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How to Troubleshoot a WordPress Plugin Conflict

When something with your WordPress website breaks, it can often be a cause of a conflict between plugins and a theme, or the theme and WordPress, or a couple different plugins.

These conflicts are quite common.

Our support team has had an unusual amount of request for help with the popular “updating failed” error that seems to be plaguing so many WordPress sites.

The first thing we check and suggest those that contact us check, is for a plugin conflict.

PRO TIP: Be sure to perform a FULL site backup before going any further.

Checking Plugins: Option One

This is NOT the option we recommend, however it will still work.

A fare warning, this will deactivate the features and functions those plugins provide and your website visitors will see the changes.

  1. Deactivate all plugins
  2. Try to do the thing you were having issues with (i.e updating your post)

If the issue persist then it is not a conflict with the plugin. And you’ll need to test your theme.

If the issue is resolved, you know it is an issue with a plugin and can scroll down to the “If It Works: Nest Steps” section.

Checking Plugins: Options Two

This is our recommend option because it enables you to run the test without affecting the front end of your website, what the visitors see.

site health troubleshooting mode

NOTE: When you enter troubleshooting mode with this plugin, it deactivates all plugins and switches your theme to the default WordPress theme (at the time of this writing, Twenty Twenty Theme).

  1. Install and activate the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin
  2. Go to Tools => Site Health => Troubleshooting
  3. Click “Enable Troubleshooting Mode” button
  4. Try to do the thing you were having issues with (i.e updating your post)

If the issue persist then it is not a conflict with the plugin. And you’ll need to test your theme.

If the issue is resolved, you know it is an issue with a plugin and you can continue with the next steps.

If It Works: Next Step

If you’ve deactivated the plugins and tested “the thing” (to quote Joe), and it works, you now know the issue is being caused by a plugin conflict.

These are the next steps to take to determine with plugin is causing the problem

Test One:

  1. Perform all plugin updates
  2. Reactivate all plugins (disable troubleshooting mode)
  3. Try “the thing” again

If it is still broken … keep going.

Test Two: Single Plugin Test

This test can take some time if you use a lot of plugins, but will get you closer.

  1. Go to Tools => Site Health => Troubleshooting
  2. Click “Enable Troubleshooting Mode”
  3. Now “Enable” one plugin at a time
  4. Test “the thing” with each plugin you enable
troubleshooting plugin conflict

Once you enable the plugin that is causing the problem, the thing that is broken should show up and you will now know which plugin is the issue.

From there you can reach out to the plugin support if it is a paid (premium) plugin. If it is free you can look up the plugin on and try the forum support there for that plugin. Or you may have to find an alternative solution.

There is Always … Option Three

Other Things to Troubleshoot

The PHP Version

  1. Go to Tools => Site Health => Info
  2. Drop down the “Server” section
  3. Make sure PHP version is 7.3 +

If you are not running PHP version 7.3+ you will need to access your hosting account or contact your hosting provider to get assistance with upgrading your PHP.

Once you have upgrade to 7.3+, test “the thing” again. If it is still broken … keep going.

Server Caching / CDN

If you are using a Managed WordPress hosting solution, like WP Engine for example, you will want to purge your website cache and possibly your browser cache, or try from a new browser.

wp engine clear cache

If you are using a service like Cloudflare for your SSL solution, they are also providing a CDN caching service, unless you have manually disabled it. You will need to login to your account there and purge the cache and try again.

cloudflare purge cache

The Wrap Up

It can be a lot of work to troubleshoot these WordPress issues, however, once you learn these processes it can be rewarding the next time you have an issue you are able to resolve yourself.

Unfortunately there is not a ”one-size-fits-all” approach to these WordPress issues. What might cause and resolve the issue on one site, might be caused and resolved by a completely different process on another site.

As always we are here to help as much as we can. Either through the comments and chat or with our services.

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