Fixing Plugin Conflicts

With literally hundreds of thousands of plugins available for WordPress; it is sometimes necessary to troubleshoot if a plugin conflict arises. A plugin conflict can arise from a variety of reasons; but the most common seems to be poorly coded plugins.

Determining if a Conflict Exists

WordPress is full of features and functionality. Uploading media, creating content, adding plugins and themes – are all part of the process. When more and more plugins are added; the chances of a conflict arising increases. Signs come in many different forms; sometimes a page may not load; other times the media uploader may not open.

If any part of WordPress is not functioning properly; 95% of the time it is because of a plugin conflict.

Okay, I have a Conflict

Don’t panic. The process is actually fairly easy. The most elusive part is actually finding the faulty plugin.

Let’s begin:

Manually Clear Browser Cache

Sometimes, simply clearing the browser cache is enough to resolve a conflict. This can occur right after plugin updates; where some old code is still being served from a cached page. This Wiki Page lists the process of manually clearing the browser cache on all major browsers.

If this does not resolve the conflict; please continue to the next step.

Deactivate All Plugins

Yes, all plugins need to be deactivated. When a plugin is inactive, it’s code does not get executed. So if the conflict lies inside a faulty plugin, deactivating all plugins will prevent the faulty code from running.

If this resolves the original issue; then please skip the next step regarding themes.

If after deactivating all plugins the issue remains, then we next need to check the theme.

Deactivate Current Theme

When all plugins have been deactivated, and the issue remains; then we will want to switch our theme to the default 2014 theme included with WordPress. The WordPress 2014 theme is proven to work with WordPress; and can be pretty much guaranteed to be conflict free.

Okay; so if all plugins are deactivated and the issue is persisting – and when you switch to the 2014 theme, the issue goes away – then the conflict lies in your theme. It is recommended to create a support ticket with the theme author, and bring the conflict to their attention. In this scenario, you can now go back and re-activate the plugins, since they do not contribute to the conflict.

Theme is Good; Back to Plugins

Now, we still have all plugins deactivated; we know the theme is good; and we know the conflict/issue goes away when we deactivate all of our plugins. The next step is to begin re-activating plugins (one at a time) going back to see if the conflict pops up again. Eventually, we will activate a certain plugin which will cause the issue to re-appear. Now, we have identified which plugin is causing the problem.

Once we identify the faulty plugin, we will want to contact the plugin developer and inform them of the conflict.

Digging Deeper

If you are feeling really savvy, we can dig further into finding the specific cause of the conflict. Our browser contains a very handy tool called the “Inspector”. We can use this inspector to view our source code and watch for errors. WordPress has written a very handy tutorial on Debugging in WordPress in their codex. Additionally, the Using your Browser to Diagnose Javascript Errors page is very helpful.

Reporting Conflicts

It is very helpful when a user reports a potential conflict to a plugin developer. I know not all plugin/theme developers are extremely responsive; but those of us who are, really appreciate opportunities to fix our code and make it more stable across multiple platforms.

Remember to be polite; provide as much information as possible (theme and version, WordPress version, related plugins); and provide a set of quick, concise steps to replicate the issue. This will help the author quickly replicate the issue, and solve it from their end.

If All Else Fails

If you have attempted everything in this article: 1. Deactivated ALL plugins. 2. Switched to default 2014 theme. 3. Manually cleared browser cache. And you are still experiencing an issue; then the problem may lie with a server configuration or htaccess problem. In this case, I would suggest keeping all plugins deactivated, and contacting your hosting provider. They may be able to provide additional information.

Josh Lobe has written 54 articles

Josh Lobe is the sole developer of WP Edit and WP Edit Pro. A father of two; a husband to a beautiful wife; and a small home in the suburbs... he primarily enjoys coding in WordPress and designing websites.

2 thoughts on “Fixing Plugin Conflicts

  1. Nick says:

    We’re a little confused by this site. It doesn’t seem to mention what version of WP this product is compatible with. We are looking at Pro because the regular version is no longer compatible with WP 3.9.1. Although this issue has been reported in the forums some time ago it doesn’t appear that anyone has addressed it or even reponded.

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