WordPress support: which steps to undertake for a solution

Although WordPress is a very user-friendly content management system (CMS), it can still happen that you can’t find a solution to your (technical) WordPress problem. This can be very frustrating and at that moment you are desperate for WordPress support. There are many manuals and articles findable online about different WordPress problems and how to solve them. However, it is sometimes difficult to find the specific answer you need from these sources. From that position, you have a few options to seek for help: 

  1. Through an (official) WordPress forum 
  2. Via your hoster
  3. Via a (premium) theme or plugin supporter (if you have one) 
  4. Via WordPress Codex and the Developer Handbook
  5. Via a premium support party

Before looking for an answer think carefully first what you want answers to..

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you need help with. Therefore, before you approach different websites, groups and forums, it is smart to do some research and identify the exact problem with your WordPress website. After this, you can determine a lot easier where the problem is coming from and what kind of help you need. In this process, you should ask yourself the following:

    • Is your WordPress question related to a hosting problem? This could be the case, for example, if the memory limit of your WordPress website has been reached and you can’t download new themes or plugins because of this. Or if individual files are too large to upload to your server. Almost every hoster offers (free) support where you can make use off if you have a hosting problem. 
    • Do you have a specific WordPress question? For example: how do I customize the WordPress menu or how do I change my theme colors? Then you can often find your answer through a blog or Youtube video. If you have a more specific question then it’s better to search for help on the official WordPress forum 
    • Want to know about how to modify a specific WordPress code? Try the Codex or the Developers Handbook. The downside is that you do need to be slightly tech savvy to understand these sources. 
    • Have you purchased a premium theme? Then you can often get your question answered by submitting a ticket on a support page of the theme’s creators.
    • Do you want a problem solved quickly and are you a professional company? Then you can always consider investing in a premium support party.

If you have gone through these steps then hopefully you have a better idea of where to go for WordPress help. Below we explain each WordPress resource in more detail and you can ask for help. 

Official WordPress forum

The WordPress support forum is the place to get answers to a specific WordPress problem. For example, you can ask questions about installing WordPress, code solutions, CSS/formatting and plugins. On this forum both paid and non-paid specialists are active who are willing to help you, often all for free. 

The support forums are mainly staffed by volunteers who are not paid by WordPress or an employer. Another part is working for WordPress organizations, agencies or companies that encourage their employees to share their expertise through the forums. Plugin and theme developers also often offer help through WordPress forums. Is your WordPress related to a paid plugin or theme? Then you can ask for help via premium theme or plugin support. 

Before asking your question, it is important to always do some research to see if your question has not been asked and answered before. If there is no answer to your question yet then you can ask it. However, keep in mind that the forums are largely supported by volunteers. So be a little nice to them and don’t expect an answer immediately


Do you have problems with the speed of your website, does your website crash all the time or do you not have enough website memory for downloading new themes or plugins? Then the fault probably lies with your hoster. Almost every hoster has a dedicated page where you can ask for support, usually by submitting a ticket. Also, most hosters can be reached via live chat or over the phone, if you are using a smaller hoster. 

Is your hoster unable to resolve your WordPress issue or has your submitted ticket been open for a long time? Then it’s probably time for a new one. The two hosters we can heartily recommend are Kinsta and SiteGround. Both are very good and score excellent on speed, support and security. 

(Premium) Theme or Plugin supporter

Many theme and plugin developers offer (free) support on their websites and WordPress forums. Especially paid themes and plugins offer free support because this service is part of their products. Of course they do not want you to switch to another provider.. 

Do you have a problem updating a theme or plugin or do they no longer function properly? Then the best place to start is with the theme or plugin developer. Most of them will have a dedicated page where you can submit a ticket. Often you’ll have an answer to your WordPress question within a few hours.

WordPress Codex and the Developer Handbook

If your question is not specifically about a hosting, theme or plugin problem then you can probably find the answer in the WordPress Codex or the Developer Handbook

The WordPress Codex can be seen as a very comprehensive WordPress library containing information on how to use WordPress, functionalities, how to use a theme and even how to develop a plugin. The Codex pages are very detailed, so if you read carefully then you can definitely find the answer to your WordPress issue here. The Codex is suitable for less technically inclined WordPress users as well as developers. 

Unlike the Codex, the Developer Handbook is aimed primarily at developers. It is the official guide to the basic code of WordPress. The guide includes topics on WordPress coding standards, API development, the Gutenberg block editor and how to develop your own theme. If your question is related to a development issue then you will definitely find the answer here.

Premium support party

If you want your question answered immediately without much effort and want the problem solved at once, you will most likely have to pay someone for that. There are many companies and freelancers that offer premium support for a fee through a ticket system, for example. Before you decide to hire the services of a provider, you should always research the company carefully. 

Cheap does not always mean quality and you will be in trouble if the problem is still not solved when you have hired one of these companies. So always find out how the companies are rated, whether their website looks professional and what they promise regarding how quickly they solve the problem.

We hope we helped you out with where to go for WordPress help

As you have been able to read, there are plenty of places to turn to for WordPress help. You may feel a bit overwhelmed by the different WordPress support channels where you can ask your question. However, if you think a little critically and you have a good understanding of the problem of your question, then you can pick a help channel that best suits your issue. 

We hope this blog has helped you by making the right choice between the different WordPress support channels and are very curious about your reaction. Please leave it at the bottom of this blog if you are feeling to. 

Core Web Vitals: a very important Google update in 2021

A few weeks ago we wrote an article about the most important Google ranking factors of 2021. In this article we explained that from may 2021, Google will rank websites more strongly based on new metrics, called Core Web Vitals. 

Although nobody knows exactly how big the impact of these new metrics will be on the rankings, we do know that Google will place more value on user experience factors that have to do with page speed, responsiveness and the stability of content during loading. 

Focus on user experience and drastic measures

In essence, the Core Web Vitals represent different facets of the user experience. And because the user experience is quite a catch-all term, Google has made certain demarcations in the search algorithm, which are called the Core Web Vitals. 

Google has mentioned that website owners do not need to be hardcore web developers to meet the requirements of Core Web Vitals. According to them, the Web Vitals initiative aims to simplify website optimization and help websites focus on user experience factors that matter most. 

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Our analyses show that many websites need to take drastic and complex measures to meet the Core Web Vitals’ requirements. Therefore, we expect many website owners to engage the help of web developers. Ironically enough, Google itself does not meet all Core Web Vitals and even they still have important improvements to make:

Google Core Web Vitals

But don’t despair! Below we explain exactly what the Core Web Vitals are and how you can make your website meet these new metrics. 


But what exactly are the Core Web Vitals?

In order to be able to give a good answer to this question, it is important to make a distinction between the concepts ‘page experience’ and content. 

Google defines page experience as “aspects that measure how users experience a web page beyond the pure information value of that page”. The pure information value in this definition is about the relevance of information, or content. 

The Core Web Vitals mainly relate to the page experience. Hence, these metrics do not so much measure how relevant your website content is, but rather the things around it. This means that your content can still be so good, but if the visitor has to wait too long before the page loads or is flooded with intrusive interstitials (e.g. ads, banners or pop-ups), Google will not be very happy about it. 

However, Google has promised to still give priority to pages with the best content in general. The Core Web Vitals therefore help a website to score better when there is a lot of competition on similar content. The page experience can thus be seen as a decisive factor for a higher ranking in the search results.

As a website owner, how do I take the Core Web Vitals into account? 

The current set for 2021 focuses on three aspects of the page experience – loading (measured by Largest Contentful Paint), interactivity (measured by First Input Delay) and visual stability (measured by Cumulative Layout Shift). Good to know is that the statistics that make up Core Web Vitals will evolve over time and therefore multiple aspects of user experience will be added in a later stadium. 

In summary, the three aspects that are the most relevant at this moment, mean the following:

Largest Content Paint (LCP): measures the loading performance of your website. For a good loading performance, the largest element of the website should be loaded within 2.5 seconds after the page is opened. If this takes longer than 4 seconds, your website will score badly. 

First Input Delay (FID): measures the responsiveness of your website by measuring the time between loading a page and the moment when the user can interact for the first time. To provide a good user experience, pages must have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures the visual stability of your website and the frequency with which users see unexpected layout changes. To provide a good user experience, pages must have a CLS of less than 0.1.

To ensure you meet the recommended target for each of the above metrics, it is a good threshold to have 75 percent of page visits comply with the frames.

The three Core Web Vital aspects explained 

You probably won’t comprehend much from the summary above if you’ve never heard of the concepts LCP, FID and CLS. That is why we explained them more detailed below. We also tell you with which factors your website should comply in order to get a better user experience. 

LCP: make your website faster

As we discussed earlier, a good loading time of a page on LCP is under 2.5 seconds. If the loading time is between 2.5 and 4 seconds, improvements have to be made. If the loading time is longer than 4 seconds, it often means that the visitor has already left. Of course that is not the goal of any website. 

There is a whole list of LCP factors you have to take into account to offer your visitors the best web experience, but in total there are four factors that really matter: 

1. Response time of the server

The longer it takes for a browser to receive content from the server, the longer it takes to display something on the visitor’s screen. A faster server response time immediately improves each individual page loading speed, including the LCP.

To optimize the server speed, you need to investigate how your server processes all content. This is measured by the Time to First Byte (TTFB). From there you can see what is needed to optimize. Possible solutions are for example: 

  • Optimizing your server 
  • Directing visitors to a CDN
  • Caching
  • HTML cached pages

2. Render blocking JavaScript and CSS

JavaScript and CSS are two important sources that can block the display of content on a page. And thus also slow down the LCP. Therefore, make sure that only the minimum amount of CSS required blocks the display on your website by applying the following: 

  • Reducing CSS
  • Delaying non-critical CSS
  • Inlining critical CSS
  • Reducing the blocking time of JavaScript

3. Resource load time

Although an increase in CSS or JavaScript blocking time directly results in poorer loading performance, the time required to load external sources such as photos and videos can also affect LCP. There are a few ways to ensure that these files are loaded as quickly as possible:

  • Optimizing and compress images
  • Pre-loading key resources
  • Compressing text files

4. Client-side rendering

Recently more and more website builders are using JavaScript frameworks because they offer a lot of options and are very user friendly. One problem, however, is that this can undermine the LCP, causing a visitor not to see a page or do nothing on the page, until all critical scripts have been executed.

If you are building a website that is mostly client-side displayed, you should be extra wary of the effect this can have on LCP when a large JavaScript bundle is loaded. Therefore, consider the following optimizations when building a client-side rendered site:

  • Minimizing critical JavaScript
  • Using server-side rendering
  • Using pre-rendering

FID: make the interface of your website responsive 

FID measures the time from the moment a user first interacts with a page (clicking a link, tapping a button or using a custom JavaScript-controlled control) to the moment the browser processes the event in response to the interaction. 

If the interaction is very slow and there is no confirmation for the visitor that something is going to happen, this can affect the user experience. 

In essence, the FID can be seen as a subjective measure of user frustration. It differs per visitor how annoying they find it before an action occurs when they have searched for interaction by, for example, clicking a button or sending a form. 

Of course Google has to draw a line here and they have set this at a delay of one tenth of a second (100ms). So for a good score on First Input Delay you have to make sure that in 75% of the page visits there is 100 milliseconds or less delay between an interaction on your page and the result thereof.

Solutions that can help you with this:

  • Visually show that something is being processed
  • Limit the loading time of third-party codes such as Google
  • Shorten the JavaScript execution time
  • Minimize the main thread work
  • Keep the number of requests low and the transfer formats small

CML: don’t let the layout of your website shift during loading

Shifts in the layout of a website can be very distracting. Nothing is more annoying for the experience of the visitor when suddenly all elements on the page shift when fully loaded. 

Often these shifts are caused when visible elements are forced to move because another element has been added to the page or its format has changed.

Ultimately, the CML measures the instability of content due to shifts that do not occur within 500 ms of user interaction. It looks at how many visible elements have shifted and at the distance by which the elements have shifted.

Google sees the CLS as a very important metric for user friendliness, and this applies especially to the mobile phone. A mobile screen is in fact very small, so a shift in the layout soon has a huge impact. 

The most common causes of a bad CLS are:

  • Images and advertisements without dimensions. Make sure you specify the height and width of the images and/or advertisements. Reserve enough space for this in advance and take a good look at what the elements look like on the page.
  • Dynamically implemented content. For example, an arrow pointing to relevant content after the user clicks a button. Make sure the arrow is loaded within 500 ms to meet a good CLS score. 
  • Webfonts cause FOOT / ERROR
  • Actions waiting for a network response before updating DOM

How do I check if my website complies with the Core Web Vitals?

There are several ways to check how your website is doing with respect to the Core Web Vitals. In the tool list below a distinction between field, lab and Javascript tools is made. 

Field tools (measuring real-time data)

Javascript tools (very accurate for measuring Core Web Vitals but requires knowledge to implement them)

Lab tools (lab measurements are the best way to test the performance of functions during development) 

The Core Web Vitals keep developing

With Google’s constantly changing search algorithm, it is expected that many more future improvements and additions will be made to the Core Web Vitals.

We recommend that you keep a close eye on updates from Google and optimize your website based on the information about the current Core Web Vitals in this article.


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