Health Check Plugin

The free WP Health Check plugin is a relatively new arrival, having been introduced a few months ago by “The community”. It has a remarkably polarized set of user reviews – divided almost exclusively between 5s (“Works great!”) and 1s (“Warning! Broke my site!”).  The authors strongly urge to backup your site before installing and using this plugin – always a good idea.

wp health check plugin

For me, the plugin works perfectly and is a superb addition to my WP troubleshooting toolbox. Among it’s features …

  • On the Health Check tab, “The health check shows critical information about your WordPress configuration and items that require your attention.” In my case it seems to show a couple of false positives, but for an extremely useful free plugin I can live with that.
  • On the Debug Information tab, a ton of detailed data. Most of it I don’t understand, but if I ever need it I’m sure I will be very happy it’s there.
  • Most important – the Troubleshooting tab. A standard, basic WP troubleshooting step is to deactivate all plugins and switch to the default 20-something theme. This has gotta be confusing to anyone who happens to be visiting my site at the time. The appearance of my site completely changes, and a bunch of theme and plugin-dependent stuff stops working. The Health Check plugin solves that problem by deactivating plugins and switching themes just for me – site visitors continue to see the normal, functioning site. I can selectively turn on specific plugins and my usual theme as I troubleshoot.
  • On the PHP Information tab – lots more detailed data.
  • I especially love the Tools tab. I can verify the integrity of all WP core files – an important step in my periodic maintenance to be confident I have not been hacked. I can also verify that wp-mail is working.

Reminder – backup your site before installing and using this plugin. It works perfectly for me but has broken some sites.

Clearing browser cache

When working with WP, I frequently find a need to clear my browser cache – along with my other caches. But I would prefer not to clear the cache of my usual browser. There is useful stuff in there that I want to keep.

need to clear my browser cache

I generally use Chrome, but I also installed Firefox and set it to permanent private mode, so the cache is cleared every time Firefox closes. When I need a clear browser cache, I simply launch Firefox.

WP Troubleshooting

basic troubleshooting techniques for WPThese are some basic troubleshooting techniques for WP ailments, in rough order of how frequently I make use of each.

Flush all caches: I am working on my site but the changes are not showing up. This is commonly a caching issue. I need to clear all caches, which might include CloudFlare, browser cache, caching plugin, and/or server-side cache provided by my web host.

Switch to a default theme like Twenty Sixteen: A theme conflict can manifest itself in many poltergeist-like ways. Whenever something strange is happening I switch temporarily to Twenty Sixteen to see if it exorcises the problem. One example I encounter frequently is failure to upload images to the media library. I have to switch to Twenty Sixteen, upload my images, and then switch back to my regular theme.

Disable all plugins: Similar to a theme conflict, a plugin conflict can cause various strange errors. I encounter theme conflicts more frequently, so I try that first. If it does not fix the problem, then disabling all plugins is the next step. If the problem goes away, I reactivate the plugins one by one to find the culprit. Unlike my theme, which my site is designed around and cannot be easily replaced, I can usually find a substitute plugin if one misbehaves.

Use SFTP or the host control panel file manager: So what if the error prevents me from logging into to my admin dashboard? I can still switch to the default theme and disable plugins, using the file manager in my host control panel, or an SFTP tool like FileZilla. I navigate to the /wp-content/themes/ folder and rename my active theme’s folder – just put an ‘x’ in front of the folder name or something like that. My site will not be able to load my usual theme, and will revert to the default theme.

Similarly, I can rename the plugins folder or the individual plugin folders to disable plugins.

Refresh Permalinks: A glitch in the WP permalinks functionality can cause 404 ‘not found’ errors. I can refresh permalinks by visiting Settings, Permalinks, and clicking ‘Save Changes’ without actually changing anything.

Last resort: On occasion I have had to restore from the site backup that I either wisely or luckily made before the troubles started.

None of the above work? Try asking in the WP support forums.