We help dozens of users on a daily basis providing them with free WordPress support help either via our twitter, or our contact form. As a volunteer providing free support, every now and then it’s hard not to get frustrated with new users who ask questions in accusatory tone without taking the time and consideration to read or search through past information. At the same time we also understand the feeling of being completely overwhelmed by so much information because we were beginners too at one point. In this article, we will show you how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.
Before You Ask, Understand this:
Before asking for WordPress support or help regarding a specific plugin or theme, you need to understand that WordPress is an open source community project. Everyone is welcome to create a plugin, theme, contribute patches to core, suggest/fix bugs, etc. WordPress is free, and so are most of the themes and plugins that you use with it.
Individual plugin developers or theme authors are NOT always part of the official WordPress core team. Often the plugins they release for FREE are something they created for their own use in their free time, or something they created for a client. So unless they are selling the plugin or theme, you should assume that they are not making any money from it.
Most of these developers make their income from doing freelance client projects. Even though most developers are ok with helping with a few small things, each will have a different point in which they will want to be paid for the extra support. The more respectful and thankful that you are, the more inclined they will be to help you out for little or no charge.
Remember you pay NOTHING to use the plugin, so the least you can pay the developer is some respect
How to Properly Ask the Right Question?
The best place to ask for support for free plugins is in the support forums. You can find the support forum by going to the specific plugin’s page on the repository and clicking the support tab (this ensures that your support question is tagged for the plugin author)
Before you create the support thread, make sure that you have gone through the FAQ page. It’s also best to google the problem to see if someone else have answered it already.
In your support thread, you want to be respectful, clear and concise. A wrong example would be:
Hey dude, there’s a problem with your @#$1 plugin. Don’t create *&%^ if it doesn’t work. I wasted X hours on this stupid thing. Care to help?
If you write in an accusatory tone like that, you will come off as an A$$. Chances are that you will never receive any help either.
You should be mindful that you are asking an expert to take their valuable time and answer your question for free. One of the best way to show respect is list everything you have done up to that point to solve the problem. This shows that you are not some troll who just want others to do their work for free of charge. The right way of asking the question would be:
Thank you for creating your awesome XYZ plugin. For some reason, I’m can’t get it to work right, and I would really appreciate if you can help me with it.
I’m using WordPress version:
Plugin Name version:
I did this:
I expected the plugin to do this:
Instead it did this: (Include any error messages here)
My site is hosted with:
I have tried the following solutions:
I tried the issue in the following browsers:
Thank you for taking your time out to help. I really appreciate it
In a support message like above, you are addressing all the possible things a developer would need to answer your question. Occasionally, they might ask to see your site’s URL and/or the list of plugins you have activated.
After you have created the support thread, you can always nicely reach out to the developer on twitter which can help your chances of getting a faster response. An example tweet would be:
Hey @twitterhandle, I am having an issue with Plugin name. Would appreciate if you can help: Link to support thread.
Note: Allow for at least 24 hours to get a response. You don’t know what timezone the author is in, and what their current work schedule looks like.
Whatever you do, please DO NOT call them even if you see their number listed on their website. You also don’t want to SPAM all of their communication channels. For example, a support thread + tweet is good enough.
Support thread + Tweet + Facebook Message + Email + Phone call = ANNOYING
Commercial Plugin + Themes
When using a commercial plugin or theme, it is always recommended to use the appropriate channels of support. Most commercial products like Gravity Forms, StudioPress, Sucuri, etc have designated support areas. Asking questions anywhere aside from their designated support areas would not get you much help.
For example: when a user comes to us asking for commercial theme support, we simply ask them to ask on the appropriate channels.
We do this not to be rude, but to do the right thing. When you purchase a commercial plugin or theme, it comes with support. If you downloaded a commercial plugin/theme without paying for it through a torrent site, then you don’t deserve our support.
Lastly, just because you paid for the product doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be nice. You should always be nice to the support personal. Most of those guys/girls really enjoy helping others, but you can really ruin their day by using negative words. So please be nice.
Nobody likes to help those who don’t want to help themselves. You should always try to troubleshoot the common WordPress problems. The best way to test plugin conflicts is by deactivating all WordPress plugins and activate them one by one. You can also fix other errors that might occur such as:
- WordPress white screen of death
- Internal server error
- Error establishing database connection
- Memory exhausted error
- Empty your Cache if you are using a caching plugin
- Do a Hard Refresh (Ctrl + F5)
You always want to be nice when asking for WordPress support. Once you receive satisfactory resolution, we highly recommend that you spread the kind words about that developer. You can also buy them a beer or coffee by donating a few bucks. Lastly, if you have any WordPress questions feel free to ask us using our our twitter, or our contact form.