PhpMyAdmin can save your ass when plugins break WordPress


PhpMyAdmin can save your ass when plugins break WordPress. I love WordPress until it breaks. Sometimes plugins can become your wildest nightmare. Fortunately, I have a passionate relationship with PhpMyAdmin because it has saved my ass on a number of occasions.

Trust me – PhpMyAdmin can save your ass when plugins break WordPress

Tonight I had plans to do a little Python and read the October issue of Wired. That didn’t happen because my WordPress sites needed plugin updates. One of the HTTPS plugin updates broke my site. Generally I update from a test site first. I was too lazy to test the plugin updates first and decided to go ahead and update the Tekblog. After the update I was greeted with this error:

redirect error

I could see that it was trying to redirect to wp-admin. but that directory had been renamed and does not exist. I did not really have the time to gloss over the HTTPS plugin code. So, I decided that disabling all plugins through phpMyAdmin was the way to go. The procedure to disable WordPress plugins is painless if you are familiar with phpMyAdmin and SQL queries.

To disable all plugins from phpMyAdmin

  1. Select the table wp-options (or the renamed table) from the left panel
  2. In the right panel select SQL from the menu
  3. Copy and paste: UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = ‘a:0:{}’ WHERE option_name = ‘active_plugins’;   and press GO //*if you renamed wp-options, be sure to correct that prior to pressing go


This will disable all of your plugins so that you can log back into your site. If you only had a few plugins that you updated and you remember the names of the plugins – go ahead and group-activate the ones that were already working prior to the update. If you are not sure, update each plugin one-at-a-time until you are able to replicate the same error again. You should also contact the plugin developer.

My WordPress admin area is hidden so I had additional problems to add to the mix. Always make sure that you record any secret details of admin changes that you have made over time. Your goal should be to make re-entry to WordPress (after an update failure) as seamless as possible.

Bill Powell once wrote:

 It’s crucial that every plugin you add will not:

  • Open security holes in your site.
  • Slow your site down.
  • Break things behind the scenes (e.g., put junk in your database).
  • Break or not work with other plugins you’re already using.
  • Make future upgrades hard or impossible.
  • Cost more in future upgrades and complexity than they’re worth.

If we take the above template and apply it to plugin updates – we could say that it is crucial that every plugin(s) you update should be backed up prior to updating. BTW, I snafued on that one! I did not perform a backup prior to updating my plugins. Shame on me…though I still find the HTTPS redirect loop issue disturbing. Prior to the plugin upgrades – I did not have any issues with my site, so I can only attribute the crash and burn to the HTTPS plugin update. I repeat: Never forget the fact  that PhpMyAdmin can save your ass when plugins break WordPress!

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