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How to Easily Enable WordPress Debug Mode to Fix Site Errors

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Debugging allows you to locate and understand the errors in software code.

Working on your WordPress website, you may encounter different errors caused by a theme, plugin, or custom code.

By turning on debug mode in WordPress, you’ll be able to see the errors, locate their source, and find a fix for them.

In this article, we will show you how to enable WordPress debug mode to fix site errors easily.

How to easily enable WordPress debug mode to fix site error

Why Enable WordPress Debug Mode?

Sometimes, a WordPress plugin, theme, or custom code like PHP or JavaScript can cause conflicts on your website.

This can lead to different errors, and you may notice that your site isn’t functioning properly.

Now, you can always deactivate all plugins to see which one is causing the error. Similarly, you can switch to a different WordPress theme or remove the custom code to find the root cause of the error.

However, all of this takes a lot of time as you’ll have to rule out each possibility one by one.

Luckily, WordPress comes with a built-in debug mode. However, it is turned off by default, and you will need to manually turn it on.

Once enabled, the debug mode shows a log of all the errors and warnings on your website.

This way, you can pinpoint issues on your WordPress site and fix them quickly. It even uncovers errors that might not be visible otherwise.

Let’s look at how to enable the WordPress debug mode. We will show you 2 methods. You can use a WordPress plugin or manually view the debug mode:

Method 1: Enable WordPress Debug Mode Using a Plugin

An easy way of enabling debug mode is by using the WP Debugging plugin. This method is recommended for beginners and those who aren’t comfortable working with website files.

WP Debugging is a free WordPress plugin that works out of the box. By using this plugin, you won’t have to edit your website files manually.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the WP Debugging plugin. For more details, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can go to Tools » WP Debugging from your WordPress dashboard. Next, ensure that the ‘Set WP_DEBUG to true’ option is enabled.

View the wp debugging settings

Afterward, you’ll see a ‘Debug Quick Look’ option added to your admin bar at the top.

Go ahead, hover over it, and then click the ‘View File’ option.

Click view file in debug mode

This will open the log file with all the errors on your website. You can then find out what’s causing issues on your site and quickly fix them.

When you’re done debugging your website, don’t forget to disable the plugin.

Method 2: Manually Enable WordPress Debug Mode

The second method you can use to enable WordPress debug mode is editing the wp-config.php files. This method is more advanced and suitable for users who are comfortable editing website files.

We recommend creating a backup of your website before editing files. This way, you can easily restore your website if anything goes wrong.

To access the website files, you’ll need an FTP client for Mac or Windows.

For this tutorial, we’ll use the FileZilla FTP client. If you need help, then please see our guide on what FTP is and how to use it.

Once you’re logged in, simply go to the public_html folder. Here, you’ll find the ‘wp-config.php’ file.

Edit wp-config file using FTP

Alternatively, many WordPress hosting services also let you manage your site files using the cPanel.

For instance, in Bluehost, login to your hosting account and click on the ‘Settings’ button below your website.

Bluehost site settings

This will open your site’s settings page.

Scroll down a little, and click on the ‘File Manager’ button.

Bluehost File Manager button

This will launch the File Manager app in a new browser tab.

From here, simply access the public_html folder from the panel on your left.

After that, scroll down to the ‘wp-config.php’ file.

Download the wp-config file

Next, you can right-click the file and download it on your computer. It’s smart to make a copy of the file as a backup, just in case anything goes wrong.

After that, open the file using any software or tool like Notepad or Sublime Text.

Once the file is open, scroll down to the ‘That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing‘ line and add the following code before that:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true);
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true); 

Don’t forget to save the file before closing it.

Save the wp-config file

Next, you’ll need to upload the wp-config.php file back to your website server using the FTP client.

For more details, please see our guide on how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

To view the error logs for your website, you’ll need to view your website files and navigate to the public_html/wp-content/debug.log path. Simply download the file and view it in a notepad software to see issues on your site.

View the debug log file

Once you’re done debugging your site, you can disable the debug mode.

To turn off debug mode in WordPress repeat these steps and then remove the code you added to the wp-config.php file or edit the following code to have a false value:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false);

We hope this article helped you learn how to enable WordPress debug mode to fix site errors. You can also see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide for beginners and our expert tips on how to improve WordPress security.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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3 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
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  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    Debug mode together with the debug log helped me many times to save seemingly intractable problems. Anyone who works with WordPress should know this article, as logs can sometimes save hours of troubleshooting.

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