Enable Debugging to Display Errors in WordPress

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WordPress has a specific debug system and standardized code across the core, plugins, and themes to simplify the process of identifying PHP errors. Enabling this debug mode will cause all PHP errors and warnings to display, so you can find out what’s wrong with your site.

WP_DEBUG is a PHP constant (a permanent global variable) that can be used to trigger the “debug” mode throughout WordPress. It is assumed to be false by default and is usually set to true in the wp-config.php file on development copies of WordPress.


Required: You’ll need the following to complete the steps:

  • An FTP client to access your site files. There are many third-party FTP clients available, we recommend the Filezilla FTP client.
  • A text editor to make the necessary changes to the file. There are many third-party text editors available, we recommend Notepad++. Do not edit with a word processing application like Microsoft Word.

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  1. Connect with an FTP client or use a file manager to edit the wp-config.php for your website.
  2. Change WP_DEBUG from false to true:
    define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false );

    With debugging enabled:
    define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );

  3. On the following line, type:
    define( ‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true );

  4. Note: The true and false values in the example are not surrounded by apostrophes (‘) because they are boolean (true/false) values. If you set constants to ‘false’, they will be interpreted as true because the quotes make it a string rather than a boolean.

  5. Once you’re done making changes, save the file. If you’re using FileZilla, accept the overwrite warning in FileZilla to replace the file.
  6. Use your internet browser to visit your site, this will allow the debug log to save errors.
  7. Using the same editor, open the file that was created by step 5, the /wp-content/debug.log file.
  8. Review the contents of the debug log to identify the problem to a specific plugin, theme, or configuration option that might be causing a problem.

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Warning: It is not recommended to use WP_DEBUG or the other debug tools on live sites; they are meant for local testing and staging installs. When you’re done troubleshooting be sure to disable debug mode. Leaving debug mode enabled can create security issues for your site.

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