I have inherited a wordpress site that mysteriously broke the dev in charge left and I'm helping to piece together what's going wrong.

I told my PM that I have experience as a wordpress user and he's like, "You're on this project." So here I am trying to figure it out. I am a software engineer with decades of experience, but not wordpress dev.

So when I hit the site from the root I get a 500 error. How do I start debugging this? I can login to wordpress and have access to the dashboard and stuff.


I have swapped out the theme with 2021 and it appears to be alive at least. Looking into the theme now.

1 Answer 1


I would disable .htaccess and changing the permalink structure that can be found in (setting->permalinks).

You're specifically getting a 500 error and not a "Cannot connect to the Database" error?

Since it sounds like a theme issue, inside of wp-config.php, set: define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', true);

so you can start seeing exactly what errors are occurring

  • Or if you dont want to expose errors on a live site (for security) then skip WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY and consult the debug.log that should exist in the root of wp-content.
    – vancoder
    Mar 30, 2021 at 16:59

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