Héctor Cabrera edited this page Oct 27, 2018 · 44 revisions

Frequently Asked Questions

I need help with your plugin! What should I do?

First thing is to read all the online documentation available (Installation, Usage, Wiki, and of course this section) as they should address most of the questions you might have about this plugin.

If you're still having problems with WPP, please try disabling all other plugins and then reenable them one at a time to check if any of them is causing a conflict. If that's not the case, try switching to a different theme for a moment and see the problem still persists. Checking the Support Forum is also a good idea as chances are that someone else has already posted something about it.

Remember: read first. It'll save you (and me) time.


Why WordPress Popular Posts?

The idea of creating this plugin came from the need to know how many people were actually reading each post. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn't keep views count data of your posts anywhere. Because of that -and since I didn't find anything that would suit my needs- I ended up creating WordPress Popular Posts: a highly customizable, easy-to-use WordPress plugin that keeps track of what's popular on your site so you can showcase it to your visitors!

How does the plugin count views / calculate the popularity of posts?

Since WordPress doesn't keep track of page views (only comments count), WPP will log them for you. When sorting popular posts by views, WPP will use the page views data it started caching since the moment you installed it to rank the top posts according to the settings you have configured in the plugin. WordPress Popular Posts can also rank the popularity of your posts based on comments count as well.

I'm getting "Sorry. No data so far". What's up with that?

There are a number of reasons that might explain why you are seeing this message:

  • Since WordPress Popular Posts' activation, no one has seen or commented on your posts/pages yet.
  • No one has seen or commented on your posts/pages within the configured Time Range, so go out there and promote your contents a bit to attract people to your site.
  • Your theme does not have the wp_head() tag in its <head> section, required by WPP to keep track of what your visitors are viewing on your site.
  • Do you have a caching plugin installed on your site? If so, you may need to flush/empty its cache once so WPP can insert its tracking script into the <head> section of your posts & pages. Also, while you're at it, please make sure you set your caching plugin to regenerate its cache at least once a day to make sure WordPress Popular Posts (and other plugins you may be using as well) can work with it (see Nonces and Cache Lifespan by WP Rocket for more details).
  • Are you using a security / firewall plugin? Chances are access to the REST API is restricted, preventing WordPress Popular Posts from keeping track of your site's pageviews. You need to allow WPP access to the REST API so it can do its thing (some plugins offer a feature to "whitelist" certain requests while keeping the REST API restricted / disabled, check with your security plugin developer if this is possible with their plugin).
  • WordPress Popular Posts was unable to create the necessary database tables to work, so please make sure your hosting has granted you permission to create / update / modify tables in the database.

My current theme does not support widgets (booooo!) Can I show my most popular posts in any other way?

Yes, there are other choices: you can use the wpp shortcode, which allows you to embed your popular listing directly in the content of your posts and/or pages; or you can use the wpp_get_mostpopular() template tag. Both options are highly customizable via parameters, check them out via wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Parameters.

WordPress Popular Posts is counting my own visits, why?

By default the plugin will register every page view from all visitors, including logged-in users. If you don't want WPP to track your own page views, please go to wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools and change the "Log views from" option from Everyone to your preferred choice.

I'm unable to activate the "Display post thumbnail" option. Why?

Please check that either the ImageMagick or GD extension is installed and enabled by your host.

How does WordPress Popular Posts pick my posts' thumbnails?

You can tell WPP to pick the thumbnail from either of the following options (available at wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools):

  • Featured Image (default).
  • First image on post.
  • First attachment.
  • Custom field.

If no images are found, the default thumbnail will be displayed instead.

I'm seeing a "No thumbnail" image, where's my post thumbnail?

Make sure you have assigned one to your posts (see previous question).

Is there any way I can change that ugly "No thumbnail" image for one of my own?

Fortunately, yes. Go to wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools and check under Thumbnail source. Alternatively, you can also just replace the image sitting on wp-content/plugins/wordpress-popular-posts/.

Ideally, the thumbnail you're going to use should be set already with your desired width and height - however, the uploader will give you other size options as configured by your current theme.

Where can I find the list of parameters accepted by the wpp_get_mostpopular() template tag / [wpp] shortcode?

You can find it via wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Parameters.

I want to have a popular list of my custom post type. How can I do that?

Simply type in your custom post type(s) (eg. book, recipe, etc) into the Post Type field from the widget (or if you're using the template tag / shortcode, use the post_type parameter).

How can I use my own HTML markup with your plugin?

If you're using the widget, simply activate the Use custom HTML markup option and set your desired HTML tags in conjunction with WPP's built-in Content Tags (see wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Parameters under post_html) and/or your own custom Content Tags to customize the look & feel of the popular listing.

If you're using the wpp_get_mostpopular() template tag and/or the [wpp] shortcode, use the parameters wpp_start, wpp_end and post_html to customize the output (see wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Parameters for documentation and examples).

A more advanced way to customize the HTML markup is via WordPress filters by hooking into wpp_custom_html or wpp_post. For details, please check the Filters page on the Wiki.

Here are a couple of examples on customizing the widget to get you started.

I would like to clear all data gathered by WordPress Popular Posts and start over. How can I do that?

If you go to wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools, you'll find two buttons that should do what you need: Clear cache and Clear all data. The first one just wipes out what's in cache (Last 24 hours, Last 7 Days, Last 30 Days, etc.), keeping the historical data (All-time) intact. The latter wipes out everything from WordPress Popular Posts data tables - even the historical data. Note that this cannot be undone so proceed with caution.

Can WordPress Popular Posts run on WordPress Multisite?

Starting from version 3.0.0, WPP checks for WordPress Multisite. While I have not tested it, WPP should work just fine (and if it doesn't, please let me know).

Can WordPress Popular Posts work with caching plugins (such as WP Super Cache)?

Yes, however you will need to:

  • Enable the Ajaxify widget feature (wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools, under Data) to keep the WPP widget from being cached;
  • Flush the cache of your caching plugin after installing or upgrading WPP;
  • Make sure that your caching plugin regenerates its cache at the very minimum once a day (WP Fastest Cache, for example, recommends having the cache expire twice a day). Otherwise, WPP will have problems updating the views count of your posts and pages.

Note that -as obvious as this might sound- this feature is only available for the widget, it doesn't work with the wpp shortcode nor the wpp_get_mostpopular() template tag.


Does your plugin include any CSS stylesheets?

Yes, WPP includes a stylesheet called wpp.css located at /wp-content/plugins/wordpress-popular-posts/public/css/. However, it doesn't include any predefined styles (well, almost).

Each time WordPress Popular Posts is updated the wpp.css stylesheet gets reset and I lose all changes I made to it. How can I keep my custom CSS?

Copying your modified wpp.css file into your theme's folder will prevent future plugin updates from overwriting it with the default wpp.css file.

How can I style my list to look like [insert your desired look here]?

Since this plugin does not include any predefined designs, it's up to you to style your most popular posts list as you like.

If you don't know HTML/CSS -or if don't feel like styling the list yourself-, you should consider hiring someone to do the job for you (and of course I'm available for freelance work).

I want to remove WPP's stylesheet. How can I do that?

You can disable the stylesheet via wp-admin > Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools.


What does "Title" do?

It allows you to show a heading for your most popular posts listing. If left empty, no heading will be displayed at all.

What is "Post type" for?

This filter allows you to decide which post types to show on the listing. By default, it will retrieve only posts and pages (which should be fine for most cases).

What is "Taxonomy" for?

This allows you to filter posts by a given taxonomy. You could for example have WPP list all popular posts that belong to category Development; or filter out those posts with a given tag.

To use it, simply add the ID(s) of the term(s) ID (eg. the category ID). A negative sign in front of the ID (eg. -25) will exclude posts that are associated to it from the listing. You can specify more than one ID with a comma separated list (eg. 24,3,-25).

To obtain the ID of your taxonomy -in case you don't know how to- you can use a plugin such as Reveal IDs by Oliver Schlöbe. It'll add an ID column to your Categories / Tags screen.

What is "Author ID(s)" for?

Similarly to the Taxonomy filter, this one lets you filter posts by author ID. You can specify more than one ID with a comma separated list (but unlike the Taxonomy filter, you can't exclude author with a minus sign... yet).

You can use a plugin like Reveal IDs to see the IDs of your users in the Users Screen of your dashboard.

What does "Display post rating" do?

If checked, WordPress Popular Posts will show how your readers are rating your most popular posts. This feature requires having WP-PostRatings plugin installed and enabled on your blog for it to work.

What does "Use custom HTML Markup" do?

If checked, you will be able to customize the HTML markup of your popular posts listing. For example, you can decide whether to wrap your posts in an unordered list, an ordered list, a div, etc.

For more details, check How can I use my own HTML markup with your plugin?


Is WordPress Popular Posts compatible with caching plugins?

Yes, generally speaking the plugin should work with most (if not all) caching plugins out there. However, note that:

  • You must set your caching plugin to regenerate / purge its cache at least once per day.
  • When you first install the plugin & after every update, clearing your caching plugin's cache is highly recommended to make sure WPP can insert its JS scripts into your posts & pages.
  • Some caching plugins include a JS minification/bundling feature. In some cases, this (the minification/bundling) isn't handled properly by said plugin and it might break WPP's ability to track your posts & pages so if you're using this feature make sure to keep an eye on WPP's Statistics page (Settings > WordPress Popular Posts) to make sure WPP is getting data. Fortunately, most plugins that offer this feature also include some sort of "exclusion" functionality that you can use to exclude WPP's scripts from being minified.

Is WordPress Popular Posts compatible with security / firewall plugins?

Yes, same as above.

However, WordPress Popular Posts relies on the REST API to do a few key things (keep track of pageviews, retrieve popular posts data to build the widgets, et cetera) so if you're restricting access to it the plugin won't be able to do its magic.

Some security plugins provide a way to "whitelist" access to the REST API while keeping it restricted / disabled to all non-authenticated requests. Check with your security plugin developer for details.

Does WordPress Popular Posts support other languages than english?

Yes, here's the complete list of supported languages.

I want to translate your plugin into my language / help you update a translation. What do I need to do?

First thing you need to do is get a gettext editor like Poedit to translate all texts into your language. You'll find a .pot file bundled with the plugin under the languages folder. Check this handy guide for more details.

Once you're done translating the plugin, move the resulting .po file to /wp-content/languages/plugins/ so the plugin can start using it.

If you're interested in sharing your translation with others, please consider helping update/maintain your locale.

I want your plugin to have X or Y functionality. Can it be done?

If it fits the nature of my plugin and it sounds like something others would like to have, there's a pretty good chance that I will implement it (and if you can provide some sample code with useful comments, much better).

Your plugin seems to conflict with my current Theme / this other Plugin. Can you please help me?

If the theme/plugin you're talking about is a free one that can be downloaded from somewhere, sure, I can try and take a look into it. Premium themes/plugins are out of discussion though, unless you're willing to grant me access to your site (or get me a legal/original copy of this theme/plugin) so I can check it out.

ETA for your next release?

Updates will come depending on my work projects (I'm a full-time web developer) and the amount of time I have on my hands. Quick releases will happen only when/if critical bugs are spotted.

I posted a question at the Support Forum and got no answer from the developer. Why is that?

Chances are that your question has been already answered either at the Support Forum, the Installation section or here in the FAQ section, so I've decided not to answer. It could also happen that I'm just busy at the moment and haven't been able to read your post yet, so please be patient.

Is there any other way to contact you?

The Support Forum is usually the best way to get in touch with me since I'm checking it constantly.

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