The Ultimate Tutorial: How to Find and Access WordPress Error Logs

by Montel Anthony

Troubleshooting website issues on WordPress often requires accessing error logs to identify and resolve problems. The debug.log file is a crucial resource that records errors, warnings, and notices, providing valuable insights into your site’s performance. By enabling WordPress debug mode, you can configure logging to capture detailed information about php errors, wordpress logging issues, and other site errors.

Locating and interpreting the wordpress debug log is essential for effective troubleshooting. This guide will walk you through the process of finding the wordpress error log location, viewing wordpress logs, and understanding wordpress error_log entries. We’ll cover how to show errors in WordPress, access wordpress server logs, and leverage the log file to diagnose and fix common wordpress errors like permissions issues.

Read Also: How to use Edge Caching to improve WordPress performance

What are WordPress Error Logs?

WordPress error logs are a vital resource for troubleshooting and maintaining a reliable website. They provide detailed information about issues occurring on the site, including timestamps, error descriptions, file paths, and code lines [2]. These logs can be invaluable for:

  • Fixing errors in WordPress files, themes, or plugins
  • Seeking assistance from WordPress forums or support channels
  • Restoring backups or reverting changes that caused issues
  • Contacting developers for advanced troubleshooting

The debug.log file, located in the wp-content folder, is the central repository for error messages, dates, times, and other crucial details necessary to identify and resolve problems.

Log Access MethodDescription
MyKinsta DashboardView access and error logs directly from the hosting dashboard.
FTPAccess raw log files via FTP for manual inspection.
WP-Config.phpEnable debug mode and error logging in the wp-config.php file.
Kinsta APIUtilize the Kinsta API to programmatically access log data.
PluginsUse plugins like Debug Bar and Query Monitor for enhanced debugging capabilities.

By leveraging these methods, users can gain insights into common WordPress errors, such as the White Screen of Death, Request Timeout Errors, or SSH Connection Refused Errors [1]. Regularly accessing and analyzing error logs is crucial for maintaining a healthy website and providing a seamless user experience.

How to Enable WordPress Debug Mode

Enabling WordPress debug mode is a crucial step in troubleshooting website issues and accessing error logs. To enable this feature, you need to modify the wp-config.php file, which is the core configuration file for your WordPress installation. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Access the wp-config.php file via an FTP client or your hosting provider’s file manager.
  2. Locate the following line in the file: define('WP_DEBUG', false); and change it to define('WP_DEBUG', true);.
  3. Add the following lines of code below the line you just modified:
define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
@ini_set('display_errors', 0);
define('SCRIPT_DEBUG', true);

These lines instruct WordPress to log errors, warnings, and notices to the debug.log file while preventing error messages from displaying on the front-end of your website.

  1. Optionally, you can specify the location of the debug.log file by adding the following line:
define('WP_CONTENT_DIR', '/path/to/wp-content');

Replace /path/to/wp-content with the actual path to your wp-content directory.

WP_DEBUGEnables WordPress debug mode.
WP_DEBUG_LOGLogs errors to the debug.log file.
WP_DEBUG_DISPLAYPrevents error messages from displaying on the front-end.
SCRIPT_DEBUGEnables script debugging for WordPress and its dependencies.

Alternatively, you can use a plugin like WP Debugging to enable debug mode and error logging without modifying the wp-config.php file directly. However, editing the configuration file manually provides more control and flexibility.

How to Locate the Debug.log File

The debug.log file, which stores WordPress errors, warnings, and notices, is typically located in the /wp-content/ directory of your WordPress installation. Here’s how you can locate and access this crucial file:

  1. Accessing via FTP/SSH: You can access the debug.log file directly through an FTP client or SSH by navigating to the /wp-content/ folder within your WordPress site’s file structure.
  2. Using File Manager: If you have access to your hosting provider’s file manager or cPanel, you can locate the /wp-content/ folder and find the debug.log file within it.
  3. Plugins: Several WordPress plugins, such as Query Monitor and Debug Bar, provide an interface to view the debug log and error information without having to access the file directly. Simply install and activate the plugin, and it will display the log entries within the WordPress admin area.
Query MonitorProvides a comprehensive overview of database queries, PHP errors, and other debugging information.
Debug BarAdds a debug menu to the admin bar, allowing you to view logged errors, warnings, and notices.

It’s important to note that the debug.log file is only generated when errors or warnings occur on your WordPress site. If you don’t see the file in the /wp-content/ directory, it likely means that no errors have been logged yet. Additionally, ensure that you have the necessary file permissions and server configurations to allow WordPress to create and write to the debug.log file.

By locating and accessing the debug.log file, you can gain valuable insights into the root causes of issues on your WordPress site, enabling you to troubleshoot and resolve problems more effectively.

How to Interpret Error Log Entries

Interpreting WordPress error log entries can be a daunting task, but understanding the structure and components of these log messages is crucial for effective troubleshooting. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements you’ll encounter:

Timestamp: Each log entry is prefixed with a timestamp, indicating the date and time when the error occurred. This information helps pinpoint the context and sequence of events leading to the issue.

Error Level: WordPress logs categorize errors based on their severity, such as notices, warnings, and fatal errors. The error level provides insight into the potential impact of the issue.

Error Message: The core of the log entry is the error message itself, which describes the nature of the problem. These messages can range from cryptic PHP error codes to more descriptive explanations, depending on the source of the error.

File Path and Line Number: Most log entries include the file path and line number where the error occurred. This information is invaluable for pinpointing the exact location of the problematic code within your WordPress installation, themes, or plugins.

Context Information: Depending on the error type and severity, log entries may include additional context information, such as HTTP request data, user information, or variable values. This context can be crucial for understanding the circumstances surrounding the error.

To effectively interpret error log entries, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of PHP and WordPress coding conventions. Additionally, leveraging online resources, such as the WordPress Codex and developer forums, can provide valuable insights into decoding specific error messages and their potential solutions.

Error LevelDescriptionExample
NoticeNon-critical messages that provide information about potential issues or best practices.Notice: Undefined index: post_type in /path/to/file.php on line 123
WarningPotentially harmful situations that could lead to errors or unexpected behavior.Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent in /path/to/file.php on line 456
Fatal ErrorCritical errors that prevent the script from executing further.Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function my_custom_function() in /path/to/file.php:789

By familiarizing yourself with the structure and components of WordPress error log entries, you’ll be better equipped to identify the root cause of issues and take appropriate steps to resolve them, ensuring a smooth and reliable WordPress experience.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Troubleshooting common issues with WordPress error logs can be a straightforward process once you understand how to interpret the log entries. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Identify the Error Type: Categorize the error based on its level (notice, warning, or fatal error). This will give you an idea of the severity and potential impact on your website.
  2. Analyze the Error Message: Carefully read the error message to understand the nature of the issue. Look for clues related to file paths, function names, or specific WordPress components (themes, plugins, or core files).
  3. Check File Permissions: If you encounter permissions errors, verify that the affected files and directories have the correct ownership and permissions set. Incorrect permissions can prevent WordPress from accessing or modifying files, leading to various errors.
  4. Consult Resources and Support Channels: Refer to the WordPress Codex, official documentation, and developer forums for guidance on resolving specific errors. Many common issues have well-documented solutions available.
WordPress CodexOfficial documentation and reference for WordPress developers
WordPress ForumsCommunity-driven support forums for troubleshooting and discussions
Plugin/Theme DocumentationDocumentation provided by plugin or theme developers
  1. Backup Before Making Changes: Before attempting any fixes or modifications, create a complete backup of your WordPress site, including the database and files. This will allow you to revert changes if necessary.
  2. Disable Plugins and Themes: If the error log points to a specific plugin or theme, try deactivating or switching to a default theme to isolate the issue.
  3. Update WordPress, Plugins, and Themes: Outdated software can introduce security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues. Ensure that your WordPress installation, plugins, and themes are up to date.
  4. Clear the Error Log: After resolving an issue, clear the contents of the debug.log file to start fresh. This can be done via an FTP client, file manager, or a plugin like WP Debugging.
  5. Disable Debug Mode: Once you have resolved the issues, remember to disable the debug mode by setting WP_DEBUG and WP_DEBUG_LOG to false in the wp-config.php file. This will prevent unnecessary logging and improve website performance.

By following these steps and leveraging the wealth of information in WordPress error logs, you can effectively troubleshoot and resolve common issues, ensuring a smooth and reliable website experience.


In the ever-evolving world of WordPress, error logs serve as invaluable allies for troubleshooting and maintaining a robust, high-performing website. By understanding the intricacies of the debug.log file, enabling debug mode, and effectively interpreting log entries, you can unlock a wealth of insights and solutions. Remember, regular log analysis and a proactive approach to error management are essential for ensuring a seamless user experience and a stable, secure WordPress environment.

Leveraging the expertise shared in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently navigate the realm of WordPress error logs, swiftly identify the root causes of issues, and implement targeted solutions. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a website administrator, mastering the art of log interpretation will empower you to tackle challenges head-on, fostering a smooth and reliable WordPress experience for your audience.


1. How can I locate the debug log in WordPress?
To find the debug log in WordPress, look for a file named debug.log within your /wp-content/ directory. This file captures error information and can be viewed by accessing the directory using SSH or an FTP client.

2. What steps should I follow to view debug errors in WordPress?
To view debug errors in WordPress, you can:

  • Activate WP_DEBUG to display errors directly on your webpage.
  • Turn on WP_DEBUG_LOG to generate a debug log file in the wp-content directory.
  • Enable SCRIPT_DEBUG to use the unminified versions of CSS and JavaScript files, making it easier to spot errors.

3. Where are error logs stored on a web server?
Error logs are stored directly on web servers. For Apache servers, the default locations include /var/log/apache, /var/log/apache2, or /var/log/httpd. For NGINX servers, logs are typically found at /var/log/nginx.

4. How do I enable error logging in WordPress without displaying errors on my site?
To enable error logging in WordPress without showing errors on the frontend:

  • First, access and modify the wp-config.php file.
  • Next, insert a line of code into the wp-config.php file to activate debug mode.
  • To prevent errors from appearing on your website’s frontend, ensure you configure settings to log errors without displaying them to site visitors.

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