The problem(s): With some upgrades of the WordPress 2.5 branch, the Popularity Contest WordPress plugin is not working properly. Also, people trying to activate the Popularity Contest plugin on a brand new WordPress install are getting a fatal error or a “doesn’t exist” message when attempting to activate the plugin.

The solution(s): I actually ran into this problem on a fresh install of WordPress. After several attempts, I was unable to figure out the problem myself. Thankfully, a quick Google search showed a post over at WPGuy which gave details on fixing both problems!

Here is what you need to know if you have this problem:

Fix problems with the upgrade to WordPress 2.5

Open your Popularity Contest plugin (edit it) and search for this code:


And replace it with this:


Fix problems with a new install of WordPress 2.5

In addition to doing the above, you need to search for the following code:

if (isset($_GET['activate']) && $_GET['activate'] == 'true') {

And replace it with this:

if (isset($_GET['action']) && $_GET['action'] == 'activate') {

I went through both of these steps on my fresh WordPress install and it fixed the problem perfectly!

  1. P7 says:

    Thanks, I was looking to fix this for quite sometime. P7

  2. Remkus says:

    I was looking for the answer to it just as well, but it did absolutely nothing for me. I tried to use both hacks but all I ended up with was an error message: Table ‘corpblogwp.wp_ak_popularity_options’ doesn’t exist on line: 124

    No clue, whatsoever :S

  3. It’s sad that a lot of Alex King plugins are no longer supported leaving all of us hanging dry. I have packaged this fix and a fix to make Popularity Contest cacheable here. I’ve notified Alex of these fixes and hopefully he can incorporate these fixes into his next release of Popularity Contest.

  4. Susan says:

    Awesome, I didn’t know about the 2nd part you added. This is great, thanks for this!

  5. Keith Dsouza says:

    This is a great tip, I was hoping for the author of the plugin to update the plugin but this definitely saved me a lot of hassles.

  6. Leland says:

    I thought my popularity contest was broken because of the WP-SuperCache, not because of WP 2.5. Guess it’s because of both! Thanks for the post.

  7. @Leland
    You’re welcome. Please feel free to provide any feedback you have.

  8. Kyle Eslick says:

    Glad everyone found this post useful. Like I said above, I only found it because I was having the same problems.

    I know Alex is busy, but it would indeed be great if someone took over supporting his plugins? He has a few that are almost required with any WordPress install.

  9. @Kyle Eslick
    I would love to take over support for Popularity Contest as I already learned a lot of its internals, but the last time I chatted with him, it seems like he’s not ready to let it go yet. The only thing I can do is maybe come up with a better statistics plugin and publish that instead.

  10. wang adsense says:

    Great, I been a while since my site lost their popular post.
    Thanks for the guide.

  11. Chicken Say says:

    Thanks for the tip…i was going to fix it myself but lazy to read thru the code again…luckily i found this page… 😛

  12. Chris says:

    I’ve changed both lines of code but still can’t get it to work under WordPress 2.6.3

    Any ideas will help.

  13. Ed Torres says:

    Same problem here with WordPress version 2.6.3.

    Besides the changes suggested here I also created a php.ini file at wp-admin folder and added this following line: memory=20MB (due to memory limitations of my ISP).

    I am getting this following error:

    “It was not possible to activate the plugin due to a fatal error.”

  14. Adrian R. says:

    Yup, the same problem for me with WordPress 2.6.3. Any idea how to solve it?

  15. Guillermo says:

    Better to use the ABSPATH constant provided by WordPress:


    so that the WP files can reside inside a directory.

  16. Guillermo says:

    I patched popularity contest using the proposed fix. This plugin is running in WPMU. It seems to work, but the error_log file in the plugins directoy of WPMU contains hundreds of lines like:

    [09-Dec-2008 13:07:40] PHP Fatal error: require() [function.require]: Failed opening required ‘../wp-blog-header.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in /home1/webdir/public_html/wp-content/plugins/popularity-contest.php on line 59

    I fixed it like this:


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