Debugging WordPress

on May 10, 2011 | WordPress | Comments (0)

If you are running a WordPress installation and are using many 3rd party plugins – it’s probably worth your while as part of regular WordPress maintenance to Debug your site.

Using a combination of plugins often causes the doomed Blank White WordPress pages, category links not working, and sitewide searching often doesn’t work as well (to name a few, there can be far more issues!).

It is quite simple to put your site into Debug mode. This will give you a list of PHP errors that are normally hidden.

With these errors you can then find out offending plugins (which is most often the cause of PHP errors in WordPress) and either remove them, or try edit their code to fix the issue (somewhat harder).

To Debug your WordPress installation, follow the below steps:

1. Open up your FTP program and login to your server.

2. Open up your wp-config.php file in the root of your webhosting account.

3. Scroll to the end of the wp-config.php file and find the following text:

define (‘WPLANG’, ”);
define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

4. Place the following code: define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true); directly on the line after define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

5. This section of your wp-config.php file should now look like this:

define (‘WPLANG’, ”);
define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);
define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

6. Refresh the homepage of your site and you will now be presented with a list of PHP errors at the top of the page. You may be surprised to see how many there are!

7. You can now examine the errors and try remedy them where possible. When you are done debugging simply remove define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true); from the wp-config file and save again.

You should perform this sort of WordPress maintenance regularly to ensure no website inconsistencies, broken/ blank pages and unusable search forms. Fixing these errors should also reduce the strain on PHP/ Memory limits.

Good Luck!

David Cowling : Editor and Founder of I also run a Social Media Agency where I do consulting work and another blog dedicated to Instagram news. Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + or contact me here. Alternatively, you can send me an email at