As WordPress is free software and many of the plugins and themes that are available for it are also free, it can be tricky to know who to turn to when you have a problem. Buying commercial software or purchasing a new piece of computer hardware often includes access to an official support channel to use in the event of something going wrong or when the need for assistance or advice arises.
With open source software like WordPress and its plugins and themes, often no one is obligated to provide support for them, and when it is provided, it’s frequently out of the goodness of their heart, rather than because of legal or regulatory responsibilities.
While the WordPress community is very supportive of users and products that make up the ecosystem, getting the help you desire requires a bit of humility and a willingness to meet your helper halfway. More often than not, the people helping you with your problem are doing it on a voluntary basis. So in order to get the best results, try and be as courteous and informative as possible when asking for support.
By following these tips and advice, you should be able to increase your chances of getting a favourable outcome when you need WordPress support.
If there is something wrong with your self-hosted WordPress site, then your first port of call should probably be the user support forums hosted at WordPress.org. These are active forums that are divided into a number of categories or sub-forums.
If you want help with troubleshooting an error on your site, or find out how to do something with WordPress, this is the place to go. As these are free forums and are mainly contributed to by volunteers, it’s not a good idea to go in with all guns blazing, demanding an answer to your query.
In fact, the first thing you should do is search the forums to see if your issue has been raised and resolved before. If this is the case, you will save everybody’s time, including your own, by following the existing advice.
If you are the first person with your particular issue, then locate the most relevant sub-forum and ask your question. The more information you can provide, the more chance you will have of someone taking the time to respond to your query in a satisfactory way.
Guidelines can be found covering how to use the forms here. Once you’ve posted your query, avoid the temptation to bump the thread of repost your query. Doing so will not encourage anyone to respond to it any faster.
Free Plugin Support
If your issue is related to a specific free plugin that you have installed or downloaded from the WordPress repository, then you can also get support for it on the same forums. By visiting the plugin page on the repo, you can easily locate the dedicated support area for that plugin, under the support tab.
Again, it’s highly recommended that you browse or search the existing posts to look for a solution to your problem or query. If you can’t find one, then post a question in the same way as above, giving as much information as possible including what you are trying to do and what is actually happening. For an error that is occurring on a specific published post or page, posting a link to that page can be helpful for those trying to resolve your issue.
Premium Plugin and Theme Support
Any good commercial (not free) theme or plugin will come with some provisions for supporting its users and customers. This can vary depending on the product and may be offered in a number of forms. You should not ask for support for premium products on the WordPress.org support forums, as it is the responsibility of the vendor or developer to provide support, away from the free support forums.
While in many cases, the support for premium or commercial products and services is included in the price you pay, you should still try and be courteous, not only to get a better result but also because you are dealing with real people here who deserve your respect. If possible search forums and the user documentation for an answer, and when submitting a ticket, provide as much relevant information as you can.
Premium WordPress Support Services
If all else fails and you are unable to get a solution to your problem, there are a growing number of commercial services offering support for WordPress. Most of these services will not only provide you with the solution to your query, but will implement it themselves, accessing your site and fixing the problem, or making the required changes.
This includes both restorative intervention to bring back functionality to a faulty website, and making changes and upgrading the features of a WordPress site. Some services are offered on a monthly payment plan, while others can be hired at an hourly rate.
Here are some services you can turn to for help with your WordPress site in an emergency:
- WP Site Care: the ‘specialized plan’ at this WordPress maintenance service includes one hour support tickets.
- WP Curve: this team offer unlimited WordPress support and small jobs, for a monthly fee.
- WP Boys: emergency WordPress support on an ad hoc basis.
- N Habit: same day emergency support for WordPress
- Web Dev Studios: another emergency support service, charged at an hourly rate.
By using one of the above services, you can go a long way towards ensuring you get the support you need in a timely manner, should something go wrong or a change needs to be made to your site.
Using open source products that are available for free and don’t appear to be owned by anyone or officially supported, can be a little daunting. This is especially true when coming from a background of commercial and paid software. However, as many popular applications of this type, including WordPress have a large community of helpful users, getting an answer to your question is often much easier than you might think.
Where do you turn to when in need of support or advice for using WordPress?