3 Non-Conventional PHP Troubleshooting/Debugging Methods That Can Save You Hours

Pedro Sostre
Published in
6 min readJun 8, 2018


Let’s start this out by saying I am a self-taught developer. To many formally educated programmers/developers/engineers, I do lots of things wrong.

I’m a hacker of the #2 variety:

So while I didn’t go to code school or get a degree in IT, I have been hacking things together for about 20 years now and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. If I have to build something nowadays, PHP/MySQL is usually my go to.

I don’t know Ruby or Python. I hear they are easier to work with and they feature more verbose error reporting, but since over 80% of all websites are powered by PHP, I figure that being proficient at it probably isn’t a bad thing.

PHP’s Anti-Helpful Errors

One of the things that drives everyone crazy is PHP’s habit of dying and leaving absolutely no clue as to what went wrong. The White Screen of Death (WSOD).

The nefarious White Screen of Death

As an entrepreneur, I’ve hired and worked with lots of developers. While most of them are professionally educated, they can still get tripped up when they encounter a WSOD that isn’t resolved by the standard debugging methods.

Another fun fail that PHP gives us is the ever helpful 500 error. This is often a syntax error and looks like this:

In either case, error handling is traditionally poor in PHP. While the debugging tools you get in the Python downloader package are quite sufficient most of the time — you really have to get creative when it comes to debugging PHP.

Established troubleshooting methods

I’m not going to spend too much time stating the obvious. If you’re a programmer, you are already familiar with…



Pedro Sostre

Accelerating startups through Navigate.capital - I help early-stage founders launch better, grow faster, and raise smarter. Published Author & Speaker.

Recommended from Medium


See more recommendations