Fix On Fail

I’ve brought a concept from big corporate IT over into my small business at WPDude.com and that is fix on fail.

I offer a fix on fail service to my maintenance plan clients in this post I want to explain what fix on fail is and how it applies to a WordPress site.

What Is Fix On Fail?

As I’ve already mentioned fix on fail is a concept I first learned during my corporate IT days, I used to work in massive corporate datacentres as a Microsoft Systems engineer, building massive networks of computers.

We would have plans to develop and build new installations but we also had to build in a lot of slack for the inevitable fix on fail, that is fix the stuff when it breaks.

This is the most stressful part of the work, when the brown stuff hits the oscillating, rotating desk top device that is where you earn your money.

Fix on fail is recovering a server / site / service when it crashes.

The Real Reason Our Maintenance Plan Exists

Backups and updates for your WordPress site are all very good, but the real reason the plan exists is to cover you in the eventuality that your site crashes and you don’t have the technical skills to get it back online.

That is when we fix the failure.

Activating Fix On Fail

Fingers crossed our monitoring of your site will tell us if the site has crashed, but sometimes fix on fail is require when the site is up but functionality is down, for example your site is up but the e-commerce plugin has crashed.

We give our clients access to an emergency email address which raises a call in our helpdesk where we take over and get the site back online.

Our Trouble Shooting Process

We have a trouble shooting process so we can step through an issue in a standard process.  Fix on fail is stressful so we need a standard process to ensure we don’t break the site further and get you back online ASAP, while our inbox is in melt down from a stressed out client.

The process is

  • Take a backup as is so we can always roll back
  • Deactivate all plugins and themes
  • Activate debugging
  • Collect any errors or warnings
  • Slowly step through each layer to identify what caused the issue
  • Bring site back online by eliminating problematic component
  • Fix or replace problematic component

Fix Or Restore

The beauty of our maintenance plan is we have multiple restore points so we can always get your site back online, but I prefer a fix rather than restore.

An old mentor told me you are only as good as your last backup, I drill this into my team we check your backup and ensure we can recover your site.


Some examples of fix on fails we have done for our clients:

  • Plugin clashes – a clients portfolio images were not showing up, we found a plugin clash and fixed it
  • Memory issues – a site was throwing an error due to limited memory, we increased the memory level
  • Site hacked – we had a clients who’s site was hacked due  to a back-door we detected it and removed malware
  • White Screen of death – we see this all the time new components, theme issues all cause the white screen of death, troubleshooting kicks in
  • .htaccess issues – plugins added rogue code into the .htaccess config file of a client we troubleshoot and fixed it
  • WordPress Updates – the latest WordPress update has caused massive issues with certain themes we recoded javascripts to fix problems
  • Rollbacks – a client made some changes that were not successful we rolled back our backup archive
  • Comment issues – too many spam comments filled the database

Wrap Up

If you need the security of a fix on fail solution for your WordPress site please consider taking out our maintenance plan.

Photo Credit: buistbunch via Compfight cc

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