WordPress OpenHook 3 Plugin Broke my Thesis Theme

OpenHook WordPress Plugin for Thesis
Share Button

Recently the OpenHook plugin for the Thesis theme was totally rewritten as the OpenHook Customizations Manager plugin. Since then, many people are reporting issues. Part of it may be a learning curve on our part. In some cases, there are incompatibilities that are difficult to identify and resolve. This is a great plugin that makes it easy to add HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and even PHP code into your Thesis theme without having to manually edit your custom.css or custom_functions.php files. If you’re about to upgrade from a version 2.x OpenHook to a version 3.x (or if you’ve upgraded and run into issues), you may want to read this first.

The OpenHook Customizations Manager

After you install and activate version 3.x of the WordPress OpenHook Customizations Manager, you’ll have a new menu option called “Thesis Hooks” under the “Thesis” option in your WordPress panel. Clicking on this option, opens the new configuration panel. The first thing that you need to do here is to configure OpenHook for Thesis.

As in the screenshot above, you need to do three things on this screen.

  1. Next to “Active action groups” check Thesis.
  2. Save your changes.
  3. If you’re upgrading from a version 2.x of OpenHook, click on the “Upgrade from OpenHook 2” button.

That should take care of the installation and if you’re fortunate, you’ll be good to go. Unfortunately for me, I immediately started noticing problems with the upgrade.

When Upgrading a Plugin Breaks Something

After upgrading OpenHook (from 2.3.2 to 3.3.1) I noticed that two strange things occurred when I was on individual blog posts:

  1. Clicking on my banner graphic did not take me to the home page.
  2. My navigation menu was missing when I was on my home page.

Since I had created a backup before upgrading my plugins, I could have restored it. However, I knew that the OpenHook plugin was the cause of my problems and deactivating it verified that. So, my choices were to either remove the offending plugin and reinstall a 2.x version or reevaluate what I was using this plugin for.

Going back through the Excel spreadsheet that I maintain for this blog, I verified that at this time, I was only using hooks that affected my sidebars. Since it’s always a good idea to eliminate unnecessary plugins, I decided to copy the code that was currently in my “hooks” and instead use text widgets to recreate the elements. (I had been using hooks for the code for my subscribe buttons, my Facebook social plugin and my Alexa and Blogger badges.)

Recreating the Code in Text Widgets

After determining that the issue had been caused by the upgrade to OpenHook, I followed these steps:

  • I reactivated the OpenHook plugin.
  • I copied the code from each of the hooks that I was using and pasted the code into Notepad++. (Read below for why I use a plain text editor.)
  • I created text widgets by copying the code from Notepad++ and pasting it into the text widgets.

I mentioned using the Notepad++ text editor for my code. In general, it’s advisable to use a plain text editor when you’re working with code such as HTML, CSS, PHP or javascript. The problem with using a word processor such as Microsoft Word is that it inserts code of its own. Sometimes, their proprietary coding wreaks havoc with the code that you’re working with. Notepad++  is free open source software that runs on Microsoft Windows. (Can anyone recommend an editor for Mac users? Thanks!)

Most likely, my issue is a conflict between the OpenHook Customizations Manager plugin and another plugin on my site. It could possibly be a configuration issue. Up until I encountered this issue, I had been very happy with this plugin. However, sometimes, plugins no longer fill our needs and I’m fortunate to have easily resolved my issues. (Unlike the time the W3 Total Cache plugin broke my Thesis design and even a complete restore of my website didn’t resolve my issues.)

Let’s hear from you. Have you encountered problems upgrading WordPress plugins that previously worked? Do you have systems in place to help you troubleshoot problems with your website? What other tips and experiences can you share?

Share Button

Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

58 thoughts on “WordPress OpenHook 3 Plugin Broke my Thesis Theme”

  1. I think you have some peace of mind by having a backup for starters. I was wondering if there could some how be a server filter causing an issue. I have had issues with plugins and had to painstakingly undo them to find the culprit. Setting up a blog is just one aspect to internet marketing you still have to drive traffic to the site socially and organically for starters. I would recommend to anyone interested in online marketing to take a look at the University of San Francisco’s digital marketing courses curriculum to gain perspective.

    1. Hi Dean,
      Having a backup does provide some peace of mind. Unfortunately, I once had a plugin that broke my Thesis theme and neither restoring my database or my entire website resolved the issue. After researching the issue, I learned that others had experienced the same thing and the only solution was to recreate the design settings. Later, I realized that Thesis has a way to export and then upload the entire design but I was unaware of that at the time. One thing about computers is they keep us on our toes! 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

  2. Thank you this is a great awareness call. I was even planning to upgrade into the OpenHook 3 but now I’ve changed my mind. But hoping that someone out there can work around this problem, I will gladly upgrade. Thanks for the post!

    1. You’re welcome John. I uninstalled OpeHook. So, I have no idea of knowing if this issue has been resolved. Plugins are so tricky because they can sometime conflict with other plugins as well as not being compatible with certain themes. That’s why it is so important to backup your blog first and then install/upgrade and test. I like to upgrade on weekends when there’s less website traffic too. That way, if something does go awry, I can try to get it fixed before Monday morning.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

  3. I hate it whenever a plugin breaks something. I mean, I get headaches every time a link or something gets broken because of a plugin. Thank you for posting this one. I was hesitant to use the Thesis because I don’t know what may go wrong after using it.

  4. Most Word­Press themes require you to edit the actual theme files — or cre­ate child themes — to cus­tomize your site. That’s a has­sle, espe­cially when it comes to upgrading.

  5. Hey Sherryl,

    Plugin issues are the pits! I like reading about how you resolve your plugin issues. I don’t use Thesis but it’s always good to know what to look out for and how to fix glitches just in case I’m asked. And in case you ever need other ways to wrangle the most out of Thesis, have you heard about Hesham’s Thesis Awesome offerings?

    NotePad++ is one of the text editors I use, too, mainly on my laptop. (I’m a Linux user on my desktops so I use a couple of text editors for Linux, too, namely Gedit for writing and Bluefish for CSS and HTML.)

    I’ve written about a couple of plugin-hell episodes: W3 Cache, some other caching plugin, and Jetpack Stats. The latest version of Digg Digg caused some sharebar issues, similar to what you describe, but I uninstalled it within minutes of installing it. 🙂

    1. Hi Vernessa,
      Thanks for dropping by! Hesham is amazing. When I was beta testing CommentLuv Premium, I ran into a bug that I couldn’t resolve. Andy Bailey directed me to Hesham and he was able to fix it for me. I bought his product skin for landing pages. He definitely is a great resource for bloggers who use Thesis.

      You’re a Linux user? I’m impressed! I knew you were a techie but I didn’t realize that you used Linux. Thanks for the suggestion for editors. I’m not familiar with either of them.

      I had a plugin-hell episode with W3TC too and ended up having to reenter my Thesis design. That was a worse scenario than this one. I failed to check my site in IE after I upgraded Digg Digg. Thankfully, Jeannette alerted me to it. I always check in Chrome and Firefox but I forgot IE. In the past, I ran into issues with Share Bar and IE 8. I don’t even have version 8 to test on. Thankfully, people let me know. As for Digg Digg, I got an email from the author acknowledging that there are still some unresolved issues with the upgrade that they’re working on.

  6. Forgot to mention, that most of the sites that are hacked these days are via WP plugins.

  7. I think Matt from WordPress needs to set up standards as to the type of plugins that are allowed on the Directory. That way bloggers who are not so tech savvy can simply download and use the WP Plugins without having to wonder if they are safe and so on.

  8. I find Notepad ++ is really a great tool with various language options such as php,xml,html etc. It’s a must when working on these complex customization. It helps to save lot of time investigating what went wrong and that no html element is orphaned etc.

  9. I heard a lot about OpenHook plugin from my friends but I couldn’t find its description and opportunity to download it. Thanks a lot for sharing and giving such an opportunity

  10. I find upgrading always a scary operation. I had to learn the hard way to make sure I use a limited number of plugins. When you are your own IT department it’s not funny when things go boom.
    Thanks for the heads-up on this one!

  11. I use the Flexx theme. I know people laud Thesis but it seems complicated to me. However, on the subject of plugins, they can be very ornery. If you install a new one, or update an existing plugin it can throw off others already installed. Same as updating version of WP you are using. I wait to see (or I should say my tech consultant) what problems are reported before updating. Saved a lot of headaches that way!
    Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding recently posted..The 5 Essential Qualities for a Technologist’s Personal BrandMy Profile

    1. Thesis has a bit of a learning curve but it’s powerful and once you figure it out, it’s not difficult. There’s also an abundance of resources available for it. There are themes, tutorials and many people who are really expert using it.

      Good for you for having a tech consultant. I’m my own tech support. 🙂 Every once in a while though, I miss the days when I had a department of techies in the next room. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and comment Jeannette.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Can You Do if Restoring Your WordPress Backup Doesn’t Work?My Profile

  12. I was able to fix the non-clickable banner after upgrading to OpenHook 3 by finding the thesis_hook_header hook and clicking on Save Changes without changing anything. The asterisk before the hook name in the list went away and my banner became clickable again.

    I’m not sure why OpenHook behaves this way, but it seems to work.

    I hope that helps.

  13. Hi Julie,
    In a previous comment, Marc mentioned that he encountered the same issue that I did with the banner graphic in Thesis. (After installing OpenHook, clicking the banner graphic won’t take you to the home page.) It sounds like that’s the only issue he had with it. In my reply to Marc, I directed him to the forum group where he could report the problem. Before you install it, you may want to check the messages to see if that has been fixed and if anyone else is having other problems. The forum is here: http://bit.ly/FOBDuf. Good luck!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Steps to Protect Your WordPress Blog from HackersMy Profile

  14. Thanks for the warning, I just wanted to install the OpenHook plugin, but I have Thesis, too. I’m afraid of being damaged, I think I’m going to wait with the plugin.

  15. Sherryl, I am new to this plugin of OpenHook but seriously in first view , I got little bit scared of it when saw the topic of incompatibility of it! But thanks to you for letting us see the step by step representation !! Thanks Sherryl!

    1. Hi Adrian,
      Most likely, my issues are due to a conflict between the new version of OpenHook along with the Thesis theme an possibly in combination with another plugin that I’m using. If you’ve already installed it and you’re not encountering any issues, that’s great! This article can serve as a things to look out for and what to do should you encounter an issue with any plugin. Thanks for taking the time to join the discussion.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Could Your Business Survive if Something Happened to You?My Profile

  16. Hey Sherryl,

    Girl, I got online the other morning and my header was gone. I was thinking what the heck. That’s when I learned that this recent upgrade really did a number on me.

    Thank goodness I didn’t have too many other things set up in there but it took me awhile to get that back up because I forgot the size that I had originally set it up.

    I just decided not to use it because it was way too confusing to figure out. Now that I know you’re a pro with this, I’ll have to rush over here and ask you when and if I decide to set it back up.

    Thanks for this scoop Miss Openhook Queen! 🙂

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend Sherryl!

    Adrienne recently posted..Facebook Fan Page Tips And TricksMy Profile

    1. Hi Adrienne,
      I’m surprised at how many people this plugin affected. When I wrote this post, I didn’t expect many comments. I thought people would read the title and not be able to relate to it.

      If you’re managing fine without this plugin, I don’t know if I would want to re-install it. I still want to make changes/improvements to my blog but if possible, I’d like to do it without having to install more plugins.

      Feel free to ask away. If I don’t know the answer, I’m really good at Googling and finding solutions.

      You have a nice weekend too!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Can You Do if Restoring Your WordPress Backup Doesn’t Work?My Profile

    1. Hi Catarina, I’m not nearly as savvy as the authors of these plugins. I know how to troubleshoot and resolve issues. It’s a skill that I developed years ago. Years ago, I was a beta tester for Microsoft Windows 3.1. (Now, that’s showing my age!) Being a beta tester for vendors like Microsoft was a thankless job. The most rewarding beta testing I was ever involved in was for a software vendor who was developing a very specific product that our non-profit organization needed. By beta testing for them, I was able to influence product development and ensure that our most critical needs were met. That was a rewarding effort.

      Neither you nor Ileane should ever feel stupid! You both know so much more about your niches than I do. No one can know everything and the ones who pretend they do are the people I avoid. 🙂

  17. Hi Sherryl, I am also using thesis on my blog but do not use Openhook Plugin. It is good in start when I was trying to get my hand around thesis, but not in longer run.
    Also in Thesis 1.8.4, there is lot of addition to custom file editor so we can edit it from the admin panel easily, Have you tried that yet?

    1. It was time that I stopped using OpenHook too. It was great when I first started learning Thesis but I certainly don’t need it at this point. I have not upgraded to Thesis 1.8.4. I had read a warning by a blogger who I respect to hold off for a while. Based on how many issues I’ve run into with plugins and Thesis I’m not in any hurry. I look forward to seeing the changes to the editor. Thanks for letting me know. Did the upgrade go smoothly for you or did you hit any glitches?
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Can You Do if Restoring Your WordPress Backup Doesn’t Work?My Profile

      1. Ohh I am also waiting, the skin which I am using has not been upgraded to 1.8.4. Though I am trying it on my local installation and it is great.

  18. Sherryl,
    Thank you for this article! I too have had plugins, even my favorite ones, break something. I become too eager to implement the newest and best and then have to go figure out what was broken. Thanks for the “heads up,” especially since I use Thesis and OpenHook!

    1. Hi Deborah, Hopefully the upgrade will go smoother for you. I think I’d wait a while though and let the dust settle a little. You might want to go in now and copy the code for all of your hooks into a new document. One of the things that happens with the upgrade is that instead of seeing one screen with all of the hooks (and code), you now are presented with a drop-down menu. So, if you’re looking for your code, you have to open one hook at a time. Then you could copy it. There are a lot of hooks and that can be time consuming especially if you haven’t kept track of which ones you’re using. I think a document could really come in handy.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Ping Your Website Blog and When Not ToMy Profile

  19. I am using Genesis, but I’ve downloaded a plugin to help me add code to Gensis, much like your OpenHook plugin, hopefully I won’t experience the same problems. I’m backing up my blog daily, because I have experienced both being hacked and I have been doing things to my that broke everything as well 🙂

    It’s awesome that you’ve resolved the issue.

    1. Thanks Jens. It’s pretty scary sometimes dealing with plugin issues. I hate to say this but I once ran into an issue with the W3TC plugin. It really broke my Thesis design and restoring neither my SQL database nor my entire site worked. I had to rebuild the design. Thant was an unnerving experience but it ended well. If you’re interested in reading about it, you’ll find it here: http://bit.ly/v0aQ81

  20. Hi Sherryl,
    You’re good! I’m so glad to hear you resolved the issue.
    I’m using Thesis too but I don’t use the Open Hook plugin. I’m no where near as savvy as you when it comes to coding and I wouldn’t even know where to begin LOL.
    However, I do have the Thesis Awesome Blogskin from Hesham and that’s a big help for me in terms of customizing Thesis.
    One thing I’d like to add is how important it is to back up your blog especially when you have complicated plugins like Open Hook that need to be upgraded. I use BackupBuddy for that and it takes a full backup and provides a means to restore the blog as well, which most other back up plugins don’t have.
    Thanks for sharing the info Sherryl, enjoy your weekend.
    Ileane recently posted..My Routine for Blog Maintenance on Basic Blog TipsMy Profile

    1. Hi Ileane,
      I wish I had found a solution other than uninstalling it and entering the code elsewhere. The good thing is that I’m running one less plugin. I have a license to some of Hesham’s Awsome Blogskins but I don’t have any installed yet. My plan is to use them to build other sites but that’s still on my to-do list.

      You are so right about backing up and I’ve heard good things about BackupBuddy. It’s good to know that you like it too. I swear by Rochen Host. They’re more expensive than a lot of other hosting vendors ($8.95 a month) but I believe they’re worth it. They specialize in CMS software like WP and they have their own proprietary backup software called Rochen Vault. They back up twice per day (to an off-site server) and have restore points from the previous 30 days.

      Enjoy your weekend too Ileane and thanks so much for adding to the discussion.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

  21. I know it can be tempting to update a plugin or wordpress even more when you see the 1, 3, 5, etc. updates available in the dashboard. I used to update right away, but I am not so in a hurry to do so anymore. I like to wait a bit to see if other people talk about any problems or issues. Even then, I keep my fingers crossed and tell myself please work out right, and don’t mess up on me.
    Ray recently posted..Fighting WordPress SpamMy Profile

    1. Hi Ray,
      I always wait to upgrade too unless I’ve been warned that there’s an urgency due to a security update. The day that I upgraded OpenHook, I also upgraded Digg Digg at the same time and I ran into problems with that too (with Internet Explorer). Upgrading plugins is tricky. All it takes is a conflict with one plugin to cause an issue and tracking it down can be a challenge. Since I had updated more than one plugin, I deactivated all of them and that did not resolve either issue.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking SitesMy Profile

  22. Hi, you mentioned that “Clicking on my banner graphic did not take me to the home page” after upgrading to OpenHook 3. I’ve also noticed this. Do you have any idea of how to fix this without downgrading or uninstalling OpenHook?


    1. Hi Marc,
      I’m sorry but I don’t have any idea on how to resolve the issue. I searched for quite a while and couldn’t find anyone with this exact issue. Is your navigation menu showing up on your home page? That was the main reason that I uninstalled it.

      I hate to admit it but I did not post this issue to the forum group. (If I had continued using it, I would have but I have no way of testing it now.) You could try posting it here: http://bit.ly/FOBDuf. This upgrade was a big one and there are bound to be some bugs. The author is actively trying to resolve any issues. So, I’m sure he’d appreciate your input. Good luck!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Ping Your Website Blog and When Not ToMy Profile

      1. Thanks, Sherryl. I posted to the OpenHook forum on this topic. Hopefully the author replies.

        Thanks again!

  23. Hi Rick,
    I think what happens is that most people don’t go to the official pages for plugins. We’re usually either taking the “update automatically” or the “Add New” option from the plugins page in our WP admin panel.

    Your plugin is very easy to figure out actually. I only included a screenshot to make my post more interesting. If I hadn’t run into a glitch with Thesis after installing it, I wouldn’t have even written a post on OpenHook. This is such a specific issue that there won’t be much written on it but I think it does serve a specific need. Good luck with the plugin! OpenHook served me well for nearly two years.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Ping Your Website Blog and When Not ToMy Profile

  24. I appreciate the write up — it seems to be getting retweeted quite a bit — but it does disappoint me that such posts are necessary. How to upgrade gracefully from OpenHook 2.x.x to 3.x.x was already explained on the OpenHook plugin page at WordPress.org & the official OpenHook page.

    Lessons learned for future updates, which will make OpenHook even more enjoyable to use.
    Rick Beckman recently posted..Some Conditions ApplyMy Profile

  25. Dear Sherryl,

    I’m glad to hear you were both able to note the cause of the problem and also going around it. You sure are a Geek 🙂

  26. Sherryl, I also use Thesis and I also had the exact same problem with parts of my theme breaking. My web designer was too busy to deal with it, so after four days I finally figured out what you have above and was able to fix nearly all of the problems that happened when I “upgraded” to the latest version of the plugin. But for four days my sites looked weird and unprofessional.

    I would have been much better off if I had not upgraded the plugin, and I certainly would have appreciated being informed about what the plugin would do to my site and what I’d have to do to fix it. I don’t know if the plugin is officially endorsed by Thesis or not, but Thesis definitely has my e-mail address, and the info could have been put on the plugin update page.

    I’m not a techie or a coder, and I don’t want to feel like I need to be one if I’m going to use a Thesis site.

    1. John, I had no idea there was an issue with this plugin until I installed it. At the same time that I upgraded OpenHook, I upgraded Digg Digg and that caused issues too. (Thankfully, Jeannette Paladino alerted me that my share buttons were suddenly appearing on top of my content in Internet Explorer.) So, for a while, I intermittently had sharing turned on and off while I searched for a solution to that one. I ended up reinstalling an older version of Digg Digg. This problem of floating share buttons over my content is not new to me. I had the same issue with Sharebar and IE 8. So, I’m definitely beginning to run into issues with Thesis and plugins. It’s so frustrating to have to spend time resolving issues. I should be grateful that I’m not depending on someone else to fix them.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

  27. I’ve been searching on how to install OpenHook plugin and I’m glad I came across this. I really hope I wouldn’t encounter any problems during my upgrade. By the way, you can use TextWrangler as Notepad++ for Mac OS X.

  28. “manually edit your custom.css or custom_functions.php files” – Seems like it’s much easier to learn how to edit those! I use as few plugins as possible, and the ones I do tend to be the simpler ones. I like how you addressed the problem like a detective to get your blog functioning again.

    I see BBEdit for the Mac now costs $99. There’s a version of Coffee Cup HTML editor for the Mac that a client just downloaded for free.
    Leora Wenger recently posted..Facebook Business Pages by Marina GolikovaMy Profile

    1. I agree with you Leora. OpenHook was one of the first plugins that I installed when I was learning Thesis. I don’t need it any longer and I should have removed it over a year ago. It is a very handy tool when you’re new to blogging, Thesis and coding. I knew how to code and the thought of a shortcut that eliminated the risk of really messing up my core files was tempting.

      I’ve heard of both BBEdit and Coffee Cup. Thanks for the tips. I’m sure someone reading this will find them helpful.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Should CommentLuv Premium be Part of Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

Comments are closed.