Out Of Date Google Analytics Plugin Broke Site

While I was in Las Vegas on business, I received an email from a service that I use that indicated they were unable to reach this blog and it was simply returning a blank page.

With limited time to debug things while traveling, I noticed that a call to the WordPress hook for “wp_head” seemed to be causing the problem. As soon as I removed that line of code, I was able to load the entire page and thought everything was back to normal.

Unfortunately, I failed to spend an adequate amount of time researching the problem and didn’t realize that removing the call to “wp_head” also removed all of the JavaScript and CSS includes that my plugins use to initialize their functionality.

This problem was brought to my attention when I received an email from a reader, Gaida, that had tried to add a comment to a post and received an error message from the comment plugin that I am using on the blog. This was cause for concern and I began to investigate the true cause of the problem that I thought I had resolved earlier.

After adding the call to “wp_head” back into the header file, I was now able to spend the time to look into what was causing the page not to load properly. Since the call to “wp_head” is the hook for all of the plugins, I began by deactivating each of the plugins that I am using. Once all of the plugins were deactivated, I noticed that everything was working properly.

Now it was a simple matter of determining which plugin was the culprit of breaking the site.

One by one, I activated the plugins that I had been using until I found one that caused the site to break again. The first handful of plugins were all working properly but then I activated the Google Analytics plugin and the site broke again. I had found the cause of the problem.

The first thing I did once I had determined which plugin was causing the problem was to check if there was a more current version of the plugin available. There was a more current version of the plugin, which I downloaded and installed. With the new version of the plugin installed, I reactivated the plugin and tested to see if the site was working.

It was still working!

When I initially discovered that there was a problem with my site, I found a quick solution to the problem and thought that everything was working. Unfortunately I had only masked the problem while also introducing additional problems. With the help of Gaida, I realized that there were still problems and took the time to investigate the true cause of the problem.

Now that I have resolved this issue, I know that I need to do a better job of keeping current with the plugins that I am using in order to avoid future problems.

I’d like to thank Gaida for the assistance, as well thank all of you for your patience.

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