We love WordPress because it’s open-source and free to use, but we’d be lyin’ if we said it didn’t drive us crazy sometimes.
If you run into a problem on WordPress, where do you turn? Luckily, there are over 60 million website owners using WordPress, so someone is bound to run into the same issue as you.
WordPress is almost two decades old (which in computer years is a lot) so there are tons of resources to check out. From forums to blog posts to tutorials to videos, you are just one search away from the solution to your WordPress error.
We’ve decided to tackle the most common WordPress problems and provide some easy solutions. Check them out below!
1. Error Establishing a Database Connection
“Error establishing a database connection” is a database-related error that happens when your website is unable to connect to your database.
Solution: Open the wp-config.php file and check your database credentials. Make sure your database credentials are inputted correctly including database username, database password, and database host. An “Error establishing a database connection” usually occurs when these details are inputted incorrectly or have been modified.
If everything looks correct, or you haven’t modified anything recently, check with your web host. Your server may be down, or you may have exceeded your database quota.
2. White Screen of Death
The White Screen of Death, or WSoD, is when you type in your website URL and all you see is an empty, white screen.
Solution: The WSoD is often caused by theme and plugin incompatibility, PHP code errors, memory limit exhaustion, or a server configuration error.
If the front end of your website is not displaying, but the back end is working fine, most likely a faulty plugin or theme is the culprit. Begin by deactivating one plugin at a time and see if the problem still persists. If the plugins are not the issue, perform the same test with your theme.
If the problem remains, it could be a bad piece of code causing the issue. If you recently changed a line of code, revert it back to the old code. If you don’t remember what you changed, you will have to revert back to a WordPress backup. This is why it’s so important to not edit code on your live production site (and use a staging server instead), as well to have backups in place in case anything happens.
If you’re still having trouble, reach out to your developer or web host to look into the server side of things.
3. Connection Timed Out
If you’re seeing a “Connection Timed Out” message, it means your website is trying to do more than your server can handle. This error message is common in shared hosting environments where memory is limited.
Solution: You can also try the plugin/theme check and deactivate each one by one to see if it’s causing the issue.
If this doesn’t help, you will have to try increasing the memory limit of your wp-config.php file. If you’re on a shared hosting plan you will have to contact your web hosting company to do this.
4. Maintenance Mode Error
When WordPress updates or when you update it yourself, it temporarily makes a .maintenance file which will display the message: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” This file may have not been removed properly after the upgrade if the message does not disappear after a moment.
Solution: Log in to your WP root file via cPanel or FTP and locate the .maintenance file and delete it.
5. 500 Internal Server Error
If you get a “500 Internal Server Error” page you most likely have a corrupt .htaccess file or a conflicting plugin or theme. PHP memory limits can also cause a “500 Internal Server Error” occasionally.
Solution: Log in to your WP root file via cPanel or FTP and locate the .htaccess file. Rename it to .htaccess_old and see if this has resolved the issue. If this works, make sure to visit WordPress Settings > Permalinks and reset your permalinks afterward to generate a new .htaccess file.
If this doesn’t work, try deactivating all of your plugins and/or switching your theme to see if one of these is causing the error. You can do this through cPanel or FTP if you can’t access your WordPress backend.
If all else fails, contact your hosting company to increase your PHP limit.
6. Changes are not Appearing on Your Site
If you’re making changes to your website but you do not see the changes displaying in your browser, try clearing your browser’s cache. If you’ve made a small change to your website and your browser doesn’t think it’s significant, it will load the page’s data from the older version of cache. The way you clear your browser’s cache depends on the browser you are using. With Google Chrome, it’s called “Clear Browsing Data.”
For more information and solutions on WordPress errors, visit the WordPress Codex.
Thanks for checking out our blog post on simple solutions to common WordPress errors! If we’re missing any, let us know in the comments below!