10 steps to TroubleShooting problems with ExpressionEngine

These are very general tips to troubleshoot ExpressionEngine and some can apply to other CMS's and software. They might not apply at all to certain scenarios but it's very easy to overlook even 1 of the following points.

  1. Is the software / add-on installed? It can be easy to miss if something simply hasn't been enabled or installed
  2. Are all the files there for the add-on? In ExpressionEngine there are sometimes a folder to put in third_party and into themes folder.
  3. Is the software you are using up to date? ExpressionEngine can have bugs and add-ons can have bugs. Check the documentation and forums / bug tracker to see if the problem you are seeing is out with your hands.
  4. Do add-ons conflict? Some Add-ons conflict with one another and you may need to contact the developers of both sides of the equation.
  5. Has the feature you are trying to use actually part of the latest software? You may have something working perfectly from last year with the same code, but if the add-on has deprecated features then that may be a cause.
  6. Take from an working example. Taking from the docs or read me is standard practice but you taking the code from a working example is a much more accurate way. You then work back from that example.
  7. From 6 – Try and create in the same environment. A different version of MYSQL, PHP or Apache can cause hours of headaches. PHP modules being enabled and configured correctly can also be problematic. Apache set up and OpenBase Restriction when working with MultiSite Manager is a common issue.
  8. Turn on output profiler and template debugging – very helpful
  9. The white screen of death is painful but you need to get an error to diagnose.
  10. Htaccess is one of the smallest files on your site, it's also one of the most powerful. Redirects and removing index.php can cause troubles and so can many other settings. Try removing the rules in there.

Troubleshooting is part and parcel of web development. There are countless things that go wrong. Whilst you may be banging your head off the wall one minute finding the solution is a great, embracing feeling. Beating little battles and you win the war. Hope these tips help and please comment with your own.