I upgraded a WordPress plugin and now it doesn’t work. What do I do?

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Photo by kennymatic

Upgrading a plugin is easy with the latest versions of WordPress. The admin page tells you how many plugins need upgrading. You click upgrade now, and WordPress does the rest. Well what if the new plugin doesn’t work when the old version you had did? Now what?

I am using the Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin. I just upgraded from version 2.1.1 to 2.1.2. That is important to know. Because 2.1.2 isn’t working, and I know which version was working (2.1.1). But if you don’t know, then you will have to guess. I would try the version one before the one you just installed, and if that doesn’t solve it, go back further until you find one that does solve it.

If you upgraded more than one plugin at the same time, there is a chance that one of the other plugins is interfering with your latest version of the “problem” plugin. It might not be all its own fault. So try deactivating the other upgraded plugin before deciding what broke what.

But once you have narrowed down your suspect to the one upgraded plugin, then it is time to downgrade the version.

For my case, the Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin was the only plugin I upgraded. So that is the plugin I downgraded. I went to the Plugin Directory at wordpress.org. I searched for “Facebook Comments for WordPress” in the hard to see search box.

The first result is my plugin. So I clicked into the plugin page. Using the Compatibility box I checked what people are reporting about the different versions. Sure enough, two other people report that 2.1.2 doesn’t work with my version of WordPress. Further more, 2.1.1 is reported to work. That is good news. It confirmed my plan. If I didn’t know which version I upgraded from, this information would have given me a good idea which version to try first.

Next I clicked through to the “Other Versions »” page. From here, I downloaded version 2.1.1 to my home computer. When you do this, keep track of where you store it. You will need to find it again in a few steps.

Before downgrading, I opened the Facebook Comments settings page in a new tab. This is a record of all the settings I am using so I can enter them again when I am done. Then, I deactivated the Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin. That is what WordPress does, when it upgrades a plugin, and we are doing the same thing, but with an old version of the file. Next I deleted the Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin and its data. We still have the tab open with all the settings that worked before.

Next I used the Add New plugins page. I clicked upload. I browsed to the file on my home computer. I activated the plugin. I went to the settings page, and re-entered all the settings based on the tab I left open. I saved the settings.

And I tested my blog. I did successfully downgrade the plugin version. That is the good news. The bad news was the plugin still didn’t work!? But I knew the version I upgraded from, so now I had doubts I was on the right track. The downgrade procedure I followed works, and I recommend it.

So what happened? I found an online forum provided by the plugin author where other users of the plugin were discussing their questions. The problem I was having was mentioned every once in a while by others, but most people did not have a solution. But there was someone who found an answer somewhere else, and their link pointed right to the problem.

My problems centered around Facebook functionality. I have more than one Facebook feature on the blog. By viewing the source code of one of my blog post pages (page source) in my browser, I confirmed that I had two references to a Facebook javascript library. Only one of these is needed. Two of them creates the problem I was having. And not every Facebook feature I was using, involved a plugin!

I had used some Facebook provided code in a text widget. Facebook offers several so called Social Plugins that you can configure on Facebook. Then cut and paste into your blog. The text widget is the simplest WordPress widget, but pasting javascript  code into them, can create plugin like functionality.

I simply read through the code I had pasted into the few text widgets I am using. I found the extra Facebook javascript library reference. And I deleted it. Testing the blog proved success! The plugin now worked again.

But I was not done. I then upgraded the plugin to the latest version again. And it still works…

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