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Question from Cara G: I installed a new plugin on my WordPress blog and now my pages won’t load at all.
All I get is a white screen with an error message.
To make matters worse I can’t even get to the control panel to delete the plugin.
I’m in a panic here. How can I fix this?
Rick’s answer: This is a fairly common issue, Cara. Unfortunately, it happens a lot. And as you have discovered, when it happens it can cause one to panic.
Luckily, there’s a very easy fix for this issue that almost always works. All you have to do is use an FTP utility to delete the problem plugin from your WordPress installation. Here’s how:
1 – If you don’t already have an FTP utility on your computer, you’ll need to download one. If you need a recommendation, I really like FileZilla because it works well and it’s free.
You didn’t mention whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac but there’s a version of FileZilla available for both of them (and Linux too for that matter).
2 – Using your WordPress login information and the FTP details provided by your web hosting company, configure your FTP utility to log into your hosting account.
3 – Once you’re logged in, use the FTP utility to navigate to the /wp-content/plugins folder.
Note: On most servers this folder will be located under /public_html. If it isn’t on your server simply check around until you find the actual location of the /wp-content/plugins folder.
4 – Once you’re in the plugins folder, delete the folder containing the problem plugin.
Note: You should be able to quickly recognize the folder you need to delete because the folder’s name will likely contain some variation of the plugin’s name.
5 – Now try to load your blog into your web browser. If that one plugin was the only source of the problem your blog should now load just fine.
Note: If for some reason you’re unable to access your blog’s files via FTP you can always use the File Manager tool provided by your blog’s web host to remove the problematic plugin
And now there’s one more thing I might add: Most WordPress issues are easily fixed, but some of them aren’t. That’s one of the many reasons why I strongly recommend that you make regular backups of your entire WordPress installation.
A full backup will include your blog’s WordPress core files, your WordPress database, your blog’s theme and all your installed plugins.
You can make these backups manually, but it’s far easier to do it using a good backup plugin. There are several to choose from but the one I use and recommend is VaultPress.
While VaultPress isn’t free, they are very affordable. I truly believe VaultPress to to be the best WordPress backup solution by far because it backs up ALL of your blog’s files automatically. And if you ever need to restore your blog from a backup, all it takes is a few quick mouse clicks!
That’s all there is to it, Cara. Good luck!
Update from Cara: Your instructions worked, Rick. Thanks a bunch! I plan to look into VaultPress later on today. Thanks again for your help!
Bonus tip: This post explains how to protect your WordPress blog from hackers.
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