WordPress plugin problems – again!

Graphic cartoon that reads "Argh I just spent an hour troubleshooting my website. plugin problems. Sigh"

Plugins – not always user friendly

Okay, I officially hate plugins. Yes, I do. Once again, I found myself spending an afternoon cleaning up a mess from a plugin conflict. I’m still not done with the cleanup. It’ll take rest of the week to repair the damage.

Here’s what happened. I use a great plugin called iThemes Security. It’s an excellent WordPress security plugin and has helped me lockdown the site for nearly 2 years. A few plugins were updated yesterday, but not iThemes. All seemed good when I turned everything off last night. When logged on to work on a new article, it was a mess.

The path to the login page no longer existed. Either “a page not found”, or a broken link error appeared. After that familiar sinking feeling settled in, I flipped over and checked to make sure the site still existed. Bitter Grounds was running properly. But nothing I tried brought the login page back to life. I was effectively locked out of the Dashboard.

How to log in when WordPress login won’t load

When locked out of a WordPress site because of a plugin issue, there is a way of recovering the Dashboard:

  • Log into the site with either FTP or your web host’s file manager.
  • Locate public_html -> wp-content.
  • Rename the folder titled plugins. Usually it’s easiest to rename it to plugins_old.
  • Once you do this, log back into your WordPress site and test it. If it works properly, then comes the tedious part.
  • Back to FTP/File Manager rename plugins_old back to plugins.
  • Open the plugins folder and rename every folder, adding _old to each.
  • Try each folder, one at a time, by removing the _old from the name.
  • Return to WP and test. When you find the culprit, delete that folder.

Because of the type of error message that appeared, I thought it might be iThemes so I disabled the folder. Didn’t work. So I disabled the entire plugin folder. Still no login available.

I had to sit and ponder what was going on. I examined the login link carefully and figured it had something to do with one of the iThemes security features. So I re-enabled the plugin folder and left iThemes disabled.  I then tried a hybrid of the old changed login link and the default one. Bingo!  The Dashboard let me in.

I disabled and re-enabled plugins but can’t trace the conflict.  I keep getting the same errors so I removed iThemes completely. I installed a new plugin for the two-factor authentication and tweaked a few new plugins to ensure security is strong. But I’m disappointed because I love iThemes and hate to say goodbye to it, especially when the root of the problem was a conflict with a different plugin. When I have time, I’ll go back to iThemes and do a fresh re-install.

New plugin problem created

Removing iThemes created a new problem though and this one pisses me off. At least 2/3 of the links to images were wiped out. I spent the last 3 hours reconnecting them. I have over 570 articles to check and it’s tedious. It could have been far worse. I haven’t finished yet, so if you run into a page with place holders instead of photos, be patient. I’ll get to them this week. I’ve done as many as I can today, and my brain just can’t do any more.

Cheers and hope your week is conflict free

Catpaw

 

WordPress won’t save drafts

WordPress won’t save drafts

Graphic cartoon that reads "Argh I just spent an hour troubleshooting my website. Pain in the ass plugins. Sigh"

Plugins – not always user friendly

I just spent the past 2 hours trying to figure out why my WordPress site won’t save drafts or publish. Arrgh.  Not only that, the entire site kept timing out and showing an error loading.  Troubleshooting WordPress issues can be a major pain, triggering off all kinds of stress. I know it worked a couple days ago. Today, a mess.

Each time I tried to either save a draft or publish an article, the Save Draft or Publish buttons would cycle over and over but never finish the process. If I didn’t click away from the page, the browser would time out to a zero error and the live web site would show “can’t connect to the server”. So, time to do the tried and true process of elimination. Find the plugin causing all the heartaches. Why a plugin? Had to be. The website hadn’t had a major upgrade but there were a number of plugin updates this week.

First attempt at fixing the WordPress won’t save drafts issue

I tried disabling all the plugins first, but the same issue popped up. The deactivate button cycled endlessly and the website popped off again. Ok. That didn’t work as planned. Next, logged into the back end of the website via FTP and maneuvered to the plugins folder. I renamed the folder plugins_old.  Suddenly, I could publish, save and delete posts.  I also noted, the WordPress admin panel was notably faster. Definitely a plugin.

Back to FTP, changed the plugins folder name to the original and then opened up the folder. I renamed all the individual plugin folders and worked my way through them, enabling them one at a time until I found the culprit. I also tested the plugins panel, deactivating the plugins and reactivating them. No issues arose. I was a bit surprised who the problem child was – Yoast SEO. I’ve used it for nearly 2 years with no issues but this week KABLOOIE! I re-enabled it, tested and the issue returned. Guess I won’t be using Yoast until the issue is fixed.

Why did it suddenly start up? My guess it’s conflicting with another plugin. I don’t have the patience to go through all the various plugin configurations to track the issue. I’m going to remove Yoast and return to All-in-One for my SEO.

If you find your site suddenly behaving erratically, try these steps:

  • Deactivate all plugins using the plugin menu.
  • Reactivate plugins one at a time, testing the site after each is turned back on.
  • Once you track the culprit, delete it, and find an alternative.

If the Plugin menu doesn’t work or you can’t access it,

  • Log into your site with either FTP or your web host’s file manager.
  • Locate public_html -> wp-content.
  • Rename the folder titled plugins. Usually it’s easiest to rename it to plugins_old.
  • Once you do this, log back into your WordPress site and test it. If it works properly, then comes the tedious part.
  • Back to FTP/File Manager rename plugins_old back to plugins.
  • Open the plugins folder and rename every folder, adding _old to each.
  • Try each folder, one at a time, by removing the _old from the name.
  • Return to WP and test. When you find the culprit, delete the folder.

It can be time consuming, depending on how many plugins you have.  But keep at it. Go slow, test, and then retest. Note the problem plugin down (so you don’t accidentally re-install it) and find a different plugin or do without. Luckily, there are lots of choices out there so.

Have you had this problem crop up and traced the plugin? I’d be interested in hearing about it. Drop a comment below and let me know.