Debugging Your WordPress Website

It’s important to know how to debug your WordPress website. There may come a time when something on your website is not working properly. Perhaps you are seeing a fatal error, or a feature of your site is failing to load. We will share some debugging steps below that you can follow to try to isolate the cause.

If you are seeing a fatal error (often a 500 error) you can check the error logs for clues as to what triggered it. We have a guide on how to access these logs here.

If it seems something just isn’t working – a button that you click that does nothing, an area of the site that fails to load and just shows a spinner – you can check your browser console for errors. Simply right click on the page and choose “Inspect” or “Inspect Element”.

That will open your browser developer tools. From there you can navigate to the console tab to look for any errors.

Tab showing how to debug a WordPress website through the browser development tools

For this section, we would suggest that you clone your website and perform your tests on the clone, so as not to affect the live site and any visitors. Follow this link to learn how to clone your website to staging.

The first step is to switch to a default theme. Twenty Twenty-One for example. Then check if the problem is resolved. If so, you could reasonably assume the issue is originating from your theme and you can reach out to the theme developers for further assistance.


If it is not the theme the next step is to disable all plugins and check if the issue is then resolved. If so, re-enable plugins one at a time until the problem reoccurs and you isolate the cause. Once you find the problem plugin you could:

  • Check for any available updates for that plugin
  • Decide if you actually need the plugin, or can find an alternative
  • Contact the plugin developers for further assistance