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Error_log and You

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Posted in Website Wisdom

Today I was upgrading WordPress and plugins on my personal blog, which I had put off because I was getting an error and didn’t have time to research it. The error looked something like this..

Downloading install package from http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/sample-plugin.zip.
Unpacking the package.
Installing the plugin.
Could not create directory. /home/user/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/sample-plugin/
Plugin Install Failed.

Upon a Google search I found many different solutions, none of which were anything that made sense to me. All over the WordPress forums people were suggesting changing permissions on files (not a good idea, unless they’re wrong) and one website even mentioned taking PHP out of safe mode (it isn’t in safe mode). I decided I wasn’t going to find help on Google and decided to take a look into my files and compare them with another site where the update was working.

I didn’t even have to open the 2nd website because when I went to the public_html folder there was an error_log file, staring straight at me. It was definitely a palm-to-forehead kind of moment. I didn’t even consider checking to see if I had reached my space quota.

An error_log file created on your account is not a bad thing, it’s there to help you troubleshoot. Your server will automatically create this file for you and it contains a text list of the errors your site creates. Not all errors need to be fixed or present a problem for your site, so if you don’t see any problems you probably don’t need to check the error_log.

However, if you do need to take a look inside, remember text files larger than 10mb can take a long time to bring up and appear to freeze. You might benefit from deleting the file, then move around your site to recreate the error_log and open it at its smaller size. Also, If there is an error on your site and you get a lot of visitors to your site, that file can get very big and take up all remaining space on your account.

The error_log can be created for any error, not just ones created by WordPress. Take a look inside your public_html folder and see if you have one, you might just be able to free up some space!


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