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How to Know if a Plugin is Wreaking Havoc on Your Website

Got plugins causing conflict?  In one of my Facebook groups, a fellow blogger’s website had decided to act a little wonky. Suddenly pictures stopped appearing on her blog.  She had no idea why and it was a hit or miss issue.  As I went to comment, I saw someone had already suggested what I planned to, a plugin conflict.  In today’s WordPress resources for bloggers, I’m going to show you how to troubleshoot and what to do if your plugins decide they don’t want to play nice.

Raise your hand if you love plugins.  Y’all have no idea how high my hand is raised right now.  There is a plugin for ev-ry-thing, which is good and bad.  It’s good because plugins are what make WordPress such a versatile blogging platform. It’s bad because they can become bright, shiny objects and because there are so many of them that do such cool things, when you look up you can have 30, 40, or 50 plugins installed on your blog.  No, I’m not making that up.  I had a client whose blog I worked on and she had 35 plugins installed!  You know I had to clean that up, right?

What are WordPress plugins?

If this is your first introduction to plugins, I’ll explain.  Plugins extend what your WordPress blog can do.  Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t do much when it comes to functionality and that’s where plugins come into action.  They add the “cool stuff” (functionality) to your blog.  When you’re on a WordPress blog and you see a slider, that’s a plugin.  When you see eCommerce, rotating text, hear someone talk about Google Analytics on their blog, those are all because of a plugin.

As I am writing this post today, there are 50K+ plugins available in the WordPress repository; that 50K+ does not include the plugins sold on other sites.  While all plugins are compatible with WordPress in general, it doesn’t mean they’re compatible with each other, your WordPress theme, or the version of WordPress you’re using.  And, sometimes everyone can play nice in the sandbox together and suddenly, they aren’t. 

As wonderful as they are, plugins causing conflict on your blog can be a royal pain, but all is not lost!

Plugins causing conflice

What do you do if you’ve got plugins causing conflict?

When someone tells me their WordPress website is suddenly not working, I always ask if they latest versions of WordPress, theme, and plugins are being used.  

  • If the answer is no, I suggest updating what isn’t updated first (of course, make sure you’ve backed up your site first!).
  • If the answer is yes, then I suggest going to the websites WordPress, your theme, and plugins, to make sure there are no known bugs for any of them.

Switch your theme.  Are you still having the issue?

  • If the answer is no, then the issue is your theme most likely and not your plugins.
  • If the answer is yes, time to check your plugins!

Check your plugins 

To see which plugin(s) are wreaking havoc, here are a couple things you can do.

  1. Contact your hosting company.  Ask them to see if they are able to determine which plugin is causing issues.  When I first started with WordPress and had not a clue what I was doing, my hosting company was a BIG help in teaching me.
  2. Deactivate all of your plugins (Yes, you read that right.  Deactivate all of them.).  Check to see if you are still having the issue.  If you are, then you know it’s a plugin.  You’ll need to activate your plugins, one at a time.  Each time you activate a plugin, check the for the issue you were having before you activate the next one.  Keep up with this process until you find the culprit.  I know it seems tedious, but you’ve got to find out which one it is so your website can get back to normal.

Please note: Every time something goes wonky with your site, it doesn’t mean it’s your plugins, but it’s a good place to start and they oftentimes are the culprit!

Have you ever had your website suddenly go wonky?

See ya later!

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29 Comments… add one
  • Giselle Santos 06/14/2017, 10:35 AM

    This has happened to me before. My blog wasn’t loading anymore and my heart sunk! I had to contact my host and they figured one of the plugins was the problem. I’m glad I now know how to solve this possible issue. Great post!

    • Lynn 06/14/2017, 12:22 PM

      Oh no, Giselle! Hate to hear that happened to you, but glad your hosting company was able to find the culprit!

  • Bridget 06/14/2017, 11:50 AM

    Great tips! I have had this happen in the past and it is so annoying!

    • Lynn 06/14/2017, 12:23 PM

      Yes, it is because it’s so sudden. Things can be going great and then all of the sudden…boom! And you’re left wondering what on earth happened? Glad you were able to fix it!

  • Kaitlin 06/14/2017, 1:17 PM

    knock on wood this hasn’t happened to me but it’s good to know what to do if it does! Thanks for the tips!

    • Lynn 06/14/2017, 2:58 PM

      You’re welcome, Kaitlin. I hope you never experience this either! 🙂

  • Alexandria 06/14/2017, 1:28 PM

    Hasn’t happened to me yet, but this will come in handy if I do run into any problems! Thanks!

    • Lynn 06/14/2017, 2:59 PM

      Glad to hear you haven’t had to deal with this Alexandria. Keeping fingers crossed you never do!

  • Margaret 06/14/2017, 1:29 PM

    This is great information to have. I am not super tech savy and honestly have no idea sometimes how I figured out Wordpress on my own, but this’ll be a great resource should this ever happen.

    • Lynn 06/14/2017, 3:00 PM

      I still say the same thing, Margaret. When I first started WP, I absolutely hated it! If someone would have told me 9 years ago I’d be designing and developing sites, I would have laughed. Kudos to you for sticking with it and learning all you did!

  • Stacey Demrigian 06/14/2017, 9:28 PM

    What a great post I think I have figured out my problem now thank you

    • Lynn 06/15/2017, 11:25 AM

      Oh, that’s great, Stacey!

  • Sarah 06/15/2017, 8:07 AM

    I found this article to be very helpful. My site has recently slowed down and I have a hard time editing my articles because everything takes so long. I am going to try your advice & deactivate my plugins and reinstall one by one to see if that helps! Thank you for this!

    • Lynn 06/15/2017, 11:28 AM

      Oh no, Sarah, hate to hear that! Glad this was helpful. It could be several things. Have you recently added any plugins? You can check the compatibility of your plugins by using a plugin called P3. It will tell you which plugins are slowing your site down so you can find alternatives.

  • Gillian 06/15/2017, 12:11 PM

    Great tips. Plug ins are something of a mystery. I removed all the ones I wasn’t using because they slow down loading but I am always wary about adding one more.

  • Jan 06/15/2017, 12:17 PM

    I don’t know much about plug-ins or exactly how they work- but next time I have a problem I will def remember this!

  • Jan 06/15/2017, 12:33 PM

    I don’t know much about plug-ins. However next time things stop working so well, I’ll be sure to remember this!

  • Emily 06/15/2017, 5:07 PM

    This is so helpful! Although I don’t have many plug ins, I didn’t even think to see if they’re causing issues. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Lisa 06/15/2017, 10:19 PM

    So happy you posted this! I just recently had plugin issues with my blog that caused tons of stress and headaches! lol


  • Echoesofhervoice 06/16/2017, 1:20 AM

    This is a great post. It has such good details that I wasn’t even aware of. Thanks for sharing.

  • Denay 06/16/2017, 2:22 AM

    Lynn, this is wonderful advice. A few months back my site was only showing a blank screen. Thank goodness I have a great friendship with my website designer. He helped me solve the problem. We literally needed to do exactly what you said: deactivate each and every plugin, and then turn them back on one by one to see if my site would load or if there was still a blank screen. It was painful, but needed to be done. I was dancing with joy when the problem was solved. Fingers crossed that never happens again!

  • Julia 06/16/2017, 2:12 PM

    This is so helpful! I had no idea that plugins could cause issues, but my Hello Bar plugin caused all the photos on the back end to disappear and I couldn’t upload any new photos! It took me a long time to figure it out.

  • MONNKA 06/17/2017, 12:39 PM

    Very useful! thanks!

  • Crystal L. 06/17/2017, 12:53 PM

    I ALWAYS have this problem with my blog. Thanks for writing this article – I’m definitely going to refer to it next time i run into the issue again, instead of calling someone for help lol!

  • Chastity 06/17/2017, 12:55 PM

    I use blogger so I don’t know if I really have any issues with plug-ins. I have yet to make the switch to Wordpress seems like a awesome platform but I am comfy with Blogger ‍♀️

  • Daisi Ari 06/17/2017, 1:11 PM

    My friends blog recently had a problem with this! Luckily they got it solved but not without difficulty. Great post beauty!

  • Mandy Allen 06/17/2017, 1:46 PM

    50 thousand plugins? Wow, that’s a lot! I know there is an optimum number to have on your blog and any more will slow you down considerably. I hate it when things update and suddenly something doesn’t work anymore. You often don’t even know until someone tells you about it!

    Enjoy the journey!

  • Carly 06/20/2017, 11:27 PM

    Plugins suck sometimes haha. This post is so important.

    • Lynn 06/22/2017, 3:31 PM

      Yes, sometimes they do, Carly! Haha

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