. A little research had uncovered reports that the CF7 update had broken many of its sibling extensions.
Armed with this new information, I assessed on options. I was very reluctant to replace either the plugin or the extension so my options were very limited. I decided to attempt to roll Contact Form 7 back to a previous version I knew worked with Conditional Fields. With the version archive mysteriously disappeared from the WordPress Plugin Repository, I decided to use WP Rollback; I am glad I did. When completed my contact forms were working flawlessly again.
>When activated, WP Rollback gives you another option entitled Rollback available under all your installed plugins, right from the installed plugins page, under each plugin’s contextual menu. Once selected you are directed to a page with a list of versions of that plugin. Select one and click rollback, clear the cache from your caching plugins and watch your website rises from the ashes.
Though it is recommended NOT to run older plugin versions, mostly for security reasons, if you are in a bind, this trick could really help you out.
In summary, if you are under pressure to fix a recent WordPress website issue but are short on time and technical ability, this process of diagnose & remove/restore could save you hours and hours of hair pulling.
We hope you found this article useful. Please let us know in the comments section below if you have any additional tips or tricks to quickly and easily cover your site from any plugin conflict issues.