2 Quick Tips for Troubleshooting WordPress Upgrade Issues

Today, WordPress rolled out its latest update, WordPress 3.4 Green.

As we do with any WordPress update, we immediately tested it on a number of our own internal sites and compared notes with everyone else in the Copyblogger family.

The official verdict: upgrade!

However, that does not mean everything is guaranteed to go smoothly. Even if 99.9 percent of sites experience no issues with an upgrade, there is always that 0.1 percent that can experience a small and usually solvable problem.

It won’t be related to hosting (as we’d then see it on all of our sites) or Genesis (as the StudioPress team would know before WordPress even released the update), but rather, it will likely be related to one of the many other variables that site owners introduce to their sites with custom themes and plugins.

We, of course, are always happy to help you figure out what the issue may be, but you may not want to wait even 15-20 minutes for a reply. And that’s fine. You probably don’t need to.

In this post, I’ll quickly walk you through two action items you can take to try to isolate and fix the potential problems on your own.

Is Your Theme Causing the Problem?

It’s possible that your theme is causing an issue with the upgrade, especially if it’s not a rapidly and proactively supported theme like we build over at StudioPress.

To see if your theme is the issue, deactivate it and activate the default WordPress theme, which is guaranteed to work flawlessly with the WordPress update.

Then, go back and check whatever issue you were having. Is it still occurring?

If not, you know your theme was the issue. Keep it deactivated if the problem is important enough that it cannot be tolerated. Then contact your theme developer and let them know.

If the issue remains, then your theme likely had nothing to do with it. Reactivate it and move onto the next step.

Is a Plugin Causing the Problem?

Remember our post about the virtues of a minimalistic plugin strategy? And our post about when you should and shouldn’t use plugins?

Well, I left out an important reason to be judicious in your deployment of plugins: sometimes they wreak havoc with WordPress updates.

In fact, I just got done solving an issue of this very nature for a Synthesis customer, which is what led me here to write this post.

If your theme is not the issue, you next need to check your plugins to see if one of them might be the issue. To do this, disable your plugins one-by-one, checking whatever the issue is each time.

Should you notice that the problem’s gone away, whatever plugin you just deactivated was likely the culprit. Keep it deactivated and contact the plugin developer.

However, if the developer has abandoned support for the plugin, you may never hear back and you’ll have to ditch the plugin. If it provided non-essential functionality, you’re better off without it. If you need the functionality, you’ll need to seek an alternative.

But if the developer is still in the game with that particular plugin, you can expect an update to it to be rolled out shortly. In fact, you’ll often notice plugin updates pop up in short order after WordPress updates. This is good.

What Next?

If neither of the above steps helps you to isolate the issue (and you’re a Synthesis customer), then submit a support ticket and we’ll be happy to help you isolate the issue.

When you do submit your ticket, be sure to let us know that you’ve already gone through the steps above because that’s where we’ll start too.

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