It happened to everyone, at least once: you're experiencing an issue on your WordPress website. A new plugin you installed that conflicts with your installation, a custom code your wrongly added in the functions.php file. Whatever could go wrong, it did.

At that moment, we find ourself sweating bullets because we think we've broken our website (or at least a part of it). Novices to development and WordPress may even freak out a little. Inevitably everyone does what's best in these case: they look for help.

WordPress has no phone number to call to get help, nor a plugin to install and fix everything instantly. As in many activities, there’s always a bad (poor) and a good (effective) way to do things. And asking for help with WordPress is no exception. Let's see how.

Think about what you did

Something went wrong, and you're experiencing some issues. Before looking for help immediately, you should try to understand what caused the problem and try to think backward to what you did right before it occurred. Most common problems can fall under one of these categories:

  • WordPress fail update
  • Plugin conflicts with other plugins or themes
  • Incorrect syntax or missing part of code

Trying to understand why WordPress isn't properly working sets you in the right perspective to share your current situation more precisely with other WordPress users. Knowledge is power, and when things go wrong is stronger than ever.

Start by deactivating plugins and setting up a default theme

If you recently installed/updated a plugin or a theme and began noticing some unexpected behavior, deactivate all your plugins and activate the latest WordPress default theme (like Twenty Fifteen) to "reset" your website. If the issue goes away, you know now it's caused either by your theme or one of your plugins. From this point on, start re-activating plugins one at a time and your theme eventually to see which one is causing the problem.

If the problem persists, it could be something about your database, your hosting provider or some customizations gone wrong in your WordPress installation.

Ask for WordPress help on forums

When things don't go as we wanted, mostly if they affect our online business, we need to fix them in the shortest time we're able to. The very first place you should start looking for tips on how to address your current issue are WordPress forums. You can quickly browse through them even via Google by using the "site:wordpress.org/support" operator + your keyword.

As for any other online communities, WordPress forums have guidelines to follow:

  • Research to see if your issues have already been addressed or posted by someone else
  • Choose a good and clear thread title like "Database error creating a new post"
  • Provide as many as detailed, relevant information and links you can to others. If you need to post code, keep it enclosed in backticks (`) or publish it on third party services (like Github) and post it as a link in your post
  • Be always polite: don't use capitalization or any expressions like "Please it's urgent"

Long story short: you should be able to provide clear and relevant details.

There are no stupid questions yet there are inappropriate and ineffective ways to ask for help Click To Tweet

Google your issues effectively

Sometimes you don't know what happened, and you get a wrong message you never saw before. Whether it's because it's hard to describe or it's not enough clear yet, you should get to know more about your issues through online searches. See this example:

Fatal error: main(): Failed opening required
'/home/atlantis/public_html/wp-includes/
functions.php' (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:
/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/stargateatlantis/
public_html/wp-settings.php on line 67

Even if these strings sounds likes Elvish to you, you still can exploit some of the terms in it and come up with a relevant Google query like “Failed opening required functions.php wp-setting.php”.

Sometimes you might want to add "WordPress" at the beginning/end of your query if you're not satisfied with the outcome of your search.

How to ask for help for WordPress plugins

One of the greatest thing about WordPress is the abundance of plugins, but sometimes they're not compatible with our current WordPress set up. So if you already know something has occurred because of a plugin, you should head over its official page on the WordPress.org repository and look for the "FAQ" tab to quickly see if your issue is listed. If not, click on the "Support" tab to enter the plugin's discussion forum and talk directly with the plugin's author.

Try to understand that free plugins can be side projects, experiments or just a less powerful version of a premium (paid) plugin. This means developers will likely help you by answering your questions, but they'd hardly be thinking of you first thing in the morning. Just follow the general guidelines WordPress requests and be cool, or just opt for the premium version of that plugin.

Talk with WordPress experts via chat

In order to manage internal communications and contributors, until recently WordPress has relied on IRC (a chat protocol), where they set up several channels based on the topic discussed, one of which is #wordpress:

the [IRC Live Chat #wordpress](https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_IRC_Live_Help) channel is a WordPress chat room for anyone to visit should they run into a problem or want to talk about WordPress. Not all questions may be answered, if the traffic volume is high, so do repeat a question after about 10 minutes if it has not been answered.

The #wordpress support channel will continue to be active on IRC (server: chat.freenode.net Channel), while Slack will be used for those contributing to the WordPress project (code, design, documentation, etc.)

Look at WordPress TV tutorials (for beginners)

One of the most forgotten places to look for help is the how-to's section at WordPress TV. In here, you can find tutorials about several WordPress features that would likely help you better understand how things work. They cover basic knowledge so beginners would benefit the most from them.

Active groups for WordPress help

While WordPress provides its own channels to go and look for help, there are plenty of pretty active and useful others you might want to have a look:

Q&A WordPress websites

Linkedin WordPress groups

Facebook WordPress groups

All these groups might look scary at first, mostly because you'd feel you're not experienced enough, or you might receive harsh answers. But these are exceptions that happen all the times online. So don’t let them prevent you from asking for help and keep remembering: there are no stupid questions yet there are inappropriate and ineffective ways to ask for help.

When you don't have time to wait

Sometimes getting helped with specific issues takes time and you don't have any. Or maybe, it just the case you don't actually know which specific issues your website is experiencing and need them just to be fixed.

In these cases, just post on Codeable what's troubling you and get a consultation from WordPress experts almost immediately (1 hour top).

How to get better with WordPress help

The best way to get the most out of any help request is to be aware of what your current situation is and provide others with all the detailed information you have. You just don’t shoot some keywords on forums and wait for people to bring up the answer you need. You need to do your part as well.

Try to be a self-aware WordPress user, one who did almost everything he could to better understand the issues he's experiencing before posting his help request. Funny thing is, the more you ask for help in the right way, the more you’ll realize you’re improving your WordPress knowledge too.

Need help with your WordPress website or project? Post a project on Codeable and get the best experts worldwide take care of it!

Your Gutenberg GuideQuality: The Codeable Differene

  • Great Advice given here… I will definitely share.

  • chrismccoy

    very nice article, glad you mentioned irc ;)

  • great article – a service area that may be worth mentioning as well is the maintenance and support agencies. We provide one on one WordPress support to anyone who needs it and can help people get out of sticky situations as a one time or ongoing basis through maintenance plans. Examples are available at http://www.totalwpsupport.com... awesome!

  • Perfect!

  • If you’re nerdy and you know it, get involved in WordPress Stack Exchange. It’s incredibly rewarding to solve a problem that you had, then see your solution voted up year after year. WordPress.org forums are absolutely horrible for support, because the threads you need answers from are always “closed” even though nobody resolved the problem, and there’s no way to downvote the really bad advice which WordPress.org is notorious for, due to all the amateur bloggers there with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. If you need WordPress assistance, I specialize in design modifications but I can build or fix just about anything WordPress-related, from the server level up. Tomakefast.com for details. I don’t outsource the work and I’m told my rate is cheap ;-)

    • Yes, bringing some much negativity would actually help the official WordPress forums! So often the response is either:

      * display: none !important;
      * Install plugin
      * Set your directory permissions to 777

  • There are a lot of resources I wasn’t aware of here. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • Happy to hear that Rachel :)

  • Crag

    Tl;dr: cut your losses and use a CMS instead.

  • Excellent article guys. I just wrote an answer to Quora question on WordPress development/hosting and the Number One (1) issue that is most often overlooked by users is the Maintenance and Updates to the site once it’s live. This would be a great add. https://www.quora.com/What-crucial-things-could-a-non-developer-miss-or-do-wrong-in-creating-and-hosting-a-WordPress-site/answer/Thomas-Townsend-1

  • JackS

    Excellent article… This is great advice if wordpress users have problem on their site. I also wrote tutorial about why your wordpress site has been hacked, http://windowswebhostingreview.com/oh-dam-my-wordpress-site-has-been-hacked/

  • Savin

    I want to implement a wordpress membership website with 4types of members Basic,individual,hospital,clinic each having different membership fields.Some of the fields are common.Payment through offline only.refernce site is http://www.dqg.org/.

    Which membership plugin suitable for me

    • Hey Savin,

      I’d suggest you have a look at those covered by Chris Lema in 2015, where you can find 30 membership plugins reviewed with many useful info, ranging from payments, ease of use, e-Commerce support, etc.

      Here’s the main post to start from: http://chrislema.com/best-wordpress-membership-plugin-2015/

      Hope it helps!

      Cheers,
      Matteo

  • aditya deshpande

    Hii.
    I actually want to build a website where my members could post there pics and other could like it. But i dont know much about wordpress can you plz help me?

  • I guess this is the best way to get support.

  • I want to create list type for posts in category pages http://www.bustimings.in/
    let me know the steps

  • Alok Negi

    Very helpful guide. Really I was searching for the support. http://www.love-quotes.co.in/best-friendship-wishes-for-friendship-day-2016/

  • Always good to get reliable help. Cringe when I see advise such as turn debug mode off to fix the error.. The resources you’ve highlighted are perfect when looking for help. I think it would also be worth mentioning some WordPress support services, where people can get 1on1 help, for when they need more ongoing and immediate support. For anyone in the UK https://newtlabs.co.uk is ideal for this kind of thing and there are many more companies like this accross the world.

  • Kelly Lloyd

    Great post.. and definetly agree a bit of digging needs to be done first. I use http://www.workingwithwordpress.com

  • Selim Aydin

    Thank you for the great and important article! Getting professional support when you’re in trouble is priceless, especially if your income depends on your site!!
    I’ve had very good experiences with the support offered by https://www.wp-er.com !
    The best part about them is that you pay on a donation basis, kind of their idea of giving back to the community ?

  • Иван Мандински

    Great article !
    I have experience with WordPress Help Center – https://wordpress-help.net/. They fixed my WordPress issue for affordable price

  • Leandre Valdez

    I will build any type of website for low cost. If you are thinking about start your business with online platform so I am the right choice.
    I will manage the website fully and you will feel proud when you work with me. You can check my skill here fiverr.com/s2/500cb08e15

  • Jignesh

    I have below question for import products extra info in woocommerce
    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/52983354/how-can-i-import-woocommerce-productss-data-using-php-custom-script-see-attach
    Please help me out.