Corrupt WordPress Plug-Ins

Here’s my latest technical adventure.

Yesterday, I went to work on my Artwork Database and noticed some of the WordPress plug-ins needed updating. So I clicked to update them like I normally do. I am not sure what happened but an error message appeared on every page from my menu. The only thing I could click on that didn’t give me the error message was the view of my store, so I knew it all had to be there someplace but couldn’t access anything.

I felt a bit deflated as this was another issue I needed to sort out. But in the past, I knew that this kind of situation tends to stick with me until I find a solution.

Here’s what I discovered and a bit of my process just encase it happens to you.

  1. I started with replacing my WordPress files back to the original by uploading them (the files I downloaded from wordpress.org right at the beginning of configuring my database) from my computer to my FTP. In the past, this has worked for me whenever I have had issues updating anything from my site. It doesn’t get rid of the new content that I have built but it replaces the structure and tends to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, this didn’t not solve my issue, so off to google I went.

I learned that WordPress databases (or websites) can become corrupt. There are a few ways to restore them back to working. This link (https://hosting.review/tips-tools/repair-wordpress-database/) has more detail on how to actually do it but I wanted to give you a basic overview of what I tried. Your host is going to be different then mine, so if I give you the principles instead of step-by-step instructions, you will know what to look for.

2.  You can restore to a back-up version via your hosting account.

  • through the “Database” heading you will find the “phpMyAdmin” – find your database from the list & check all to be repaired
  • There also is a “restore database” button in the settings of your database. This has some more options for you to try with step-by-steps specific to your host. This is also where you can download a backup of your site.

These didn’t solve my issue even though all my files were “repaired”. But I knew I could call them if I could not fix it. There was some more things I wanted to try first.

3. You can try to use the WordPress Repair ‘thing’ by navigating to http://sitenamegoeshere.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php, replacing ‘sitenamegoeshere.com’ with your site’s URL. You may need to add a line in your ‘wp-config.php’ file to enable the repairer. You can do this by downloading that file from your FTP and editing in your text editor. 

The link (https://hosting.review/tips-tools/repair-wordpress-database/) walks you through it but the code is outdated. The updated code can be found if you just go directly to http://sitenamegoeshere.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php .

Again, this said all my files were repaired but my issue persisted. So I kept digging.

I knew that the issue started when I updated my plug-ins. I also knew that my WordPress structure files should all be fine since they were repaired multiple times. It had to be something with my plug-ins so this is what I focused my research on.

I learned that plug-ins can corrupt your database. And more, specifically, the new Woocommerce plug-in update has been messing people’s sites around. Hmm… I thought… this was one of the the plug-ins I was updating. The problem was that I could not deactivate it since there was just an error message on my site.

So, I googled “how can you deactivate a plug-in using the FTP”. The answer was simple.

4. You rename the plug-in folder via the FTP. I found the Woocommerce plug-in folder under wp_admin > plugins. I added a “B” to the folder name and saved it. Low and behold, my site worked again!! The error messages had vanished. I was able to go in through my site like normal and re-activate the Woocommerce plug-in.

Phew! What a relief!! All my hard work over the years, was not lost. In fact, I gained a bit more confidence in my WordPress skills and my problem solving abilities. 

Bottom line, is don’t panic and never give up. There is a solution to ever problem, you just need to look for it. 

Start by googling the error message given (copying and pasting to google) to understand more about what exactly is going on. Then try and keep trying new solutions until one actually sticks.