As you continue to find quality WordPress plugins, there will be a time when you try to use one that doesn’t quite work on your site. After you review the documentation, you may decide to create a support ticket or to post in the support forum. There are many things that you can do first that you will want to include in your support ticket in order to ensure your question or issue gets solved quickly.
Things to include
Whether you are asking a question about something not looking correctly or if you are reporting a major bug preventing you from using the plugin, there are several key items you will want to include in your ticket.
One of the most useful items that can help a support person is screenshots. The more the better! Screenshots (or even short videos) are great at showing the support team exactly what is happening and how it looks on your screen.
Since WordPress and its plugins are used in many different environments and servers, there is a very likely chance that your specific site is set up slightly differently than any of the developer’s test sites. So, having a screenshot can help the support person see exactly what you see which may be different than what they see.
Plugin conflict check
This process will check to see if there is a plugin that you have installed that may not be compatible with the plugin that you are trying to use. Even if all of the plugins on your site are amazing and have no errors, there is a chance that they use similar code that can conflict with each other. To test this, we use something called a “plugin conflict check”.
First, de-activate all other plugins besides the one you are testing. Now, check to see if it is working correctly. If this fixed the problem, this suggests that it is a plugin conflict issue. To discover which plugin may contain the conflict, activate one plugin and then check if the plugin you are setting up still works.
If it no longer works again, the plugin you just re-activated is the plugin conflict. If not, continue to activate the plugins one by one and check to see if the problem arises again. If you do find a plugin conflict, include what plugin caused the issue and the version number that you have installed in your support ticket.
Theme conflict check
After checking the plugins, the next step is to check for a theme conflict. To do so, switch your theme to a default theme such as Twenty Seventeen. Check to see if the plugin that you are testing is now working. Now, switch back to your theme.
If the plugin works on the default theme but not with your theme, then there is a conflict with that theme. Be sure to include the name of the theme and the version number in your support ticket.
WordPress and server information
Any time that you create a support ticket or post in the support forums, you need to include some information about your site so the developer can debug the issue. Since there are thousands of different combinations of versions of WordPress, PHP, MySQL, and plugins on the site, it is very unlikely for the support person to have a test site that is just like your site.
For example, as the image below shows, our own plugin is used on 8 different versions of PHP. So, by including some extra information, the support team can try to recreate the issue you are having on a test site similar to your site.
Things that you want to include are:
- The version number of the plugin that you are trying to use
- The version of WordPress that you are using
- The version number of your theme
- Where you host your site
- The version of MySQL your server uses
- The version of PHP your server uses
This will help the developer debug the issue in case there is something specific to your server or site. You can find the version of PHP and MySQL from many plugins including our own plugin. If you are unfamiliar with PHP, be sure to check out our “What is PHP” article!
Other relevant information
In addition to the information about your site, you may want to include some other information that may be relevant to your issue. For example, if there is an issue with how the plugin looks or behaves, you may want to include what browser you are using.
How to replicate the issue
This is probably one of the most important things to include that many people leave out. Always describe exactly how the plugin is working and include how you believe it should work.
For example, if the plugin should open a popup when clicking a “Create New” button and it is not, describe what button you are clicking, what popup should open, and what is happening when you click the button. There may be a time where the support person misunderstands what you are trying to do, so explaining your exact steps and expectations helps to ensure the support person is on the same page as you.
Submitting the support ticket
Now that you have all the information ready, go submit your support ticket. Including this information when creating a support ticket or posting in support forums will greatly help the developer to debug the issue and narrow down the possible causes. So, be sure to always include this information any time you have to ask the developer for help or report an issue with the plugin.