How to find help with WordPress


In this workshop, participants will learn how to find help in fixing problems, along with various resources that can be helpful, when you are stuck trying to implement a feature, plugin, or theme. WordPress can be used in many wonderful ways to create blogs, eCommerce stores, forums, membership websites, educational websites and much more. Though WordPress is awesome and works very well in most cases, things can go wrong. A theme or plugin might conflict with your WordPress installation, you may run into a server error, or sometimes a new user might get confused and have lots of questions about how things work with WordPress. This workshop will teach participants how to:

  • Find answers for their questions in WordPress.org support
  • WordPress events
  • WordPress.tv
  • Using search engines
  • Plugin and theme support.

Additionally, we will also cover the topic: “How to ask for help”.

Learning outcomes

  1. You will be able to identify websites that provide help for specific types of WordPress issues.
  2. You will find effective ways to write support requests and questions.

Comprehension questions

  • You installed a theme and discover errors, who do you contact first?
  • You forgot your password for your self-hosted WordPress site, what should you do first?
  • How do you send an effective support request for a WordPress plugin or theme?
  • How to find answers to common WordPress errors?

Transcript

0:04
Hello, everybody, my name is Hari Shanker. I am a deputy with the WordPress community. Today, we are going to learn about how to get help with WordPress. As you all know WordPress is extremely popular, it can be used to create websites, e-commerce, websites, web applications, blogs, you name it. So if you’ve used WordPress for a while, you may have run into at least one situation where you have had a question, or where you’d like to get something fixed? Or have you run into problems. Now, just look back at those times whenever you had had those issues, how did you fix those issues? How did you try to get help for those issues. So that is essentially what we’re trying to cover in this session. So we are going to look into different resources, and different ways in which you can get help whenever you run into several issues, or different types of issues while using WordPress. So after the session, you will learn how to get help when you get stuck while using WordPress or when you have a question when using WordPress, or when you run into an issue while using WordPress. That’s really what we’re gonna cover today. So are you excited about the session, let’s dig deeper and learn more about how to get help using WordPress.

Now, the support page is handled primarily by WordPress support team and it has a wealth of information on different things about WordPress. So I’m going to provide you I’m going to walk you through two sections. So as you can see the section documentation and there’s another section on forums. So if you go to the support page, it essentially lists a lot of sections of information which contains a wealth of information on different aspects of WordPress. So there’s a getting started section, which contains some basic information like overview requirements, new address, where to start, and some information about other versions. Let’s take a quick look at the overview of WordPress page to see what it’s all about. So as you can see, it contains some very basic information. And then the other section is installing WordPress, it adds information on how to install WordPress WordPress. So if you want to learn how to install WordPress, just go to wordpress.org slash support, and click on how to install WordPress. So this contains some detailed walkthroughs on how to install WordPress then there’s a basic usage section which contains some information on how you can use WordPress and provide some very basic instructions. So this includes how to create a post how to add new blocks and what blocks are what is the Block Directory Block Directory, by the way, is a new feature that has come to WordPress, which allows you to add blocks to your site, and then display information pages, Media Library, etc. Then this section basic administration. So that includes admissions, decision screens, dashboard screens using permalinks. There’s a customization section which allows you to which helps you learn how to use themes, how to use plugins, how to use widgets, the section and maintenance section on security, which goes into detail and it explains a lot of things lately WordPress hardening WordPress, brute force attacks, administration over SSL, two step authentication. So all the information that about security can find in the section of dogs. There’s the advanced topic section, which goes into further detail. So if you if you would like to get your hands dirty with code, this is where you can go in find some information on custom fields. You can find them information post types, you can learn about taxonomies, which categories and tags. And there’s a totally dedicated section on troubleshooting as well. So there’s a there’s an entire page on common WordPress errors. So this is a this is actually a great resource, I would like to go explain this a little more. So this this section is very helpful. It contains a list of common WordPress errors. So if you run into some sort of error with your site, you might want to take a look at this page to see if any, it’s any of these errors. So the common errors are white screen of death. There’s the internal server error, the error establishing a database connection, failed auto upgrade, etc. So this page, this here’s the link to it. So you if you want to access it, just go to wordpress.org site supports a scroll down and need the stablishing section you can find these errors to find a list of documentation here. So this is extremely helpful. And this is another section on debugging in WordPress. So this is a very helpful page. It allows you it helps you how to enable debug on wordpress.org. And it helps you find out errors. So there’s that there’s debugging in WordPress, if you enable debugging, your site will display errors directly. So this is covered in the land troubleshooting workshop. So this section, it goes into detail on how to enable debugging for WordPress and enabling debugging helps you find out errors. So and there’s an FAQ on troubleshooting. So I’m sure people who have used to address would have had a lot of questions on how to troubleshoot WordPress and the support team gets a lot of these questions. they’ve collected a lot of these questions in this section, you can enter information on like the common troubleshooting steps. So this this could Be very helpful. So you might want to take a look at this page as well, before you go ahead with working with troubleshooting WordPress. So that’s a that’s a read section. So these are the sections. But it’s not just the support, there’s actually the support forums as well. So we’ve seen these documentation pages, but it’s not just that the WordPress support team has a dedicated section on support forums as well. So you can access a portfolio by scrolling down and clicking on this button, check out our support forums. Or if you just go here and click on forum six, it’s going to take you that. So there are different forums by the so finding out the finding of the forum to post your question is very important. So I would recommend that keep this in mind. This is the section on installing WordPress fixing WordPress developing with WordPress, accessibility local host installs requests and feedback everything else WordPress, etc. So, hypothetically, let’s say that I have a question installing WordPress, then I would be asking questions in this forum. If I have a question on accessibility, I will go to this forum. So that’s how I, I got in sort of in the forums, you can find people ask questions. And these questions will be answered by volunteers who work with a support team. So that’s the several volunteers. If you have any questions, just post your question. So question over here.

And your question will be answered as at the earliest by a volunteer from the WordPress support team, or that actually hundreds of 1000s of volunteers work in this forum, who help users and that’s our moderators as well. So there’s a there’s a very strong team of volunteers. And in all probability, they will get you as soon as possible to get your questions answered. So this is a great place to find answers to your questions. So we saw the forum section, there’s also documentation section, which is what we saw here, I said, this is actually the documentation page. This section lists a lot of information, which we can use get help with workers. In our another thing that I wanted to quickly talk about is to search the stock footage. So as you can see, there’s a lot of information, you may not really be able to find out what you were looking for, by navigating to these ways. So there’s an option to actually search for things. So for instance, I’m going to search for I’m going to I don’t know how I don’t know how Block Directory works. I’m going to search for a Block Directory. I want to learn about the Block Directory of ministers. I’m going to search here. Now this search is very powerful. It Yeah. So I just through the documentation page. So yeah, it is returned the first the first link is the link to the Block Directory documentation. So I’m gonna go to that page real quick. Yes. Yeah, this is a very detailed information on how on what the Block Directory is, and there’s actually video here, which talks about how to install, how to set up a blog, how to install a block, or uninstaller, block and all these things. So searching here is a great way to find information. So I’m going to search for something else. So let’s just say that my site has my site is like it’s showing up a fatal error message. So I’m going to search for fatal error. I’ve just searched for fatal errors. And yes. So it is it is returned, Trac So yeah, so as you can see, in the search page, it does not only search for the documentation, it actually searches for for replies as well. So that so it’s very powerful. So you if you if you if you have any questions like you can just go to wordpress.org slash support. And you can search for your, for your specific error messages or your specific problems. And chances are that there might be an answer for this in one of the phones. So the here’s the good thing about what is WordPress is very popular. And a lot of people use it like 30% of the internet, you said, So chances are that the error that you face may have been faced by somebody else, and they may have reported it to the forums. So this is a great way and search is very powerful. It can often guide you to the right direction. So just go to wordpress.org say support, search a question here and you can fight you should be able finances. Now, we’ve seen the documentation page. Let’s take a quick look at the forums to see how it really works. So here’s a forum. The first thing to keep in mind is if you ask questions, like think about what the question, so I mentioned this earlier. So hypothetically, I have a problem with fixing my WordPress site. So here’s where I’d be asking questions. And but there’s a dedicated section and depending on where you want to ask questions, ask them right from the don’t ask in the wrong forum. For example, for example, if I want to ask a question on installing WordPress, I would not be asking the question in the fixing WordPress forum. So make sure that you ask the question in the right form. That’s the first thing you need to keep in mind. So over here, you have some of these master threats. So I would recommend actually reading this mass threat first before you post a question because this is very important. So and yeah, like, as you can see, as you can see, the message redirects you to welcome message, which essentially shares the rules of the support forum. So here’s a few things that you need to keep in mind. And this is this is very important. So Please keep these things in mind, please. And there’s also a section of form guidelines and frequently asked questions, I’m going to quickly take you through that as well. So if you need to ask Or ask a question in the forum, you need to have a wordpress.org account. So only then will you be able to ask questions. And there are there are a few guidelines. So as I said, this is something I mentioned earlier, make sure that you ask the questions in the right form. And here’s a here’s a very good tip on how you can ask questions. So and how you can create a question. So like, there’s another section of how to put a title so be make make sure that your your title is very, very straightforward and very direct, not not very well verbose. And what do I put in the post, like when you when you actually share information, include details about the hosting environment and the problem being faced. And if you have any errors, copy them verbatim, and based on that, but do not, please do not leak any privileged information, like your real name or email, if you’re not okay with them with me public, or any other sensitive information, please do not share this in the forums. This is because the forums are public and anybody should be able to access it. So do not do that. In some cases, yes, you can link to a site. But please note, if you’ve links to a site, you may not be able to remove it.

So make sure that you’re okay with the site being linked. So if you are linked to a site, make sure that you can okay for it meaning and again, you can include screenshots and videos. So yes, that’s a great way to get help. So the only thing is they cannot be uploaded, but you will need me to use other tools. So some tools Alex, the board in mgu, our YouTube. And Yep, to this, this section is very useful. So these are the frequently asked questions. I also wanted to highlight the forum guidelines, which are very important. So users are expected to be kind, please don’t be rude with your forum moderators, please, please be kind. And in some cases, you may need to contact the moderator. And in such cases, you can click on the report this topic link, which I can show you later. And there are some guidelines, please warn about adult content. And please do not spam this very important. Please don’t bump posts. How do you mom posts? Well, so by simply applying the Obama puzzle, do not do that. So the the moderators are the support volunteers who work on forums, they try to look for topics that do not have a price. So if you do not have anything valuable to contribute, please do not bump these posts that something and please do not offer to pay for help or please not offer to work for hire that is not allowed. Do not post about commercial products. So if you want to get support for commercial teams or products, please go to the respective the team support or the plugin support person, do not create multiple accounts. And there’s a few things that need to you need to keep in mind about linking to other resources. And yes, there’s a lot of bad stuff, do not do any of these things. So you can read about these things in detail over there. And now another thing that people, people sometimes add signatures to their comp, so don’t don’t do that that could get you banned. So before you post a support request, I would recommend that you at least go through these guidelines, as well as the forum user guide in mind. Just go through them real quick to make sure that you get an idea I thought I hope I’ve explained I’ve sort of summarized it in this in this section. So that could be very helpful. Now, even this section, you can specifically search for problems. So I’m going to I’m going to search for a block error. Let’s see if that returns any results. Yeah, so block has encountered an error. So like, Here, I’ve been very vague in my search. But if I’m I’m very specific block JavaScript. And I can I can actually search for specific so this a few times if I like all, it literally searches all all wordpresser dog, and I can tweak things. So if I want some if I let’s say there’s a latest error, if I want to search violators that I can actually choose the date option. But I can actually search for relevance as well, too. So by choosing the relevant option 11th option, it searches for the most relevant results. And I can search in support forums, I can search in developer documentation, I can search in support doc. So like this is very powerful and actually helps you find specific answers. Now. Let’s assume that you’re here to post a question, how do you do that? So you click on this button. Unless you’re not already logged into WordPress, you click on this button, and then you log into your wordpress.org account. One thing to keep in mind is that the wordpress.org forums is where you post questions related to WordPress as in we’re talking about WordPress code. So if you want help with a specific theme or plugin, do not post here, you need to post in the themes respective forum are the plugins respective for so let’s assume that we’re talking about WordPress curation. So I’m gonna I’m going to type the message error 500 after updating to WordPress 5.6 we’re just not yet released. But this is just an example. So let’s just ignore that and the link. So I’m going to link to my site which is random dot test. This is the link. Now here I’m going to I’m going to I’m going to start by writing to your big p file your houses so I’m gonna say hi folks My sight. Yep. So I’ve typed the message. So this is a very short message, it does not say anything. So I would ideally go to detail explaining what the issue is. So I would say, I’m not typing it out, I’m just giving an example. What caused the error? What are the symptoms of and any information about myself? Now, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve mentioned my site’s URL here. But if you want to do that, make sure that you’re okay with it. And do not share any personal information. Because I, as I mentioned earlier, if you’re okay with it, that’s fine. I mean, some people are definitely okay with it. But if you would be having any issues in future, do not do that. So.

And also do not share any in any specific information about your site like, no administrator credentials, or login details. So this is a very public forum. Keep that in mind before you proceed with your request. But if you want to get answers, make sure that you describe the problem as much as possible, and share any symptoms of the problem. And any other details about the problem that are non sensitive. And topic tax very useful. So let’s so this is this is an era Fineman. So I would say if I pick I will type type things like 500, error 500, conflict or something like that. So this depends on the error that you have. So you can add topic tags here that will really help other people find the address or it could really could be very helpful in identifying and separating things. So and even help with SEO, in fact, so. So that’s something that you can do. Before you click on the submit button. You can call this notify of me a follow up replies by mail option and click on some but now, if you type any, if this is a site that has made your content, make sure that you take this option. And if you’re not talking about support question, make sure that you take this option. So why would Why would you? Why would you share a support not a support question on a WordPress forum. Now, as you know that there’s a section for feedback. So if you’re officiating feedback on this, if you’re sharing feedback on this foot, you can definitely check this option. But I would, I would strongly recommend checking this option, because whenever there’s for a follow up reply, you get email. So you get an email to the account to the email address that you use for your wordpress.org account. And that’ll help you follow up with all the questions. So I would recommend that you take the sub, and then you click on Submit button, then your your message goes and you can get support with your support question. So essentially, that’s how the form works. If I hadn’t mentioned earlier in this video, support for themes and plugins, the process of getting support for themes and plugins is slightly different when compared to getting support for WordPress core. So to get support for a particular theme that lives in wordpress.org, you’d need to first go to the respective pages. So I’m on the page of 2020, I visited wordpress.org slash theme, says 2020. So I would like to get help with the 2020 theme. So when I’m on that page, I would scroll down first, let’s click on this one, which is view support for. So this takes me to the support page of 2020. Now in this section, I can either either search for a question on this theme, or create a new topic, and essentially, try to get answers for the questions that I have. So that’s how I get support for a specific thing. So let’s say I want you to get help with a storefront theme. So what I do is I visit the page of the storefront theme first. I’m currently on the page of the storefront theme. And on that page again, I scroll down and I go to this new support forum page. And here I can ask questions related to this specific theme that is storefront. So again, it depends on the theme that I’m using. So I cannot ask questions about 20. In the storefront theme page, they want to ask about this orphan theme, I should ask him the storefront theme. But if I want to ask question on the 2020 theme, I should ask this in the 2020 theme. The process is similar to plugin is similar with plugin. So here’s a page of the WordPress of the Gutenberg plugin. So I want to I’m at the Gutenberg plugin, I can’t I can’t really ask question on the Gutenberg plugin itself to the WordPress core support team, I would need to ask him the respective support page. So to access the support page, I would just need to go to the Support tab over here. That should take me to the respective support forum of Gutenberg. So when you log in, and I read, I can directly ask questions on Gutenberg. I can actually even search in this in this section about questions that I may have Gutenberg and I can get them answered by the respective volunteers. So that’s how you get support for specific plugins and specific themes. So just to summarize, make sure you go to the support page of that plugin itself and ask ask questions. Do not ask questions about a plugin to WordPress core. So in the WordPress core support page, which is this You can only ask questions. So this is the core support page for in the WordPress support forum. They only ask questions about what to score. But if you want to ask questions about a specific plugin or a theme, I should go to the theme of the respective forms. How do I find if it’s the theme of the respective forum? So it would say the same way here. So if it’s So currently, it’s a support themes too often. But if if it’s a core forum, it would show differently, it would, it would, it would just state that it’s the specter forum. So I’m going to fixing WordPress forum, it would say support fixing WordPress. So if it says support theme store, friend, it means that I’m on so far the theme support page, feature support plugin Gutenberg, you could say that I’m under support with the military. So make sure that you ask questions of the respective theme of the respective lorien in the rifle. Search engines as you all know, this is the sort of a straightforward way to finances but I can actually give you some tips on how to actually find answers to the questions that you have. So let’s take an example. So if you want to know how to reset a password in WordPress, you can just search for reset WordPress passwords.

21:09
So, this would bring a lot of results. Of all the results that you find always go for what is the doc because what is that all has the most up to date information. Everything else could be buy from third party blogs. So you might also find some videos, so they may not always have the latest information. If you have a wordpress.org resource, that should be your first reference. Now, you can also search for WordPress errors, I can show how you can do that. So let’s say let’s look at error 500. So notice how you how I add codes. So if you add quotes that will help you find the exact error message. So yep. So as you can see there, I’ve actually it has actually returned results, which helped me find out how to fix error 500 error messages. So in short, if you run into an error, and if you want to know what is causing it, you can actually search for the exact error message. So this really helps you find answers on questions with regards to this specific area. So you can search for that specific area in quotes, and add any additional key information or keywords. And that will help you find a specific area that you are looking for. And you can based on the information that you find, let’s take a look at this particular link from the WP bringing up, which is a very popular blog. So based on the information that you have, you can go ahead with troubleshooting the issues that you face in your site. So yes, search engines are a great way to find so we will look at the RFI request, which as you can see this page has a lot of information on what the find messages and how it can be fixed. So similarly, if you look for these errors, you can find yourself so there are several motors in very popular there are several blogs and several websites, which have a lot of information. One thing I can tell you is like whatever information that you find, try to verify it first. So check when it was posted if it was posted recently, or it might really because like things keep changing in WordPress, sometimes it’s a if it’s if it’s a common error, like error 500 it may have the results may not really change. But in any case, if it’s a common if it’s if it’s a fairly recent that I might help to actually double check with at least one other resource who actually go to proceed word. But I can tell you that in my experience, searching for errors or searching for specific keywords should really help you finance it. So just to recap, make sure that you use the courts function to specifically search for any error messages. You can also search you can also use keywords to search for specific issues or specific errors that you find that might actually help you get a result. So copy pasting the error in the search bar almost always helps because that will help you they’ll help you find so 13 things is an art in itself. If you search for the right keywords, it can almost always lead you to the right answers and that might actually help you fix problems.

There are two major events that are common in the WordPress community and they are WordPress meetups and wordcamps. These events offer affords you have the opportunity to interact with and ask questions to members of the WordPress community. What does meetups are regularly organized often month to month, face to face events organized by local organizers. meetups provide a venue for community members of all expertise levels to share their knowledge and, and their experience with WordPress. These events are presented in a variety of formats including presentations, lectures, hackathons, social gatherings, workshops, co working, genius boss and contributor strings, drives etc. What cans are a little different? What camera locally organized conferences that come anything related to WordPress. So what camps come in all different flavors based on local communities at random but in general WordCamp screwed sessions on how to use voters more effectively beginning plugin and theme development advanced element techniques security and other topics. So after March 2020 WordCamp said meetups have moved online due to the covid 19 pandemic. So in person what comes in person WordPress meetups are not happening anywhere in the world at this time. However, all these WordPress meetups and all these word camps are currently online. So it’s a great opportunity for you to participate in these events all across the world. And you can you can learn about WordPress, you can participate in these sessions. And some of these sessions are actually in an interactive format. So they have sections like held there. So if you have any questions specifically, you can participate in that specific lesson and you can get your question answered. So that’s, that’s a great way to Learn WordPress. And that’s a great way to answer get your questions on WordPress answer. When you’re on the WordPress dashboard, navigate to the top right section, you can see a tab called help. So depending on the page you are, this section offers help or support documentation on that page. So currently, I’m on the on the homepage shows information on the left hand navigation, which is the success that I’ve had navigation menu provides links to all WordPress administration screens with sub menu items displayed on hover. So that is true. And it also provides links in toolbar at the support of the screen connect to the dashboard and and the front end of your site and provide access to the profile and helpful WordPress information that is true. also shows information on the different on the layout and the content. So now this changes based on piece that you have. And as you can see, it also links to the support page. And also it also links to the documentation page on the dashboard. As I as I mentioned earlier, this, the information on this Help section changes based on the page here. So if I’m on a post page, what you see here is different. It’s so the first thing it shows an overview, the screen provides access to all your posts. So it shows it explains what the specific section is. There’s also screen content. It provides you some information on how the content of the screen changes. So that is very helpful in that regard. And you can click on the Help button. So I’m at the base page. And the overview now displays explains what pages are on the Settings page, I can just click on the Help button. And this this section clearly explains what this what what this page is about. So this is very helpful. And again, for each specific page, there’s a link to documentation. So that’s a great way for you to find help. And there’s even a support page. The link to the support page is very helpful. So if you want to if you are confused, if you want to ask questions, this is a great resource for you to click and ask questions. Another way to learn about WordPress is using WordPress.tv. So, as the name says, this is a repository which contains all videos about wordpresser from word camps and WordPress meetups all across the world. So this contains a wealth of information in videos and it contains videos on literally almost everything related to WordPress. So if you want to learn something very specific about WordPress, and you’d rather watch a video to learn about it wordpresser TV is a resource that you need to check out. So as you can see, that’s the site has a section which contains a set of latest videos. So latest videos shows our show up all the way all the all the videos that were recent ones and the popular videos show several shows and of all the most popular videos that so this this this collects, I guess later, later data, but this keeps changing. So this is a great place where you can which you can use to actually watch latest videos as well as popular videos. But let’s say you want to watch a video on a particular topic hypothetically, I want to learn about what WP ccli so WP CLA are the command line interface. It’s it’s a command line interface which you can use to control our sub site. So if I want to learn about WP cL I just go to the search bar and type WP CLA and it shows all the results about WP clmv. So how about I search for blogging? So blogging is a very general topic. Yeah, so that it has shored up a lot of topics on blogging. So definitely, if I want to

everyone is found find videos on a specific topic, I just need to go to the resort TV and I can just search with a specific topic. And I will be able to find videos on that specific topic and it’ll help me learn about WordPress. So how so by using wordpress.org TV, you can watch videos on any topic that you would like to learn about. And if you have time, you can definitely watch the video and it’ll be a great experience for you to learn about how things are spinning wordpresser TV, I can also I would like to also like to touch upon Learn WordPress, which is probably the platform where you’re watching this video. So Learn WordPress is a brand new platform from the WordPress community team along with overseeing team and the WordPress.tv team. So these teams are together to have join to get join hands together to build the Learn WordPress program which contains a lot of video workshops on WordPress, which will be followed by discussion groups. So you can watch any of these workshops you can learn about them and Then you can participate in discussion group we can ask questions and so that we can essentially Learn WordPress so all these videos in Learn WordPress they live in wordpresser TV but in Learn WordPress, you can normally watch these videos you can also contribute to the discussion and then you can essentially learn them very well. So a lot of exciting features are coming up at Learn WordPress, I’m pretty excited about it. And in addition to that, you also have more and more workshops coming up in wordpresser. tv as well as in Learn WordPress. So check out that. With that we come to the end of how to get help with WordPress workshop. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the discussion group. So this workshop will be having discussion groups which are regularly scheduled, please don’t hesitate to ask them. And if you have questions with WordPress, I hope you’ve now learned how to get those questions answered too. There are several ways to do it. And if you are ever stuck, please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the respective support forum. Thank you and I will see you online soon. Bye for now.

Workshop Details


Presenters

Hari Shanker R
@harishanker

I am a Community Wrangler at Automattic, and I contribute to the WordPress Community Team full-time as a Community Deputy. WordPress is one of the biggest passions in my life and I enjoy working on programs that support the global WordPress community. I believe that open-source tech and the open web have the potential to make the world a better place.