Software, Technology

How-to: Deactivate WordPress Plugins on a Broken Site

Worpdress logoYou try to login to a WordPress site and you get the really helpful 500: Internal Server Error and can’t access the WP-admin panel.

WordPress plug-ins can be a common point of failure – particularly if you upgrade plug-ins and the new release has compatibility issues.

One of the common troubleshooting tips for WordPress is to deactivate all plug-ins and activate them one by one. Which is fine if you can access the site. Fortunately there is a method to disable your plug-ins using FTP.

As long as you have File Transfer Protocol access, use your FTP client, or your host’s file manager to get on to the site. Navigate to the /wp-content/ folder where you will see a folder called plugins. Rename this plugins folder – I use “plugins.deactivate”. Do this, and all of your plug-ins will be deactivated, since if WordPress can’t see them, it can’t load them.

If one or more plug-ins caused the server error, the you should be able login to your /wp-admin/ once again and from there, sift through until you find the culprit.

To do that, login, go back to your /wp-content/ directory and rename “plugins.deactivate” back to plugins.

Now de-activate them properly using the wp-admin panel and scientifically activate one plug-in at a time until your site fails again. By a process of elimination you can deduce which plug-in caused the issue. RC

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.


6 thoughts on “How-to: Deactivate WordPress Plugins on a Broken Site

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