How to Troubleshoot WordPress Websites with Health Check

How to Troubleshoot WordPress Websites with Health Check

Home » Troubleshooting Guides » How to Troubleshoot WordPress Websites with Health Check

By day I’m a tech support goddess troubleshooting plugin issues for WordPress websites. By night, I’m a mom, wife, and WordPress enthusiast.  If you haven’t heard of the Health Check plugin I highly recommend checking it out!  It is a must-have plugin that is part of my troubleshooting toolbelt.

Why should I use it?

  • Have you ever experienced a 500 error that brought your site down and you weren’t sure why?
  • You updated WordPress or a plugin only to find it is no longer working as it was before the update.
  • You don’t have access to a staging site, and you worry you will lose customers while troubleshooting.
  • You have contacted support, but you need this problem solved… YESTERDAY!

If so these are all reasons to install the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin.

How do I use it to troubleshoot plugins?

  1. Navigate to https://wordpress.org/plugins/health-check/ and click ‘Download‘ and install UPLOAD PLUGIN or navigate to your Plugins > Add New > type ‘Health Check & Troubleshooting’ > click ‘Install Now
  2. Navigate to Tools > Troubleshooting > Site Health > Troubleshooting > click ‘Enable Troubleshooting Mode’
    • All plugins are temporarily disabled in this state, so start with enabling the plugin you are having issues with and then check your site.  If the error has resolved it’s self that means the plugin you are testing isn’t causing the error ( good news! )
    • Next, enable each plugin one-by-one until you experience the error.  Doing so means you have found the plugin conflict.
  3. Disable troubleshooting mode by navigating to the WordPress Admin bar or Dashboard and clicking, ‘Disable Troubleshooting Mode
  4. Now that you are out of troubleshooting mode, temporarily disable the problem plugin and decide whether you want to reach out to the plugin developer for additional support or find another plugin solution altogether.

How do I use it to troubleshoot themes?

  1. Navigate to Tools > Troubleshooting > Site Health > Troubleshooting > click ‘Enable Troubleshooting Mode’.
  2. Navigate to WordPress Admin bar > Troubleshooting Mode > Themes > choose the theme you want to test.
    • If you weren’t able to rule out a plugin conflict there may be an issue with your theme.  Enabling an alternate theme temporarily will assist you in tracking down the error without causing issues for your visitors.

Already built into WordPress

Status

The Site Health status shows you ways that you can improve your website.  This section automatically comes with your WordPress installation. Typically these are suggestions and don’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

Info

Here you can find information about your site.  For example, have you ever wondered what version of PHP you are running or how to find out what your memory limit is?  Those can be found under the ‘Server‘ dropdown.

Health Check Server Section


Server Tab ( with the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin )

Comes with the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin

Troubleshooting

This is where you enable ‘Troubleshooting Mode’  by clicking the ‘Troubleshooting Mode‘ button.  Doing so allows you to test plugins, and troubleshoot issues with your site all without causing an interruption to your users.  Allowing you to turn your site into a makeshift “staging” site that only you can see.

Troubleshooting Mode

Tools

Are you having problems with your site sending emails?  If so you can send us a test email that will invoke the wp_mail() function.  Using this feature is a lot easier than installing an additional mail checker plugin, so that alone is worth it.  If you need to check plugin compatibility this is also the right place.  Checking the compatibility will let you know, the minimum version of PHP and WordPress that is required for your plugin to run.

 

Health Check & Troubleshooting Plugin

Health Check Plugin

Pages, Posts and Blogs:  What’s the difference?

Pages, Posts and Blogs: What’s the difference?

   Pages, Posts and Blogs:

What’s the difference?

I’ve noticed with myself as well as working with others who are new to WordPress  understanding the  difference between Posts and Pages can be a little tricky.  The WordPress Codex explains Pages in the following way:

    In WordPress, you can put content on your site as either a “post” or a “page”. When  you’re writing a regular blog entry, you write a post. Posts, in a default setup, appear in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page. In contrast, pages are for non-hierarchical content: pages like “About” or “Contact” would be common examples. Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present timeless information about yourself or your site — information that is always relevant. You can use Pages to organize and manage the structure of your website content.

Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are used to present timeless information about yourself or your site — information that is always relevant. (WordPress.org ) Pages can use different page templates, including template files, Template Tags and other PHP code. (WordPress.org ) https://codex.wordpress.org/Pages

Clear as mud right?  To simplify, think back to any website you’ve visited.  It can even be this one if you like.  When you first come to my website you arrive on my homepage. The homepage is created through making page in “Pages”.  You do this by navigating to the Dashboard and clicking Pages.   Once there you can either click “Add New” in the Dashboard located underneath Pages or you click the “Add New” button to the right of the Dashboard that is next to the  title “Pages”.   Now you

A post in the most simplistic sense is where you go to create entries for your blog.  Blog creation is not the only use for Posts but is often the most common one. Which is what we will focus on today.  Here is the kicker. In order for you to see the Posts you need to create a Page in which these Posts will live.  To get your Blog up and running you would create a Page, call it ‘Blog’  ( or whatever you want your blog to be called ) and then you would go into Settings -> Reading -> Front Page Displays -> Posts Page -> select the dropdown and choose Blog.

Why I like Flywheel!

Why I like Flywheel!

A few months ago the company I was working for decided to change hosting providers and try out Flywheel.  I had heard about Flywheel through various podcasts but hadn’t really looked into them so I was excited to jump on board and give them a try. I liked their service so much that I decided to check out out their job boards and saw they were looking for their version of a Customer Happiness Engineer.  I went ahead and applied and was contacted within a few days to connect with a hiring recruiter over Zoom.  The discussion I had with the recruiter was roughly an hour and it was your general run-of-the-mill vetting.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the next round but overall my experience was positive.

Tiny Plan:

5,000 monthly visitors
5GB Space
250 GB Bandwidth
Free SSL certificate

Things I like:

  1. One of the first cool things about Flywheel is they will migrate your website(s) for free!  Yes for free.
  2. SFTP access:
    Server:  sftp.flywheelsites.com
    username:  same un used to login Flywheel
    password: same pw used to login to Flywheel
  3. Privacy mode
    Visitors and search engines are not able to see any content.
  4. Stats ( yes, analytics on your site )
    I think this a cool feature but I’m not sure how accurate it is.   My stats on Flywheel are always higher than on Google Analytics.
  5. Free SSL with the $15/month plan.
    Yes, I understand that $15 is kinda on the higher side when it comes to hosting, this was a concern I had myself but when you calculate out purchasing an SSL certificate from a less expensive host it kind of ends up being sixes.  However, from a service perspective, you really don’t have to do much to get it working, unlike other hosts.  Also, come July Google will be punishing demoting websites if they don’t have SSL so you might as well get on the bandwagon.  It’s a win for you as well as your customers.
  6.  CDN access ( however it is an additional $10/month )
  7. Daily backups ( yes daily )
  8. Advanced Options include:
    –  Flush cache
    –  Development Mode
    –  Enable WP_Debug Mode
    –  Force HTTPS Mode ( if you end up getting SSL this will most likely need to be turned on )
  9.  Staging Sites ( additional costs ) pushing and pulling from staging to the production server is super slick
  10.  Access to WP-Admin from the dashboard
  11.  Responsive customer support
  12. Local by Flywheel
  13.  White label services & affiliate marketing
    This means that as an agency or freelancer you can resell hosting services to your clients.
Multisite: Setting Up A Local Environment

Multisite: Setting Up A Local Environment

When considering a multisite network for your clients you need to ask yourself two questions:

 

1) Who are my clients?  

2) How do they currently use WordPress?  

 

Asking these two questions will help you the developer, designer or agency to

determine whether or not multisite is going to be the ideal solution for your clients.

A major advantage of a multisite network is that you are working with only one

instance of WordPress which means that updates to the WordPress core, themes and

plugins will be managed more easily.  So today I would like to discuss how to set up

multisite locally so you can explore all that multisite has to offer. In this tutorial I will

review the process for creating a local site through MAMP and then jump into setting

up your very own local multisite network.

 

So let’s get started!  

 

SETTING UP MAMP

 

1) Setup MAMP

– Create a directory ( < your-directory > ) for your WordPress installation.
– Make sure MAMP is pointed to the directory you just created
– Created your database in phpMyAdmin
– Make sure the Apache port is switched to 80 and MySQL 3306.

2) Configure the hosts file

 -  Terminal sudo nano /etc/hosts -  Add ‘127.0.0.1  -  Save and exit

3) Edit ‘httpd.conf’

  - Terminal  sudo nano  /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/httpd.conf

– Look for:

          # Virtual hosts          # Include /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

– Remove the ‘#’ in front of the “Include” and save the file.

4) Adding Virtual Hosts to the VHOSTS file

  - Terminal sudo nano /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf
  - Copy and paste into the file:
             <VirtualHost *:80>                              ServerAdmin [email protected]                    DocumentRoot “/Applications/MAMP/htdocs/"                    ServerName your-directory.dev                    ServerAlias your-directory *.your-directory.dev             </VirtualHost *:80>

At this point you should be seeing the famous five minute install screen which means you are ready 

 for WordPress installation.  You are probably having issues with MAMP and the

port settings.  Follow these steps:

1) Launch MAMP

2) Open MAMP and click on ‘Reset MAMP Ports’ and change them back to the defaults, then click ok.

3) Switch to terminal and type sudo apachectl stop

4) Restart MAMP

5) Open MAMP and set APACHE and MySQL ports to 80 and 3306

6) Switch to terminal and type sudo apachectl restart

7) Switch back to MAMP and you should be good to go.

Not seeing the famous five minute install?

 

If you are still having issues with the MySQL ports, make sure to open your ‘Activity Monitor’

and quit any instances of MySQL. If you are still having issues restart your

computer and follow steps 1 through 7 again.

 

Setting up Multisite…finally

 

I’m assuming you went through the five minute install and are now running a

WordPress installation. If not please do so before continuing.

1) In your text editor open up to the ‘wp-config.php’ file and look for:

 /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

Above that comment you type define(‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);

Save the wp-config.php file and head back to your WordPress admin.

2) Once logged in scroll down to Tools > Network Setup.

After clicking ‘Network Setup‘ you will see the following screen:

 

 

This is where you will create your network. Since we are setting up the multisite network locally

make sure to select ‘Sub-directories’ as the Sub-domains option requires you to have a wildcard DNS

record.  Go ahead and click install

3) You should now see the following image:

Copy and past the first block of code into your wp-config.php.

Next head over to your .htaccess file and replace the rewrite mod rules with the new ones provided

in the ‘Enabling the Network’ screen.  Initially when I did this I ran into an issue with the copy and

paste method so  I deleted the .htaccess
file, created a new one and pasted in the fresh code.

When I attempted the process a second time I
was able to straight copy and paste from the original

file with no issue.  Next, log back into  the WordPress admin.

If you did everything correctly you should see the “My
Sites” with a drop-down and to the right of it

you should see the name of the first network you created.

 

The first time I set up the multisite network it took me quite a bit of time.

The second time I set up
the multisite network it took me about five minutes ( thankfully 🙂 ),

which included creating a virtual
host and installing WordPress. The setup is relatively straight-

forward  after the initial hiccups are 
resolved.

 

Thank you for reading.

mojomarketplace banner lightning talk

bluehost banner lightning talk

 

Flushing Permalinks

Flushing Permalinks

Flushing Permalinks

 

Today I would like to talk to you about how and when you should flush your permalinks.  If you are confused as to what permalinks are just take a look up above, in your address bar. You will see what is commonly referred to as a URL.  A permalink  is just another name for the URL that you are seeing in your address bar.  

 

Reasons you would need to flush your permalinks:

 

  1. You recently changed your domain name and have noticed that when you visit your website it keeps defaulting to the old domain name. ( So frustrating!!!! )
  2.  

  3.  You have recently published a new page/ post and when you visit that page/post you are receiving a 403 Error that displays something like this :
  4.  

  5. Forbidden: You don't have permission to access [directory] on this server

 

  How to flush your permalinks:

 
Permalinks
Head over to your dashboard/admin and scroll down to the Settings and then click on Permalinks 
 
[fac_icon icon=”arrow-circle-o-left”] If you did it right you should now be in the Permalinks settings page.  
 

From here you are going to click a setting that is not currently selected and then change it back to the Post Name setting.  ( Warning ) Among the WordPress community some advise using Post name as your permalink setting while others say to change it to the Day and name setting.  For our purposes here we will stick with Post name. ( Warning )

 

Next you will go down to the blue save button and click it.  While remaining on the permalink page you are going to refresh your browser/client.  This can be done by holding down f5/shift + R ( Windows ) or Command +  R ( Mac ).  Now that you are flushed your permalinks you are ready to check out the result.

 
Head back to your website by navigating to the upper left hand corner of your screen House   Hover over the house icon and then click visit site.  Now you should be viewing your homepage.  If you are,  you may still not see a change.  Don’t worry all you need to do is refresh your homepage.  
 

If you flushed your permalinks due to a recent domain change then your problems should be resolved. If it is not then you will need to head back over to Settings -> General -> Site Address( make sure this has the new domain name ) –> WordPress Address ( this needs the new domain name too ) -> Save You should be ready to rock and roll!

 

If you flushed your permalinks due to a 403 Error, then you will need to navigate back to the problem child page/post to see if it has been resolved.  If the permalink flush did not resolve the error, then create a new page, give it a different name, copy and paste in your old content, save and refresh.  You should be back in business baby!!!!

 

 

 

***Youtube video on how to flush permalinks***

 

 

 

Thank you for reading 🙂

Where did my comments go?

Where did my comments go?

Where did my comments go?

 

Have you ever been working on a blog post and all of a sudden the comments section has disappeared on

you or is only showing up on some blog posts and not others?  If you find yourself in this situation the solution is pretty

simple.

                            1.  Look at the top of your post screen.  You should see something like this:

                                                                              Screen Options

 

   You may have seen the ‘Screen Options’ section before if not, here it is.  Screen Options allow you  to enable/disable

  multiple content features on your posts as well as pages. In our case, comments.  Once  you open the drop down menu

  you might see something like this:

 

Screen Option Drop Down

 

 

2. If  you are like me you are probably looking for the  “Comments” box to check.  You aren’t going to

find it.  What you need to look for is the “Discussion” box instead and make sure you check mark that

option. Now that it is checked you can close the drop down box on ‘Screen Options‘.

 

3.  Scroll down the Post until you see the  ‘Discussion’ box appear:

 

Comment Box

 

This box has two options.  The first option if checked will allow others to make comments on your post. If

you want users to be able to make comments on your posts then definitely make sure it is checked. If you

don’t want them to make comments, uncheck the box.

 

4.  Make sure to Update/Save Draft/Publish your page and you will be all set.  When you preview you the

Post you should now see this:

 

Comments Section

 

Your comment section might look a little different from mine and that is ok.  The main idea here is that

your users now have access to comment on your blog post and leave whatever feedback they desire.

 

 

Thank you 🙂 I hope this helps!