I upgraded the software that runs this site again last week. It seemed like a minor change and should have been a simple job.

I did it first to another site and had experienced no problems. So I was feeling good about doing the same here and getting rid of the nagging notices that a newer version was available.

I did the upgrade by the book, including running all the backup scripts for the posts and data. Then let the script disable all the plugins I didn’t need for the upgrade. It upgraded the site and it all looked good. Until I tried to log in to the admin page.

For some reason, all the admin stuff was no longer working very well. I could log in, but only part of any page would show up. It was like it stopped partway.

I figured it was some problem with either a theme or a plugin. There are two ways to disable them. One is to go into the admin control panel and turn them off. But I couldn’t do that. The other way is to physically remove them from the file structure of the site. That I could do. I moved all the plugins and all the themes except for the default one to a different folder on the server.

The site worked and I got the admin pages back. So I thought it must be a particular item. I decided to move the plugins back one at a time. I never found one plugin that caused the problem. What I found was as more were loaded, the admin pages started stopping at different points as they loaded. It was like the more I added back the worse the problem got.

It turns out that there is a memory allowance setting in PHP on the server that needs to be increased. In some cases, it’s just a matter of editing a line in one of the site files. I tried it but it didn’t do anything. I needed to have it changed at the server, which meant a call to tech support at the host. I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to do that, so I left the site running with a different theme and most plugins disabled while I thought it over.

Well, the next time I checked, everything worked fine. Did the change in the setting automagically work after some time? Did the tech guys at my host get swamped by calls about this from everyone who runs WordPress and change it globally? Did someone read a server log and notice my plight? I don’t know. All I know is things started working again and I’m glad.

I put the normal theme back and enabled all the plugins and everything is working fine.