Friday, October 7, 2016

fixing wordpress plugins

Yesterday I had a venture in the extraordinarily un-glamorous world of Wordpress.

A friend accidentally "white screen of death"'d her company's site. Apparently, it can be a really bad idea to hit "Update All Plugins" (maybe especially if you are running an older version of PHP? Not quite sure.)

I admit, I'm a better developer than admin, which was that this called for.  Still, I decided to give it the old college try.

I was grateful that the shared GoDaddy site still offered normal ftp and better yet, ssh access.

I saw there was a boiler plate Wordpress index.php. Oddly I could run "php index.php" from the shell and a more or less normal looking site was generated. So after putting the regular index.php safely aside,  for a while I replaced it with the content of running php in the shell... not perfect (both in terms of missing theme and showing bare [plugin] slugs) but better than a blank screen or a "Under Construction" link.

What To Do When A WordPress Plugin Causes An Error was a helpful link. Things were so bad that the plugin admin page was also white screening, but I admire how hackable it is... each plugin was represented by a subdirectory in a general plugins folder - and to deactivate a plugin, you can just remove there. We did that, and the admin page returned (as did the main functionality, so I put the default index.php back) Then, you can put all the plugin folders back, but, oddly, but usefully, they're all deactivated. At that point we turn them on one by one (making sure we knew which directory entry they corresponded to - usually it's obvious but in a few cases we had to click on the link), found the one that was killing stuff, and left it out.

Anyway, I appreciate how Wordpress has a lot going on, but you can still follow the logic...

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