How to find, track and fix common WordPress errors

Ben HardingPHP, Provider Updates, Web DevelopmentLeave a Comment

Wordpress errors

Powering 28% of the internet, WordPress is renown in the web development environment. The easy-to-use CMS allows virtually anyone to create their website in record speed.

It doesn’t stop there!

Thanks to the abundant number of plugins from developers all over the globe there is very little a user can’t accomplish by a little digging through WordPress.org. However, this flexibility does have a downside.

Additional features provided by plugins can hide significant flaws exposing your website to bugs and errors which only ever show themselves at the worse possible moment.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of WordPress Bugs and how to fix them.

The “progressively slowing down your website” bug

Known by users as “increased site load speed.”

WordPress itself starts off reasonably fast. The first theme shipped with WP is well constructed but after a while either you (or your users more likely) will notice they have to “twiddle their thumbs” waiting for your site a lot more.

These loads times can lead to an increased bounce-rate because 40% of users expect a website to load in three seconds or less.

The “loves your money” bug

Known by developers as “spending time fixing bugs instead of creating features.”

Developers, like everyone else, at the end of the day cost money. If you have an e-commerce website and no-one can purchase products because they can’t see the products, then you’ll have to fix it fast.

And fixing bugs takes time. The more time a developer has to spend digging around log files or turning on `WP_DEBUG`  flags to attempt to reproduce an error is another hour not working proactively. 

The “white screen of death” bug

Known by users as “I’ll just go to a competitor’s website.”

As a developer, seeing a blank page of the website I’m developing is a nightmare. “Where should I start debugging this?” is the first thought, but it’s even worse when it happens to a user.

Users know nothing about your set up, and they have no qualms with abandoning your site and moving to another.

What are common reasons for WordPress errors?

Common reasons for bugs among plugin developers are:

  • The plugin was created for an out of date version of WordPress and hasn’t been updated to support latest feature set (or more likely remove now redundant code)
  • Another installed plugin conflicts with the one throwing the error
  • Developer ran out of time, either due to them creating the plugin during their spare time. There are only so many hours in a day after all, and I’d much rather spend time building than debugging, personally

What’s the solution to WordPress errors?

WordPress debugging and error tracking usually involves another dodgy WordPress plugin or checking log files. There are better techniques, however.

Error monitoring has come a long way. Raygun Crash Reporting, for example, has a dedicated WordPress provider to ensure software bugs and performance problems get raised immediately. You can then go through your usual debugging workflow to ensure the bug is gone for good.

Raygun has features like: 

User Tracking

A full list of users who have experienced crashes and errors with your application informs you of the scale of your issue. Read more here.

Real User Monitoring

Enable Real User Monitoring to see how users navigate your website, the performance of each page, and exactly what you can do to improve your load time. 

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