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WordPress PHP Error Log Starter Guide: All What You Should Know About It

The WP Umbrella Team

If you are trying to understand how the WordPress error logs works, you are in the right place! In this guide, we will cover all what you should know about it.

Monitoring PHP errors is something you need to do if you want to keep your WordPress website secure, healthy, and fast. If not fixed, PHP errors & warnings can indeed reduce your website performance and increase your website vulnerability to downtime and hackers.

The WordPress PHP Error Log can be your best friend in diagnosing various site issues. In this guide, we’re going deep into the subject — from how to enable PHP error logs to fixing the issues that arise.

We will also explain you how to implement a comprehensive PHP monitoring solution so you can be alerted when an error happens on your website.

Let’s get started!

TL;DR About The WordPress PHP Error Logs

  • A WordPress website can be affected by a variety of errors, including permission issues and PHP issues. If you don’t have any technical experience, it can be challenging to diagnose these problems on your site.
  • You can turn your wp-config.php file into a debugging tool by adding a few lines of code. Once you’ve identified the problem, it will be easier to troubleshoot it.
  • To activate WordPress error logs add define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true ); above “Stop editing! Happy blogging”. in wp-config.php file.

What Are PHP Errors in WordPress?

PHP is the coding language WordPress is built on. When a user requests a web page that contains PHP code, the code is processed by the PHP module (Apache or Nginx) installed on the server.

Processing a request can generate PHP errors. This means that something is wrong with the PHP code. The error can be as simple as a missing semicolon, or as complex as calling an incorrect variable.

PHP errors can occur due to various factors

PHP errors can occur due to various factors, including your theme, plugins, database, or even server configuration. Overloading your WordPress website with plugins can increase the likelihood of these errors.

Note that, the most PHP errors that you can see on your WordPress site are usually warnings and notices. This being said, some of them (fatal errors, internal server error, etc) can stop your website from loading.

Here are The most frequent PHP errors you can encounter.

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What Is a WordPress Error Log?

Indeed, even if your website seems to be working well, it may in fact be suffering from undetected PHP errors that should be fixed ASAP. The WordPress error log gives you the list of these errors.

PHP errors monitoring

Error logs provide you with information such as the error type, the error line, and the file concerned. You should use WordPress error logs to troubleshoot arising issues or understand why they’ve happened.

If the errors are coming from a third-party plugin, you should open a ticket on WordPress support forum.

Using WordPress Error Logs to Troubleshoot PHP Errors

If my explanation still looks blurry and if you don’t see the point of enabling the debugging mode for WordPress, here are some situations where you might really need it:

  • When your WordPress website doesn’t load (blank page);
  • When your web browser displays a warning with a PHP error code;
  • If a plugin isn’t working properly;
  • In case of downtime;
  • If your website is really slow;
  • If you want to improve your website performance & security;

How to Check PHP Error Logs in WordPress?

There are two ways to access PHP error logs in WordPress: manually or with a monitoring plugin. I’d personally advise to use WP Umbrella to monitor your PHP errors. It’s clearly the easiest way.

Monitor WordPress PHP errors logs with a plugin

Step 1: Get WP Umbrella Monitoring Plugin

WP Umbrella is a all-in-one solution to manage WordPress sites. It embed a PHP errors monitoring feature for WordPress.

WP Umbrella is interesting because it also checks your website’s uptime rate and provide you with automatic backups, security monitoring and much more..!

You need to install the plugin, create an account and connect your API key.

wp umbrella php errors monitoring plugin

Step 2: Go to the PHP errors monitoring tab

Then, go to WP Umbrella’s application >> PHP issues.

From here, click on the “view error” to get all the information related to the PHP errors such as:

Error details WordPress
  • The type of PHP error
  • The plugin or theme responsible
  • The environnement information (PHP version, plugin version, WordPress version)
  • When the PHP error happened

That’s it, easy peasy!

Enable WordPress PHP Error Logs Manually

If you don’t want to use an error log plugin like WP Umbrella or Query monitor, you can enable WordPress error log and retrieve PHP errors from here.

Step 1: Access the wp-config.php file

The wp-config.php file contains important WordPress settings like how to connect to your database. This is the file you need to edit in order to enable WordPress debugging mode and access WordPress error logs where you will find your PHP errors.


First, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client. Then, download the wp-config.php file to make a backup of it. Then you can start editing it with your favorite HTML editor.

Step 2: Edit the wp-config.php file

define wp_debug false

Just before the line “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging” add this:

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true ); define( ‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true );

Or write true instead of false if the WP_debug function is already defined.

WP_DEBUG will allow you to enable debug mode and WP_DEBUG_LOG will allow you to send all errors to a file, so PHP errors are not displayed on your pages.

Save your changes and upload the file back to your website. The errors will then get logged to the debug.file within your wp-content folder. If you don’t see the file, you can create one.

This is where your WordPress error logs will be stored.

Useful Stats and Data

According to a survey by WPBeginner, over 63% of WordPress users have encountered some form of PHP error. Also, WordPress forums are filled with approximately 23% of threads related to PHP error issues in WordPress.

How to Fix The PHP Errors That You Found in The Error Log?

Regrettably, there’s no magic and universal approach to fixing issues that you discovered in your WordPress website’s error log. Every PHP error will need to be troubleshot on its own.

Here’s a breakdown of steps you can take:

  1. Understand the Error: Go through your WordPress PHP error log to grasp the issue fully.
  2. Plugin and Theme Issues: If the problem is caused by a plugin or theme, it’s best to reach out to the respective support team.
  3. Consult PHP Documentation: For complex issues, you might need to delve into official PHP documentation.
  4. Rollback Updates: Sometimes updates can cause issues. Rolling back to a previous version can sometimes fix the issue while you await an official patch.

We hope this article helped you to understand the WordPress error logs so you can troubleshoot your PHP issues!

Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress PHP Error Log

What is the location of the WordPress PHP error log?

The WordPress PHP error log is usually located within the wp-content folder.

How can I monitor PHP errors in WordPress?

You can use plugins like WP Umbrella or manually edit your wp-config.php file.

How do I fix PHP errors on my WordPress site?

Identify the issue using the PHP error log and then either disable the problematic plugin/theme or consult technical support on WordPress.org