Locate a WordPress Plugin Conflict Fast

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Topic WordPress
Access WP-Admin, FTP
wp-content/plugins/...
wp-content/theme/functions.php

If you’ve got a WordPress plugin conflict on your website and no error message, this quick how-to will help you find the super fast!

In many cases, you’ll receive an error on the front-end or back-end of the site and that makes it extremely simple to run the error down, sometimes you don’t. If you’ve got a ton of WordPress plugins installed, this will help you identify the plugin creating an issue within a minute or two, even if you’ve got 20+ plugins. You can obviously disable each plugin from the back-end of the site, but this could take a little longer since you’ve got to wait for the plugin to disable, back-end to reload, refresh your site (to see if the bug has cleared). This how-to is simply meant to save you 10 minutes or so.

Firstly, lets talk about excessive plugin use

Before proceeding, it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t have a ton of plugins. Many times you can achieve what a plugin does without installing any software. Here’s a shortlist why you should avoid plugins when you can, and prevent possible plugin conflicts:

1. More things for you to update, and not keeping WordPress and Plugins up-to-date can cause security issues.
2. More server resources being used. Poorly developed plugins can burn memory.
3. There are over 35,000 plugins. They’re not all perfect, many are free- and you get what you pay for.
4. Every time you update WordPress you risk plugin compatibility issues if the plugin is not being maintained.

Plugins, while they seemingly make life easier, are sometimes totally unnecessary. Do you really need a plugin for social media links in your footer? Absolutely not. A couple of social media icons and a properly styled ordered list in an text widget will serve the same purpose. Yes, it might take you 10 minutes to set up rather than a minute and a half, but you’ll make that time back later by not having to update the plugin regularly.

Lets locate that WordPress plugin conflict

You’ll need FTP access and that’s it! We recommend FileZilla. If you aren’t comfortable with FTP, you can still find your WordPress plugin conflict by disabling them from the admin dashboard under Plugins > Installed plugins.

Note- there is also a quick way to do disable your plugins and quickly reactivate them via phpMyAdmin, but this solution works just as well and is less technical. Don’t forget, you should always back up your site before doing anything!

1. Gain FTP access to your WordPress website’s root.

2. Navigate to wp-content and locate your plugins folder.

Now we’re going to determine if it’s a WordPress plugin conflict at all.

3. Rename the plugins folder to anything different. I usually choose plugins-off. This will break the file structure of all plugins which effectively disables all of the plugins. Go ahead and refresh your front-end and see if the conflict or bug is resolved. If it is, we’re halfway there! We know that you do, in fact, have a plugin causing an issue.

4. Reactivate your plugins by renaming the plugins-off folder back to plugins.

5. Enter your plugin folder and create a new folder. I usually choose 000 (zero-zero-zero) this makes the folder easy to find and places it at the top.

6. Highlight all of your plugins and drop them into folder 000.

7. Navigate to folder 000 where all of your plugins are now located (and effectively disabled).

8. one-by-one drag each plugin back into the parent directory of the 000 folder you’re in, refreshing the problematic page of your website after each plugin is moved back into plugins. Remember, the parent of your new 000 is your plugins folder, moving the plugin into the parent directory of 000 effectively reactivates the plugin.

9. Once the problematic plugin is dropped back into the plugins folder from 000, the problem will resurface. When it does, you’ve found your problematic plugin!

10. Simply reactivate the rest of your plugins and go to the back end of your website and disable the problematic plugin. WordPress plugin conflict solved… Almost!

Now you’re on your own. Run down the problem with the plugin, find another plugin to suit your needs, or simply delete the plugin and assess if you need that function on your site or if you can achieve your desired effect without using a plugin at at all, but at least we’ve found the culprit WordPress plugin conflict!

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