Tips and tricks on how to debug when working with 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.

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.


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.

Internal Server Error / Schema Won’t Load in GraphiQL

If you see an error that says "Internal Server Error" in the GraphQL response, this means something occurred during execution that caused an error. Not all errors are intended for public viewing as they can expose sensitive details about the system. To expose the errors, you can (https://docs.wpgraphql.com/guides/debugging/#graphql-debug)[enable GRAPHQL_DEBUG]:

One common reason for seeing the Internal Server Error response is when a Field or Type has been registered incorrectly.

For example, when registering a Field, a Type is required as part of the config. If a Type is not declared when registering a Field, an Internal Server Error will be thrown.

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

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. With this plugin 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 wp_send_json() within the resolver, and use GraphiQL to inspect the response.

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 ) {
      // This will send a JSON payload back to GraphiQL
      wp_send_json( [ $root, $args ]);
  ] );
} );

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  • GraphQL Debug
  • WPGraphiQL IDE
  • Internal Server Error / Schema Won’t Load in GraphiQL
  • Invalid Field
  • Valid Field
  • WPGraphQL Insights
  • Resolver not executing properly

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