WordPress Error Logs Starter Guide – 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 can indeed reduce your website performance and increase your website vulnerability to downtime and hackers.

error logs wordpress

That’s why, in this article, I’ll explain to you what you need to know about the PHP error logs in WordPress: from how to turn on WordPress Error Log to how to implement a reliable PHP monitoring solution.

Let’s get started with two definitions! If you are in a hurry, you can directly go to the PHP monitoring plugins section.

What are PHP Errors?

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 be triggered by theme, plugins, database, or server configuration. That’s one of the reasons why you should not install too many plugins on your WordPress websites.

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 some of the PHP errors you can encounter.

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 error logs

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.

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 Access PHP Error Logs in WordPress?

There are two ways to access PHP error logs in WordPress: manually or with a monitoring plugin. If you don’t like to get your hands dirty go to the next section.

Editing the configuration file for Debugging

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.

wp-config.php

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

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.log file within your wp-content folder. If you don’t see the file, you can create one.

Monitor your PHP error logs with a plugin

Step 1: Get WP Umbrella Monitoring Plugin

WP Umbrella is a PHP errors monitoring plugin for WordPress. This monitoring plugin also checks your website’s uptime rate and performance.

Step 2: Register in the plugin to get your API key.

WP Umbrella dashboard

Step 3: Go to the PHP errors monitoring tab

php issues

From here, click on the “view advanced” to get all the information relating to your WordPress website PHP errors.

PHP Error logs monitoring

That’s it, easy peasy!

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.

That’s why we have written several articles to help you to troubleshoot WordPress errors: