Breakfix Lessons

Welcome to Break/Fix! Welcome to Break/Fix!

Unlike the other sections of this handbook, Break/Fix is meant to be a hands-on guide to troubleshooting broken WordPress websites. Each lesson represents a common problem you may come across when helping others in the WordPress.org Support Forums.

In the spirit of learning firsthand how to fix a broken website, each of these lessons is intended to break your WordPress site, as well as help walk you through how to fix it. If you can do it on your test site, then you are well equipped to help someone else if they are having the same problem on their end.

IMPORTANT: Because each of these lessons is designed to break your test site, it is not a good idea to attempt to try any of them on either a live or production site. Install the lesson materials on your locally hosted test site only!

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How to safely try these lessons How to safely try these lessons

To get the most out of each lesson, you will need to set up a locally hosted test site. See the following sections in the Appendix:

General Troubleshooting

It’s good to bear in mind that the exercises in this section, as with most of the issues you see in the forums, fall into one of several distinct buckets. With experience you’ll start to guess which bucket yours falls into, but for now here is some basic troubleshooting advice for each of the common scenarios you will face:

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Theme-specific issues Theme-specific issues

You can rule out a theme-specific issue quickly by switching to a default theme. If you don’t see the problem with the default theme active then the issue probably related to your theme and now you know where you have to look for the issue.

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Plugin-specific issues Plugin-specific issues

You can rule out a plugin-specific issue quickly by deactivating all your plugins. If you don’t see the problem with all the plugins deactivated then the issue might come from a plugin activate them one by one and see if the issue reappears when a specific plugin is activated.

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When something is wrong, always check your web server logs it might give you the exact cause of the issue or at least a good hint on what is going on.

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Very often, an issue is specific to one Web browser. Fortunately, verifying this kind of problem is pretty easy to do, and doesn’t require touching your site. All you need to do is check your site in another browser. It’s always a good idea to have at least two or three popular browsers installed on your computer to make sure your site looks right, since not everyone uses the same browser as you. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari (for Mac) and Internet Explorer (for Windows) are popular browsers.

You can learn more about how to identify and fix issues by reading the fallowing “Break/fix lessons”.

Once you have done that, you can find downloadable lesson materials for installation on your test site, instructions on how to use those materials to break your site, and then some guidance on how to fix it.

Again, have fun, and remember, only for use on test sites.