Maintaining Your WordPress Blog When You Think Your Theme’s Broken

On a fluke a few days ago, I was checking out my business blog on my smartphone. I can’t remember what made me take a look, but I’m really glad I did.

Maintaining a great meal

For some reason, it wasn’t showing up properly on my phone. It was showing my blogging site, which would normally be good, but it was supposed to be showing the version of my site the way WP-Touch makes it look to improve its mobile speed. If you’ve never seen what the difference is, look up this domain name on both your computer and your mobile phone and you’ll see what I mean.

As I looked into it further, I noticed that when I was checking my other blog on other browsers (I’m a Firefox guy), it looked different on all of them. That was definitely problematic! Looking further, I saw an error message at the bottom of the page that was referring to an error in the coding of my theme.

I have an old blog theme that I’ve customized over the years to help keep it up to date. I use the exact same theme on all my sites, but because I know how to change the coding, I made sure it looks different on every site. My business blog was the only one showing an error; that was bothersome. It was also the only site where WP Touch wasn’t working the way it’s supposed to.

What I did next was stupid; I knew better once I thought about it. When you know something about coding, you try to find ways to fix the code so you can fix your theme. However, a couple of days earlier a friend of mine was having trouble with her site, and I told her what to do because I knew she didn’t know all the coding stuff. If I’d done that first, I could have saved myself an hour of research that didn’t work. That’s where I’m taking you.

When you think something wrong with your blog theme or site, the first thing you should do is deactivate most of your plugins. A lot of other people will tell you to deactivate all of them, but I’m going against the grain, as I usually do. I’ll explain what I’d keep.

Because I knew I wanted to see what might be conflicting with WP Touch, I had to make sure not to deactivate that plugin; that would have been idiotic. I also run a plugin called Limit Login Attempts Reloaded, which I initially wrote about in 2017, but updated to this newer version. It protects your blog from people trying to hack into your site; no way I was turning that one off.

Everything else was fair game, even though I knew it couldn’t be a few specific plugins. Better to be safe than sorry; that’s my motto.

maintaining peanuts

Once I deactivated all the plugins except the two I mentioned, I checked the main site page of the blog… and it looked perfect on my computer and phone; yay! This proved the problem was a plugin interacting with WP Touch in a bad way. It’s possible that a WordPress update, updates to WP Touch, or updates to another plugin eventually caused an issue. It was time to find out.

What you do is add individual plugins back, one at a time. Start with those your mind tells you it’s impossible to be. As a for instance, I knew it couldn’t be the Classic Editor program, since that’s for being able to continue writing my content the way I always have instead of the new style. I knew it wasn’t All In One SEO Pack; once again, that has to do with setting up your latest blog post or going back to change things on it.

The process of adding plugins back one at a time doesn’t take all that long if you’re set up to check things out quickly. I knew that if it was still correct on the smartphone, or didn’t give me error messages in the maintenance area of the blog that things were working fine.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of the plugins I ended up removing. It wasn’t just one plugin; it turned out to be 4 or 5 of them. That’s why, if you come across a plugin that you see has messed something up and you deactivate it and delete it, you still follow the individual process of checking out all the other plugins you’ve yet to reactivate.

As a further step, since I like being thorough, before I deleted the bad plugins, I researched them on the WordPress forum site. It turns out all but one of the plugins hadn’t had an update in many years; the last was conflicting with another plugin that did the same thing.

Deactivating plugins is the quickest way to find out if your issues are related to them or if your issue is something else. I could have used that hour I spent researching ways to fix my theme if I’d started with the plugins.

This is my main recommendation to you if you ever run into issues like what I had. Also, make sure to check your blog or website on multiple platforms and browsers every once in a while to see if it’s showing up the way you want it to.

4 thoughts on “Maintaining Your WordPress Blog When You Think Your Theme’s Broken”

  1. Thankfully, I’ve only ever had to deactivate all plugins once, to troubleshoot an issue. It’s a real pain, for sure!

    Your control panel should tell you when the last update was. Why did you have to go to the repository?



    1. Wait; what control panel tells me that? Where is this control panel? And what repository are we talking about? lol

      Truthfully, any time I’ve had issues with any of my blogs, I usually go with deactivating as many of them as possible first. It’s only in weird times when I forget to do it; like the other day when I must have lost my mind. Sometimes we learn too much stuff and make things more complicated for us than it needs to be. lol

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