Encountering technical errors is virtually inevitable in the intricate realm of web development, where WordPress stands as the cornerstone for 43.1% of all websites.
These issues, ranging from minor digital stutters to full-on website hitches, can put a serious dent in a site’s SEO rankings and user experience, and even tarnish its reputation. Not to mention, putting off resolving these sources of trouble can lead to huge website development and maintenance costs.
Fortunately, navigating through the complexities of WordPress errors can be made easier by leveraging WordPress error logs.
WordPress error logs are akin to a detailed journal, diligently recording every error and warning message generated by WordPress or its accompanying plugins and themes. These logs provide an in-depth account of issues, exceptions, and problems that might arise during the operation of a website or WooCommerce store.
In this comprehensive guide, we will not only tackle deciphering WP error logs but also resolve the challenges they indicate. We will also guide you through the best practices for fixing any hurdles associated with your site.
If you don’t have access to a developer or tech team, we highly recommend hiring an expert from Codeable. Our platform connects you with top-tier WordPress developers who can help you navigate and resolve any website-related issues that may arise.
How to detect issues in WP error logs: Identify problems before they impact your business
Like any technological solution, WordPress is not immune to occasional glitches and bugs – that’s where the error logs come into play.
WordPress error logs serve as a diagnostic tool, offering a trail of breadcrumbs that can lead you to the root cause of a problem. Error logs in WP track various types of issues, including PHP errors, database connection failures, plugin conflicts, and theme compatibility concerns.
This unassuming yet powerful feature can be your best companion when it comes to maintaining a smoothly functioning website because it enables you to:
- Gain insights into issues: When an error occurs, the log records vital information about the event, including the timestamp, the nature of the error, and the file or script where the issue originated. This invaluable data can guide you to the root cause of the problem and enable faster diagnosis.
- Resolve problems swiftly: With the microscopic accuracy that error logs provide, developers and administrators can swiftly identify the specific areas that require attention, leading to quicker solutions and minimizing downtime.
- Better user experience: Whether it’s broken links or server-side errors, promptly addressing these problems ensures that visitors can navigate your site without frustration, leading to higher user satisfaction and increased engagement. Error logs contribute to this by helping you identify and rectify issues that could potentially disrupt your users’ journey.
- Enhanced security: Unusual patterns or suspicious activities often leave traces in error logs, alerting you to potential breaches or unauthorized access attempts. By regularly monitoring these logs, you can take proactive measures to fortify your website’s defenses, keeping it safe from external threats.
- Performance optimization: Armed with error information, you can fine-tune your website’s performance, ensuring faster load times, smoother navigation, and an overall improved user experience.
Utilizing WP error logs is a proactive measure, but it’s especially important if you have just uploaded or installed any new plugins or themes, added custom code, or migrated to another hosting provider.
Enable error logging
By default, the error logging functionality isn’t active on WordPress, but it’s easy to switch on.
1. Edit the wp-config.php file
The wp-config.php is the main configuration file for WordPress. This is where you can define various settings for your WordPress installation, including error logging.
- Access your website’s files using an FTP client or through your hosting control panel.
- Locate the wp-config.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
- Make a backup of the file before making any changes to it. Download it to your local computer to ensure you have a safety net in case anything goes wrong.
- Open the wp-config.php file in a text editor.
2. Add error logging code
Before adding this code, check whether it already exists in your wp-config.php file. If it’s missing, then add the following lines of code to it, preferably just above the /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ line:
What this does:
- WP_DEBUG: Passing true to this constant enables the debugging mode in WordPress.
- WP_DEBUG_LOG: This line instructs WordPress to write error messages to a debug log file.
- WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY: Setting this to false prevents error messages from being displayed on the frontend of your site to keep the error information private.
3. Save and upload changes
After adding the above code to your wp-config.php file, save the changes and upload the modified file back to your server.
Remember, if carrying out these steps yourself seems challenging, opt for hiring a Codeable WordPress expert instead. They’ll know exactly what to do!
Understand common WordPress errors
When it comes to ensuring the smooth operation of your site, understanding the types of errors that can occur is winning half the battle. Recognizing these errors allows you to take swift, decisive action to rectify them, minimizing the impact on your site’s functionality and your business operations.
The following, carefully curated list of common WordPress errors is provided by Codeable expert Daniel Abughdyer – a seasoned professional, experienced in all backend and frontend operations relating to WordPress. With over eight years of professional experience, he can analyze and troubleshoot any errors on your site.
- PHP errors: PHP bugs are often the result of issues with your website’s code. These can stem from a variety of sources, including syntax errors, deprecated code, or incorrect use of functions. They can disrupt your site’s functionality and are often the first sign that something is amiss.
- Plugin conflicts: Plugins enhance your WordPress site’s capabilities, but they can also cause conflicts if they aren’t compatible with one another. When plugins don’t play well together, or with other parts of the website, it can lead to issues with your site’s functionality, which can be detected in the error logs.
- Theme conflicts: Just like plugins, your theme can also conflict with other elements of your site. If your theme isn’t compatible with a particular plugin or your version of WordPress, it can cause problems that will be evident in your error logs.
- Server errors: Server errors, such as 500 internal server errors or timeouts, can disrupt your site’s availability. By monitoring your error logs, you can spot these issues and take steps to resolve them before they impact your users.
- Resource limitations: If your site is exceeding resource limitations on your server, such as memory limits or execution time limits, this can also be caught in the error logs. By identifying these limitations, you can upgrade your hosting plan or optimize your site to better manage resources.
- File permission errors: Incorrect file permissions can cause a range of issues, from broken images to complete site failure. These issues can often be detected in the error logs, helping you secure your site and ensure it functions correctly.
- Security issues: Your WP error logs can help you detect potential security issues. These might include attempted hacks or unauthorized access attempts. You can spot these issues in the logs and take steps to reinforce your site’s security.
- Database connection errors: WordPress relies on a database connection to function correctly. Error logs can pinpoint errors related to database connections that are likely to cause significant issues on your site, even rendering it inaccessible to users.
Analyzing error codes and what they mean
There are numerical warnings that provide crucial insights into the health and performance of your website, helping you identify and resolve issues quickly. Here are some of the most common error codes you might encounter:
- 404 Error: This occurs when a user tries to access a page that doesn’t exist on your website. Regularly monitoring your site for 404 errors allows you to redirect users to the correct page or remove any broken links, improving your site’s user experience and SEO.
- 403 Forbidden: A 403 error means the server is denying access to a specific resource or page on your site. This is often caused by incorrect file permissions, a misconfigured server, or a security issue.
- 401 Unauthorized: This warning indicates that a visitor isn’t authorized to access the requested page. This typically happens when authentication is required, and the user fails to provide valid credentials.
- 400 Bad Request: A 400 warning signals that the server can’t process the request due to a client-side error.
- 413 Request Entity Too Large: This alert occurs when the server rejects a request because the uploaded file or data exceeds the server’s configured limitations. It’s commonly encountered when trying to upload large files to WordPress.
- 500 Internal Server Error: When there’s a problem with the server hosting your website, 500 Internal Server Error occurs. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as a plugin conflict or insufficient server resources.
- 502 Bad Gateway Error: This warning happens when the server acting as a gateway receives an invalid response from another server. It can be caused by server issues, network problems, or DNS issues.
- 503 Service Unavailable Error: Server maintenance and other server-side issues can cause the 503 error, making your website temporarily unavailable. Communicating any planned maintenance or downtime to your users can help avoid confusion and frustration.
- 504 Gateway Timeout Error: When a server can’t complete a request within a specified time frame, it might display the 504 error warning. This can be due to network issues, server overload, or other factors. Monitoring for this error can help you ensure your site remains responsive and accessible.
How to access WP error logs
Once you’ve enabled error logging and familiarized yourself with common error codes, the next step is to learn how to access your WordPress error logs. There are two primary ways to do this: through your hosting provider’s panel or using plugins.
Method 1: Accessing error logs through the hosting provider’s panel
These instructions are general guidelines for accessing your error logs through a typical WordPress hosting provider. Your specific host will likely have its own documentation on how to access WP error logs, so we recommend seeking this out before proceeding.
- Log in to your WordPress website’s hosting account. This is usually done through a hosting control panel like cPanel or Plesk.
- Locate the file manager or file explorer in your hosting control panel to navigate through your WP website’s files and directories. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer a file manager, you can also use Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) to access your site’s files.
- Find the root directory of your WordPress installation, which will typically be named public_html, www, or something similar. This is where your WordPress files are stored.
- Look for the debug.log file, download it, and view it on your local machine using a text editor. Alternatively, you can use the built-in file editor provided by your hosting control panel to view the contents directly.
- Turn off error logging once you’ve resolved the issues, as leaving it on can potentially expose sensitive information to malicious users. To do this, upload a version of the wp-config.php file that doesn’t include the error logging code we outlined above. Keep that code handy for whenever you may need it.
If you’re unable to find the log files using these steps, consult your hosting provider for assistance or hire one of our expert WordPress developers.
Method 2: Using a WordPress log viewer plugin
If accessing your error logs through your hosting provider’s panel seems a bit confusing, don’t worry. WordPress log viewer plugins offer a user-friendly alternative. These tools can:
- Allow you to easily view and analyze the log files generated by your website right from your dashboard.
- Provide an intuitive interface to access and interpret your logs, making it easier to troubleshoot errors, track website activity, and monitor various events.
- Come with features like log file management, log filtering and searching, and error identification.
- Support different log formats, including Apache, NGINX, and PHP error logs.
Here are a few log viewer plugins recommended by Codeable expert Daniel Abughdyer:
- Debug Bar: This is a handy plugin that adds a debug menu to the admin bar, which displays query, cache, and other useful debugging information. It also supports adding custom debug information, making it a versatile tool for troubleshooting your WordPress site.
- Query Monitor: Query Monitor is a comprehensive debugging tool that displays information about database queries, PHP errors, hooks, and actions. Its powerful filter and search system make it easy to pinpoint the information you need to resolve issues on your site.
- Error Log Monitor: This plugin is a valuable tool for keeping an eye on your error logs. It sends email notifications when new errors are detected in the error log. It also provides detailed error information and allows you to manage your log files, making it easier to stay on top of potential issues.
- Simple History: Simple History records all changes made to your site. Whether it’s plugin installations, updates, or user actions, Simple History tracks it all, helping you identify the source of errors and conflicts.
By using these plugins, you can simplify the process of monitoring and managing your error logs. This can help you save time and maintain a smooth, error-free website.
Our recommended method for fixing WP error log issues: Hire a Codeable expert
As invaluable as error logs are, they can also be a source of confusion. The labyrinthine codes, technical terminology, and intricate patterns can easily confound website owners trying to decipher these logs without the necessary expertise.
Also, while understanding error logs and identifying issues is vital, the real challenge often lies in resolving these issues. This is where proficiency in WordPress development is critical.
Enter Codeable – a hub of expert WordPress and WooCommerce developers ready to untangle the enigma of error logs and restore your website’s functionality.
If you’re not tech-savvy or simply don’t have the time to troubleshoot and fix issues manually, consider hiring one of our Codeable professionals.
Why hire a Codeable expert?
Codeable is a global platform specializing in connecting businesses and individuals with highly skilled freelance WordPress developers. You can post your WordPress-related projects and hire developers to work on them seamlessly.
The benefits of working with Codeable include:
- Rigorous vetting process: All freelancers on the platform undergo thorough screening to ensure they possess the necessary expertise and experience in WordPress development. This ensures a high standard of quality and professionalism, giving you peace of mind that your website is in good hands.
- In-depth project reviewing: When you submit a project on Codeable, it’s reviewed by staff and their experts will provide a detailed estimate of the time and cost required to complete the task. You can then choose a developer based on their profiles, ratings, and proposals.
- Providing effective solutions: A developer you hire through Codeable can analyze your WP error logs and fix any recorded errors by following a series of best practices. They will have the expertise to troubleshoot and resolve issues effectively, keeping your site running smoothly.
How to submit a new project on Codeable
Submitting a new project on Codeable is straightforward:
- Create a client account and post your project: If you don’t already have one, you can create one as you’re submitting your task. Describe your project in detail, including the issues you’ve identified in your error logs. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for developers to understand your needs.
- Review estimates: Once your project is posted, you’ll receive an estimated cost of your project. This is an average of all the estimates submitted by the developers, to give you a realistic picture of the time and costs required to complete your project.
- Choose a developer: Review the profiles, ratings, and proposals of developers who’ve shown interest in your project. Choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
- Start the project: Once you’ve chosen a developer, you’ll pay upfront (payments are held in Escrow) and the project can begin. The developer will begin by analyzing your error logs and identifying the best course of action to fix the issues.
By hiring a Codeable expert, you can ensure your WordPress site remains error-free and operates smoothly. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you time, prevent potential revenue loss due to website issues, and provide peace of mind.
Best practices to fix issues using WP error logs manually
For those with a level of technical knowledge or working with an in-house tech team, here are some best practices to follow when fixing issues identified in your WP error logs.
Backup your site: Don’t risk losing valuable data
Before making any changes or modifications, create a complete backup of your WordPress site, including the database and files.
This ensures that you can revert back to a working state if something goes wrong during the troubleshooting process.
Use a staging site for error fixes
Creating a separate staging site allows you to safely test and fix errors identified in your WP error logs without affecting your live website. Use built-in hosting tools or plugins to easily create a staging site, or manually duplicate your website’s files and database to a separate location or subdomain.
Implement the suggested fixes on the staging site and thoroughly test its functionality. If the fixes are successful, you can push the changes into production.
Troubleshooting plugins and themes and checking for conflicts
You can do this in a testing environment as well. Start by deactivating all plugins and switching to a default WordPress theme. Then, reactivate them one by one, checking for the error after each activation. This helps identify if a plugin or theme is causing the issue.
Ensure that all your plugins and themes are up-to-date, as outdated versions can often cause conflicts and errors. If a faulty plugin or theme is causing errors and you can’t access your WordPress admin panel, use SFTP to connect to your site’s server and navigate to the wp-content folder. From there, you can locate the plugins or themes folder and temporarily rename or delete the folder of the faulty plugin or theme to deactivate it.
After implementing the fixes, thoroughly test your website’s functionality to ensure that the error has been resolved and that no new issues have been introduced.
Perform testing on different devices, using various web browsers. If possible, ask a few users or colleagues to navigate through your website and report any bugs they encounter.
At any point, if you need the help of an expert, any Codeable developer will be able to assist with debugging and follow the best practices and steps outlined above.
Keep your website error-free with WP error logs and Codeable experts
Understanding WP error logs is critical for maintaining your website’s performance, user experience, security, and SEO. However, managing error logs and troubleshooting issues can be an exhausting task, especially without technical expertise.
This is where Codeable’s expert services come in! With Codeable, you gain access to skilled developers who can efficiently manage your error logs and troubleshoot issues. This not only saves you time but also gives you confidence in the quality of your work.
By using Codeable for your error log management needs, you can ensure a seamless website experience for your users, keeping your business running smoothly.
Ready to experience the benefits of expert error log management? Start your journey with Codeable and submit your project today!