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Debugging WPGraphQL

Debugging GraphQL can be intimidating. Because GraphQL provides a single entry point to all kinds of data, it’s hard to know exactly how to begin debugging, as it seems like the kind of thing where either everything is working or nothing is working. 

Below are some tips to help with debugging.


One of the best ways to debug your WPGraphQL API (for now) is by using the WPGraphiQL IDE and the network tab in your browser (I prefer Chrome).

NOTE: Any time you register new fields, or modify your Schema in any way, it’s best to refresh the WPGraphiQL page in your WordPress dashboard to ensure your Schema is fresh with any changes.

Below are some situations you may come across and some tips on how to debug them. 

GraphQL Debug

When debugging WPGraphQL, in your wp-config.php you can add the following define( 'GRAPHQL_DEBUG', true ); and in some cases you will get more helpful debug messages returned with the response to your GraphQL requests.

Internal Server Error / Schema Won’t Load in GraphiQL

Sometimes you make a change to your Schema and you begin to get Internal server error responses and even refreshing WPGraphiQL won’t load your Schema. 

This typically occurs when a Field or Type has been registered incorrectly. 

For example, when registering a Field, a Type is required as part of the config. 

Invalid Field

add_action( 'graphql_register_types', function() {
  register_graphql_field( 'Post', 'invalidField', [
    'description' => __( 'Invalid field with no Type', 'your-textdomain' ),
  ] );

Valid Field

add_action( 'graphql_register_types', function() {
  register_graphql_field( 'Post', 'validField', [
    'type' => 'String',
    'description' => __( 'Valid field with a Type defined', 'your-textdomain' ),
  ] );

WPGraphQL Insights + Query Monitor

If you’re trying to debug performance issues and reduce the number of queries happening behind the scenes, we recommend activating the WPGraphQL Insights plugin along with Query Monitor. With these 2 plugins active, there will be a Query Log returned with the GraphQL response which can help identify potential performance problems or other issues. 

WPGraphQL Insights also returns trace information about each resolver so you can determine which resolvers are the slowest, which enables you to pinpoint bottlenecks. 

NOTE: The trace data returned by WPGraphQL Insights is compatible with the trace tracking provided by Apollo Engine

Resolver not executing properly

If you’re experiencing a field resolving differently then expected, one way to debug would be to var_dump within the resolver, and inspect with WPGraphiQL and your network tab. 

For example:

add_action( 'graphql_register_types', function() {
  register_graphql_field( 'RootQuery', 'debugField', [
    'type' => 'String',
    'description' => __( 'Field registered to demonstrate debugging', 'wp-graphql' ),
    'resolve' => function( $root, $args, $context, $info ) {
      var_dump( $root );
      var_dump( $args );
      var_dump( $context );
      var_dump( $info );
  ] );
} );

Then, inspect the request in the Network tab while using WPGraphiQL, as seen below:

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