Question from Bobby: I need some fast help Rick. I updated a plugin on my WordPress blog and now none of the pages will load!
When I visit the site all I get is a blank page with the words “500 Internal Server Error” on it. I can’t even log in to the dashboard to disable the bad plugin!
Do you know of any other way to clear this error message and get my blog back up? It’s been down for two whole days already!
Please help me ASAP if you don’t mind!!
Rick’s answer: Hi Bobby. Bad plugin updates are one of the top reasons for WordPress blogs going belly up.
Luckily, they are usually very easy to fix. What you need to do is delete the plugin from the /wp-content/plugins/ directory on your web server.
Just use any “FTP” program or the “File Manager” utility in your web host’s Control Panel to navigate to the plugins directory and delete the offending plugin (I recommend removing the entire sub-directory containing the plugin in question).
Important: DO NOT delete the entire /plugins/ directory! Just delete the sub-directory containing the plugin that’s causing the error.
For example, if the plugin in question were named Awesome Plugin you would delete the /awesome-plugin/ sub-directory.
Once you have deleted the bad plugin, test your blog to see if it loads correctly. If so, you can try re-installing the plugin that caused the error.
If the same plugin causes the error again, simply delete it once again and search for another plugin that performs the same function by loading the WordPress Dashboard and clicking Plugins>Add New.
By the way, issues like this are one of the many reasons why I recommend always having a current backup of your entire blog on hand. And when I say “entire blog”, I mean everything – the WordPress core files, the database, the themes and all the plugins.
As it was with this case, issues caused by bad plugins can usually be easily resolved by simply deleting the plugin via FTP. But unfortunately, there are times when that doesn’t work. In those rare instances it’s often faster and easier to simply reinstall the blog from a backup than to troubleshoot the issue.
Update from Bobby: A thousand thanks Rick! I used FileZilla to delete the bad plugin and now everything works fine. I won’t even bother replacing it because all it does is display a tag cloud, which I don’t really need. Thanks again!
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