FAQS: Plugin Troubleshooting

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WordPress plugins work to extend the features of your website or blog. Although plugins available from the official WordPress plugins directory are generally considered to safe and thoroughly tested, they are designed by volunteers and sometimes issues with installation and functionality can arise.

If a plugin does not work as expected or seems to conflict with another plugin, the first step is to ensure you’ve followed that plugin’s specific instructions and check to see that it has been activated in the plugin panel of your WordPress admin. Deactivate and then reactivate the plugin to see if this corrects the issue – if the problem persists, you can try some of the common solutions below:

  • Double check you’ve downloaded the latest version of the plugin, because new releases of plugins often fix bugs. WordPress will generally list all of your installed plugins – simply select the Upgrade Automatically option, and you’ll have the latest version of the plugin.
  • It’s possible your affected plugin’s software may have become corrupted, so try reinstalling the plugin from scratch.
  • It could also be that there is some incompatibility issue between the malfunctioning plugin and recent software changes, so consider what other changes you may have made to your website or blog that could have caused the issues.
  • Search the name of the plugin and some keywords describing the issue in search engines and WordPress support forums to see if any other users have offered suggestions and fixes.
  • Check the notes on the plugin in the official WordPress plugins directory. There may be specific instructions you’ve missed, or suggested troubleshooting fixes listed that can help you resolve the problem.
  • Post the details of your plugin issues on the WordPress support forums to see if any other users have suggestions to correct the problem.
  • Try contacting the developer of the plugin via their website, blog or social media accounts to see if they have a quick fix for the problem you are experiencing.
  • If you installed the plugin manually, use your FTP program to delete the plugin folders and files, and then re-upload it.
  • If you’ve made any changes to your theme template files to add the plugin’s code, check these are spelled correctly and are in the right case.
  • Make sure you uploaded the file to the plugins folder under wp-content.
  • If you upload the latest version of the plugin to replace an old version, be sure to delete the older version prior to uploading the new one.
  • If the plugin doesn’t appear in the plugins list, view its main file in the plugin editor to ensure the plugin’s header text is correctly included.
  • Sometimes upgrading to the latest version of WordPress can cause plugins to stop working correctly, simply because they are no longer compatible. You can alert the plugin developer to the issue and hope they will release an updated and compatible version of the plugin as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you’ll need to keep it deactivated.
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Still experiencing problems with your plugin? Ask your WordPress developer to take a look at it for you, or search the plugin directory to see if there is a good alternative plugin that you can use instead.

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Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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