One of the best things my IT manager taught me is that when anything goes wrong, you should always have a list of basic things to check first. Go through them no matter how trivial or silly and eliminate them to narrow down the possibilities. I’m often surprised how elementary the solution can be. So what are these basics?

  • Is it the plugins? Disable all plugins, enable each one – check the problem. If not that one, enable the next plugin – check the problem and repeat.

    Image by Steve Woods

    Image by Steve Woods

  • Are you running out of disk space? You won’t believe how many times this got me.
  • Did your web host perform an upgrade, change server settings or applied a new software?
  • Did all the files get uploaded? Sometimes, even if we told the FTP program to upload everything on the server it could burp or miss a file here or there.
  • Were all the files uploaded in the correct mode? Most of the time your FTP program knows what to do. But maybe you could have changed the upload mode and forget to turn it back to auto? Maybe the plugin or some files must be uploaded in a mode other than it’s normal?
  • Are the file permissions correct? Check the plugin readme. It often tells you if any special permissions are required.
  • Could it be the theme? I’ve found themes that have a lot of built in features that allow you to edit from the dashboard vs editing theme files can conflict with the core. This is true especially after upgrade.
  • Check the .htaccess Usually, if you have trouble with your permalinks, 404 errors, this is the first place I’d check. htaccess files can be overwritten. I used to have a client whom I have to constantly fix her permalinks because she used Frontpage to publish into the folder WordPress is installed and Frontpage loves to replace the htaccess.
  • Are all your files there? Strange things happen. Or maybe sometimes it’s just us being forgetful. I’ve helped people whose site was down and turns out part of the file in a folder is missing. Not sure what happened or if it was indeed hacked or just someone deleted it without realizing what they were doing.
  • Check your database. Sometimes databases tend to wind themselves up into a tangle. Especially if the site is pretty old and large. Log in to phpMyAdmin to repair your database.