How to Find and Access WordPress Error Logs

Are you experiencing certain errors on your WordPress site? Since you’re reading these words, there’s a good chance you are. Also, are you wondering how to find and access WordPress error logs without much hassle or a particular set of skills? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In the text you’ll find below, we’ll show you how to easily find and access the aforementioned WordPress error logs. Also, we’ll give you a hint on how to fix them.

The definition of an error log

Let’s define the term we’ll be using a lot today. An error log is basically a list of error messages and the dates/times they’ve happened. Your website generates it so you have a clear picture of what’s going on. The moment you turn on the WP debug mode, these lists will be collected in a fine, just so you can take a look at them later on.

A 404 error on a laptop screen.
If you’ve noticed this happening on your website, it’s a signal that something’s wrong.

Why’s checking your error logs so important?

There’s a good reason why a website owner would want to do this. WordPress error logs will help you locate the source of issues such as slow website performance, frequent site crashes, and many more. For instance, if you’ve noticed some of your plugins not working correctly, the WP error log is to place to look for a solution. You’ll easily find a fix for those errors once you take a closer look at the logs.

A few examples of frequent WP errors

You might’ve seen these at some point in your life on the web:

  • The famous WordPress white screen of death.
  • Your standard PHP error(s).
  • The one-and-only invalid JSON error.
  • The falsely apologetic “Sorry, you’re not allowed to access this page” error.

These are pretty irritating! Luckily, they’re also fixable by using the strategy we’ll show you below. Let’s check out how to find and access your WP error logs in a few easy steps.

A frustrated WordPress user.
WordPress errors are known to cause headaches to your visitors.

First things first, enable the WP to debug mode

The first thing you’ll want to do is to enable the WP to debug mode since it’s not enabled by default. There are two ways you can do this: either you use a plugin or code.

Using a plugin

Your first option is the easier one. The only thing you have to do is to download the WP Debugging tool/plugin from this address. Once you activate it, the plugin will automatically enable the WP to debug mode. From that moment, you’ll be able to see error messages in a log.

Using code

Your other option is to activate the WP debug mode using code. The thing is: you’ll need to edit your wp-config.php file either by using an FTP client or through the file manager you’ll find in your WP hosting control panel.

Locate the file and right-click on it. Select the edit option. Once you’ve opened the file, find the part where the text goes like this: “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.” Just above that line, you’ll need to insert the following code:

  • 1 define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );
  • 2 define( ‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true );
A snapshot of a computer code.
You don’t have to be an IT engineer to activate the WP error log.

Next up: proceed to find and access WordPress error logs

Alright, so now that you’ve enabled the WP to debug mode, all future error messages will show up in your WP error logs. At first, your logs will be empty. The thing is: you’ll need to “recreate” the issue on your webpage, just so the error messages can end up in the log file. You can do this by paying a visit to the pages or posts that are known to cause errors.

Afterward, you’ll want to employ an FTP client and use it to connect to your website. Alternatively, you can use once again use the file manager option in the WP control panel.

Once you’re connected, go ahead and navigate to the wp-content folder. Inside it, you’ll need to locate a debug.log file. It contains every single WP error message, warning, or notice that’s been logged since you’ve activated the WP debug mode.

In order to take a look at the contents of the file, you’ll need to download, view or edit it. Pay close attention to the error messages themselves along with the time/date when they’ve occurred. This info will help you come up with a solution to the issues present on your website.

How to fix the issues you find

Okay, so now that you know how to access the WP error logs, you’ll easily find the error that was logged at the precise time the issue has shown up. Always keep in mind that your log will display the time in UTC, not your local zone.

There’s a good chance most WP users won’t get what the error messages really mean, but they’re a good place to start. Write down the error and the code that comes along with it. Afterward, type it into your search bar and look for a solution. Also, try checking certain websites that offer all kinds of solutions to WP issues.

How to disable the WP debug mode?

Once you’ve dealt with all the issues on your website, it’s best you disable the WP debug mode. By leaving it enabled, you’re risking potentially slowing down your website. Also, there’s a chance you might leak unwanted info (which is considered a security risk).

If you’ve enabled the WP to debug mode via the plugin, just go to Plugins/Installed Plugins and deactivate it.

On the other hand, if you’ve enabled the mode via code, edit the wp-config.php file the way you did previously. Simply change the WP_DEBUG and WP_DEBUG_LOG to “false”. That should do it!

Final words

Alright, so now you know how to find and access WordPress error logs. As you can see, it’s not something only an IT engineer can do. It’s fairly easy with the right kind of advice!

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