Troubleshooting WordPress themes and plugins can be a frustrating experience if you don’t have any tools at your disposal. It’s especially difficult if you’re already locked out of your WordPress site. Don’t panic. You’ve still got some options. Here’s one you may not have heard about yet.
Turn on Safe Mode
Perhaps in the past you may have been advised to start deactivating plugins in hopes of finding the offending plugin, or switching to the default theme in order to see if your custom theme is causing a problem.
Safe Mode is a very useful plugin for troubleshooting these kinds of WordPress situations. It allows you to temporarily see your site without the influence of plugins and themes.
Here’s what happens in safe mode:
- No plugins will be loaded.
- A default theme will be temporarily activated (if it is installed).
After activating the plugin you can enable safe mode for any particular page by adding this to the URL: “?safe_mode=1″. You will need to this for every view. The plugin page lists the most common examples of pages you’d want to visit while troubleshooting:
- Login Page: http://www.example.com/wp-admin/?safe_mode=1
- Plugin Management: http://www.example.com/wp-admin/plugins.php?safe_mode=1
- Theme Management: http://www.example.com/wp-admin/themes.php?safe_mode=1
Safe Mode temporarily activates either Twenty Twelve, Twenty Eleven or Twenty Ten, so you’ll want to make sure to keep those themes on your installation even if you’re not using them. The handy thing about this is that it’s only temporary so you won’t need to try to remember which plugins you had active or the theme settings you had in place. Safe Mode essentially just gives you a window into the problem for a minute without further disrupting your site.
Although Safe Mode certainly cannot fix every kind of site crash, it may be able to save you some time in certain scenarios. You may want to consider having the Safe Mode plugin in place ahead of time in case you were to get locked out of your site. Download it for free from the WordPress plugin repository.