Just today a client’s brand-new website broke.
He hadn’t even finished it yet. We were working on the final changes but when I logged in this morning I noticed that the front page wasn't working.
Just like that the site was all jacked up. It was still there but it wasn't functioning properly.
Since he is my client, it was my issue to resolve and I wanted to share my maintenance process. In a situation like this, I wind up going through a series of "If / Then" statements with myself.
Question 1: Did someone change something?
First, I emailed him to ask if HE had made any changes to his site – what and when. He promptly responded that he had not.
Question 2: What was controlling the front page of this particular site?
Next, I logged into WordPress and check the general settings. I was specifically checking the "Reading" section to see what was selected for the front-page display.
(This particular client uses a WordPress plugin created by ClickFunnels. This ClickFunnels plugin is controlling his front page.)
When I got to the "Reading" section of his site, I immediately noticed that the ClickFunnels “notification of override” was not showing up.
Question 3: Was there a plugin update?
I hopped over to plugins in the WordPress dashboard and there were not any updates.
Because there were not any updates, I deactivated the plugin. Then I cleared the browser’s cache and reactivated the plugin.
Believe it or not, this often works. Sometimes things just hiccup and the plugin needs a hug. Sadly, that didn't work this time.
Then: Fiddle with the plugin settings
Yep, there comes a point where you just have to pull the levers and hit the switches to see if you notice anything wrong. So I did that for a while and often this works. Not this time.
Stop and think
So this is the moment when I have to stop and think through what I am seeing. Then it dawned on me that his site was set to have automatic WordPress updates and there had been an update that happened the night before.
Then: Check Plugin Site
The next thing I did was go check with the plugin website and see if they had a latest blog post about this issue in their support forum. No dice. I headed over to the developer’s website Twitter and Facebook pages. Nope. Finally, I sent in a support request to alert them to the problem.
I logged into his SiteGround hosting account and rolled back the WordPress update. Immediately his site was functioning again.
There had been a WordPress update to 4.6 and his site did an auto-update. This conflicted with one of his plugins and caused an issue. It took some time for me to troubleshoot the issue and realize that it was a plugin conflict.
While it took about 3 hours to go through all of the steps to find a resolution, we never worried much because we knew that his site was being backed up daily.
All is well. Now we wait for the plugin to be updated with a fix.
Would you like this kind of help on your site? That is what I do: WordPress Monthly Maintenance.