A Plugin Broke Your WordPress Blog? Here Is What To Do

By Daniel Scocco

Most WordPress users had this experience at least once. You find a cool plugin around the web, rush to upload it to your server, activate it, and then when you check the blog to see if its working, bang! The blog crashes and you can’t even load the homepage….

Obviously this is not WordPress’ fault. The crash usually comes from bad code that was used in the plugin itself, or from a conflict that is coming from another plugin already installed on the blog.

Either way it is a frustrating experience, and here is what you can do to get out of it.

1. Try to de-activate the plugin

The first thing you should try is to de-activate the plugin. Simply try to login into the admin area. If that is working, go the list of plugins and de-active the one you just installed.

2. Rename the plugin via FTP

Many times the crash will affect the WordPress admin area as well, so you won’t be able to de-activate it. In those situations you should try to rename the plugin file or folder via FTP.

3. Delete the plugin via FTP

If simply renaming the plugin was not enough, try to delete it completely. This will try to stop your WordPress install from loading the buggy code.

4. De-activate all the plugins via PHPMyAdmin

Some plugins will alter tables in your WordPress database when you activate them. As a result your blog might keep crashing even after you delete the plugins via FTP.

If that is the case, you will need to log into cPanel, and open the PHPMyAdmin interface. Then select the WordPress database, and browse inside the “wp-options” table. Look for the “active_plugins” column, and edit it. Inside the “options_value” field you will find something like this:

a:31:{i:0;s:13:"AddMySite.php";i:1;s:19:"akismet/akismet.php";
i:2;s:23:"all_in_one_seo_pack.php";i:3;s:16:"authenticate.php";
i:4;s:28:"breadcrumb-navigation-xt.php";i:5;s:18:
"codeautoescape.php";i:6;s:37:

These lines represent the active plugins in your blog (you can read more on this issue here). Delete them all and save. This should automatically de-activate every plugin. Now check if your blog is live again, and if the admin area is working. They should be.



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26 Responses to “A Plugin Broke Your WordPress Blog? Here Is What To Do”

  • Jeff Starr

    Hi, just a note – the original article for the fourth method (De-activate all the plugins via PHPMyAdmin) is from Perishable Press:

    http://perishablepress.com/press/2008/02/18/quickly-disable-or-enable-all-wordpress-plugins-via-the-database/

    Check out the code snippets – they are identical.

    Please credit the original source in your post.

    Thanks!

  • Doug C.

    Actually the Thesis theme broke my web site. Now that it’s been deleted I’m back to normal again. Going to delete this comment, too?

  • rhbee

    You say it isn’t the fault of wordpress but that isn’t entirely true. The constant upgrades, the thousands of plugins, the changing of formats, those are all part of the wordpress MO. They invite disaster and in my case so destroyed my confidence in my blog’s stability that I finally opted out of their environment and went back to Blogger. What wordpress doesn’t seem to get is that what we want is a car that runs not won that is constantly racing out in front of the pack and then breaking down.

  • Himanshu

    Here is a quick question Daniel: How can we know that our site is actually effected due to plugin? It might be possible that site may effected due to some problem in a server.

  • excITingIP.com

    Helpful article Daniel. What do we do if a plugin is inserting duplicate meta tags? For example, the all in one SEO plugin was interfering with the meta tags provided by the theme and I was having a problem of duplication of meta tags. Even if I insert a no-follow plugin seperately for a page, it still results in a duplicated meta tag!

    excITingIP.com

  • John Samuel

    Thanks for this post. This has happened once for me. But somehow I was able to deactivate the plugin

  • Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend

    This last tip using the options field is gold. I did not know that one!

    Since I program plugins, I’m pretty good at whacking problems before they get out of hand. WSOD is no big deal.

    Nice to see some hard core content. Too little of it out here.

  • Yan@Suzhou Travel-Culture Guide

    Good post, usually I prefer the most simple way, delete the plugin and try another with the similiar functions. Thanks to so many plugin resources.

  • Surfers

    Awesome!!! this part makes this post stand out from the rest
    ” De-activate all the plugins via PHPMyAdmin ” ..
    Now THATS how you fix things!! we need more posts like this.

  • Paul

    Good tips. I’ve been bitten by this many times. Never had to go as far as step 4 so I didn’t actually know that method also existed, very good to know.

  • Lee Ka Hoong

    Usually I will just delete the plugin through FTP, I’ve experienced it once, it was the WP-Cache plugin, didn’t know what was the problem too.

  • Munawar AM

    I have no problem with plugin used on my wordpress blog.
    Just Use the plugin that useful

  • Steve

    I have never had that happen but it seems that deleting the plugin would be a pretty direct way to get rid of it. I once installed a plugin that wasn’t available from the cms’ site and it didn’t go so well but that was a DNN module.

  • Dana@Online Knowledge

    i do not face plugin crash problem yet, but this article make me ready if that happen.

  • Hal Brown

    What fine timing this is. I just launched a new site, installed super cache, and it removed all pages except the home page. I’ve used this several times before without any incident. In fact it worked great.

    If anyone has this problem, here is the fix:
    Remove the code it puts in your htaccess file – be sure your WP code is EXACTLY the way it was prior to installing the plugin. Then remove the line it puts in your wp-config file (this is easy to find).

    What a shame. I liked this, but will never take that chance again.

  • Dre @ WebpageLottery.com

    The last option sounds “scary”. Is that mean I have to reactivate all the other plugins and reconfigure them again?

  • Teen Blogger

    Helpful Post.

    Some plugins do indeed screw up your blog and that can be very annoying. I’ve had it a few times and really get frustated. If I cant fix it i always delete or deactivate it. That mostly solces the problem

  • Gabe | freebloghelp.com

    Luckily, the plugins I used have a good track record and haven’t broken my site ever. (knock on wood)

    I wish I had tips like this for my Elgg app though!

  • Scott Prince

    Just spent the past few days going through this process.

    I just upgraded my WP blog hosting account from shared to VPS with the same company, and my blog turned white.

    I started out renaming the “Plugins” folder itself and that didn’t work. Had to go through all of the plugins one by one renaming them until I hit gold, and what a great feeling that is watching your site come back online.

    Here’s a tip. You should avoid actually renaming the file itself, best practice is to simply add a word after the file name. I use the word “back” when I rename files. I never alter the actual name of the file. Here’s a sample. index.php-back.

    Also, you may want to consider keeping a written log book or journal on all of the things you do on your site so you can “undo” them later. This way it’s a bit easier to explain to your hosting support what you did to ruin your site.

    Instead of saying, “I didn’t do anything, I swear, well maybe it was that mod I installed 30 minutes ago but I’m not sure”, you’ll have a good record of events to fall back on. But thats another blog for another day.

    Good post Daniel and should be bookmarked by all for future use.

  • AnastasiaCarroll

    Thank god WordPress normally deactivates incorrect plugins itself. And the worst one can get is incorrect appearance of the blog

  • reza

    5. Fix The Plugin
    from my experience, there’s always uncle google to ask how to fix it

  • Hank

    I had this very same thing happen to me. I had to keep deactivating different plugins until I could find the one that was causing me all the problems.

    Great tips! Thanks!

  • Firas Steitiyeh

    WOW Daniel I wish I had this information like a year ago!! I agree that it happens at least once or maybe twice to each blogger!

    Baddd experiences lol

    Best,
    Firas

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Young, yeah last option is not trivial, but sometimes necessary.

  • Young

    I think the last one should be painful for most of wordpress users ( including me). But it is lucky that I have never done that, since I have only used the top recommended plugins and tested them on XAMPP first.

  • Tom – StandOutBlogger.com

    Some plugins can be very annoying! If they play up and I cant get rid of them by deleting them via FTP.

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