Debugging in WordPress: A Comprehensive Guide

Debugging in WordPress

Debugging is an essential aspect of any software development process, including WordPress. As a WordPress developer, you are bound to encounter errors and bugs at some point in your development process. While this can be frustrating, debugging helps you identify and fix these errors quickly. In this guide, we’ll explore different ways to debug WordPress websites and resolve common issues.

Enabling Debugging in WordPress

The first step in debugging WordPress is to enable debugging mode. By default, WordPress hides error messages from visitors to prevent displaying sensitive information. However, you can enable debugging mode by adding a few lines of code to the wp-config.php file. To enable debugging, follow these steps:

  1. Access your WordPress site’s files using FTP or CPanel’s file manager.
  2. Locate the wp-config.php file in the root directory.
  3. Open the file in a code editor.
  4. Add the following lines of code at the bottom of the file:

define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, false);

  1. Save the changes and re-upload the file.

Now that you have enabled debugging mode, any errors on your website will be logged in the debug.log file located in the wp-content directory.

Identifying and Resolving PHP Errors

PHP errors can occur due to syntax errors, missing or incorrect function parameters, or outdated PHP versions. You can identify PHP errors by checking the debug.log file generated in the wp-content directory. The errors are usually listed along with the date and time they occurred.

Once you have identified the error, you can resolve it by checking the code in the file listed in the error message. If it’s a syntax error, correct the syntax error and save the file. If it’s a function error, ensure that the function exists and is correctly spelled. You can also check for outdated PHP versions and update to the latest version.

Debugging WordPress Plugins and Themes

Plugins and themes can cause errors and conflicts on WordPress websites. In most cases, these errors are caused by compatibility issues with other plugins or themes. To identify and resolve plugin or theme conflicts, follow these steps:<h2>Deactivating Plugins and Themes</h2>

  1. Deactivate all plugins except the one causing the issue.
  2. Check if the issue persists. If it doesn’t, then the issue is caused by a conflict with another plugin. Reactivate plugins one by one until you identify the conflicting plugin.
  3. If the issue persists even after deactivating all plugins, switch to a default WordPress theme such as Twenty Twenty-One. If the issue is resolved, then the issue is caused by a conflict with your theme.
  4. To resolve the plugin or theme conflict, update the conflicting plugin or theme to the latest version or contact the plugin or theme developer for assistance.

Debugging JavaScript Errors

JavaScript errors can occur due to syntax errors, undefined variables, or incorrect function parameters. To identify and resolve JavaScript errors, follow these steps:<h2>Using Browser Developer Tools</h2>

  1. Open the browser’s developer console by pressing F12.
  2. Check the console for JavaScript errors.
  3. If there are errors, identify the file causing the error and the line number.
  4. Correct the syntax error, undefined variable, or incorrect function parameter.
  5. Save the file and reload the page.

Debugging Database Issues

WordPress websites use a MySQL database to store content, settings, and other site data. Database issues can occur due to corrupt tables, missing data, or incorrect database credentials. To identify and resolve database issues, follow these steps:<h2>Checking the Debug.Log File</h

  1. Check the debug.log file in the wp-content directory for database-related errors.
  2. If there are errors, identify the file causing the error and the query causing the error.
  3. Ensure that the table being queried exists and is correctly spelled.
  4. Check the database credentials in the wp-config.php file and ensure that they are correct.
  5. Repair the database tables using the wp-admin interface or using a tool such as phpMyAdmin.


Debugging is an integral part of WordPress development. With the steps outlined above, you can easily identify and resolve errors on your website. Remember to always test changes on a staging environment before deploying to a live site to avoid causing further issues. Additionally, keep your WordPress core, plugins, and themes updated to prevent compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities. Happy debugging!

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