How to Enable WordPress Debugging Mode to Fix Errors?


Are you facing issues with your WordPress website? Perhaps, you are experiencing the white screen of death, encountering plugin conflicts, or database connection issues.

If so, don't worry; it's common for websites to encounter technical problems. Fortunately, WordPress Debugging Mode can come in handy and fix such errors.

Explanation of WordPress Debugging Mode

WordPress is an open-source platform that allows website owners to create and manage their website content effortlessly. However, sometimes errors may occur due to coding mistakes or compatibility issues between plugins and themes. The Debugging Mode is a feature that helps diagnose and fix these issues by providing detailed information about what's causing the errors.

Understanding WordPress Errors

WordPress is known for its user-friendliness and ease of use. However, like any software, it can encounter errors that can be frustrating for website owners and developers. Understanding the different types of WordPress errors is crucial to fixing them efficiently.

Common WordPress Errors

One of the most common errors in WordPress is the "White Screen of Death" (WSOD), where a blank white screen appears instead of your website's content. Another commonly encountered error is the "Error Establishing a Database Connection." This error occurs when your website cannot connect to your database due to incorrect login details or database corruption. Other common errors include plugin conflicts, theme conflicts, and HTTP errors.

Causes of WordPress Errors

There are several reasons why WordPress errors occur. One reason is outdated plugins or themes that are incompatible with the latest version of WordPress or other plugins installed on your website.

Another reason could be server-related issues such as slow loading times or memory limitations that cause PHP scripts to time out. Additionally, malware infections and hacker attacks can cause serious problems for a WordPress site.

Importance of Fixing WordPress Errors

Fixing WordPress errors promptly is essential because they can affect your website's functionality and user experience negatively. Visitors may leave if they encounter frequent error messages or if the site does not load correctly.

Furthermore, unresolved issues can lead to more severe problems such as security breaches or data loss. Understanding and fixing common WordPress errors are essential skills for any website owner or developer who wants to maintain their site's performance, functionality, security and ensure an optimal user experience for their visitors.

Enabling Debugging Mode in WordPress

How to Enable Debugging Mode in WordPress?

There are two ways to enable Debugging Mode in WordPress – using the wp-config.php file or using a plugin. The first method involves editing the wp-config.php file located in your website's root directory. To do this, you will need access to your website's server files via FTP or cPanel.

Once you have accessed the file, add the following code snippet just above "/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */" −

define('WP_DEBUG', true);

This will enable debugging mode on your website. If you also want to log errors into a debug.log file located inside /wp-content/, add this line as well −

define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);

Alternatively, you can use a plugin like Query Monitor or WP Debug Bar to enable debugging mode without touching any code.

Simply install and activate one of these plugins from your WordPress dashboard and follow their instructions. Both methods have their pros and cons – using wp-config.php gives you more control over what gets logged while plugins offer an easier setup process without requiring any technical knowledge.

Enabling Debugging Mode is just the first step towards fixing errors on your website. In the next section, we will discuss how to decode error messages and troubleshoot common issues with Debugging Mode.

Decoding Error Messages in Debugging Mode

When you enable debugging mode in WordPress, you can expect to see various error messages on your website. These error messages can be intimidating and confusing, especially for beginners who are not familiar with the WordPress coding language. But understanding these error messages is crucial to fixing any issues on your website.

Understanding Error Messages in Debugging mode

The first step in decoding error messages is to understand what the message means. The error message will typically contain important information that can help identify the underlying issue.

For example, an error message may indicate that there is a problem with a particular plugin or theme file, or there may be a syntax error somewhere in your code. It's essential to read these error messages carefully and try to understand what they are telling you.

Often the issue is straightforward, and the solution can be as simple as deactivating a problematic plugin or correcting a typo in your code. However, if you're unsure what's causing the problem, it may be best to seek assistance from an experienced WordPress developer.

Common Error Messages and their Solutions

There are many different types of errors that you may encounter when using WordPress debugging mode. Some of the most common include "Fatal Error," "Parse Error," "Internal Server Error," and "White Screen of Death."

For example, if you're receiving a "Fatal Error" message, this indicates that there is an issue with your code preventing it from running correctly. To fix this type of error, you'll need to examine your code carefully and look for any syntax errors or other issues that could cause it not to execute properly.

On the other hand, if you encounter a White Screen of Death (WSOD), this usually indicates an issue with either a plugin or theme on your site. To solve this type of problem, try deactivating all of your plugins or switching to a default theme.

Fixing the Errors with the Help of Debugging mode

Debugging mode is a powerful tool that can help you identify and fix errors on your WordPress site. Once you have enabled debugging mode, it's time to start using it to troubleshoot the issues on your site. In this section, we will discuss some common issues that can be fixed with the help of debugging mode.

Best Practices for Using Debugging Mode

Debugging mode is an essential tool for fixing errors in WordPress. However, it's important to remember that debugging mode should only be enabled when needed and disabled once the error has been resolved.

Leaving debugging mode enabled can expose your site’s sensitive information and make it vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow some best practices when using debugging mode in WordPress.

Disabling Debugging Mode after fixing errors

Once you've identified and fixed the error on your website, it's best to disable the debugging mode as soon as possible. Leaving debugging mode on could slow down your site or even lead to security breaches.

To disable debugging mode, open the wp-config.php file and remove the line of code that enables debug mode (define('WP_DEBUG', true);). Alternatively, you can simply change 'true' to 'false' (define('WP_DEBUG', false);).

Avoiding Common Mistakes while using Debugging Mode

It's easy to make mistakes while using debugging mode in WordPress. One common mistake is forgetting to disable debug mode after fixing an error which might end up revealing sensitive information or slowing down your website.

Another mistake is not backing up your website before enabling debug mode. It's essential always to have a backup of your site before making any significant changes or modifications.


Now that you have successfully enabled WordPress debugging mode and have learned how to decode common error messages, you are equipped with the knowledge to troubleshoot website issues effectively. Debugging mode can be a powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to fixing website errors.

Updated on: 08-Jun-2023


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