How to check for plugin and theme conflicts

This tutorial describes how to check for conflicts between plugins or a plugin and your theme. These are the step which our support is doing when we see an unexpected issue with our Advanced Ads plugin on a user’s website.

See also our list of known plugin conflicts and theme conflicts.

Reproduce the issue on another site

When you experience a problem with a plugin, try to reproduce it on another website. E.g., is an option not working or missing on both sites or an error showing up only on one of them?

If you have a clean WordPress installation, then try to reproduce the issue there using a default theme, e.g., Twentynineteen.

If the issue is gone, then it is likely related to another plugin or the theme used on your production site. Move on to the next step.

Check for conflicts using the Health Check plugin

You can use the free Health Check plugin to debug conflicts between plugins and themes.

The Troubleshooting mode in the plugin allows you to test conflicts on a production site because only you can see the changes that occur by disabling a plugin. All other visitors to your site will see the original version.

You can start the Troubleshooting mode directly from the Plugins page in your WordPress backend. Just click on the Troubleshoot link below any active plugin name to keep only this plugin enabled and the default theme.

Screenshot of installed plugins with link to disable or enable them in Troubleshooting mode.
Debugging plugins in Troubleshooting mode

If you only enable Advanced Ads and the issue is gone, then go ahead with the next steps. Check if the problem still happens after each of them.

  • switch to your main theme under Available themes on the top right of the screen
  • enable other add-ons from Advanced Ads
  • enable the plugins you think might be related to the issue

If you discover the conflicting theme or plugin, then it is time for the next step.

PS: Even though we used this plugin a lot, I would suggest making a backup first, just in case.

Setting up a test environment

For us to determine whether Advanced Ads causes a plugin or theme conflict, we need to be able to see the issue live and look at the code.

We can do this best in a test environment. There are two options to create one: you could clone your website as a staging site and provide us with a login or alternatively we could give you access to one of our test sites.

Our manual “Setting up a test site” shows you how to do both.

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