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Hello, and welcome to #fixitFriday. As a hosting provider & volunteer on the WordPress support forum, I see a lot of the same problems repeatedly, ie,
- “I can’t log into my dashboard”,
- “My images/media library are gone”,
- “I can’t update my site”,
- “I can’t reach my site”
- and so many more!
If you’re having these problems or similar, here is one of the steps we ask folks to try in order to help them diagnose and fix their site. Hopefully this will help you, too. And although the title mentions WordPress, I rather suspect this will be applicable to other content management systems (CMS)’s as well.
As a first step in diagnosing site problems, webmasters are often asked to temporarily disable 3rd-party software. This includes both themes and plugins, sometimes called “modules” in other CMS’s.
If you can log into your administrative dashboard, this part is easy. Once logged in, scroll down to ‘Plugins’ and click the ‘Installed Plugins’ link.
Once the link is clicked, a screen will appear, revealing the list of all installed plugins. Click the ‘Select All’ checkbox, then choose ‘Deactivate’ from the dropdown list.
Don’t forget to press the ‘Apply’ button, or you’ll be most unhappy with yourself.
Things are a bit more of a pain in the anatomy if you can’t log into your dashboard, though doable nonetheless. You’ll need either your hosting provider’s file manager or an FTP (file transfer protocol) client like Mozilla
) or WinSCP
Displayed screenshots will be from the CPanel file manager, which is what we use here at Bright Stars Web. Please note that directory names, especially the name of the directory where your website files are stored, may well be different from those shown here, as conventions differ between hosting providers.
Once the public_html folder is opened, what you do next depends on the precise location of the WordPress files. If your WordPress files are stored in this folder, then click ‘wp-content’ and then ‘plugins’. If they are stored in a subdirectory, for example, wordpress or wp, then click that subdirectory name, and proceed as above.
Now click the ‘Rename’ link, which will show an edit field where you can change the folder name. I’ve called it plugins1, as you can see from the screenshot.
If renaming the plugins folder causes your site to work, then it’s very probable that a plugin is causing a conflict with WordPress. To find out which one, rename the plugins folder back to the original name, but rename all the folders inside it except one by appending a 1 or .old to the end of the folder names. The first folder you do not rename should be a core plugin, like Akismet, since the same folks that create WordPress created it, & it’s therefore not likely to cause any conflict. Continue renaming each plugin folder, trying the operation that caused the site error after each, until the problem occurs again. At that point, you know the culprit plugin.
Follow a similar procedure for renaming your active theme folder, which will be located in wp-content/themes. Bear in mind that this latter procedure absolutely will break the site for your visitors, if it isn’t already, but it just might allow you to log into your dashboard and make the changes required to fix your site.
If your site still isn’t working, please don’t hesitate to email, call, or ask a question/contact us using the web form.