Has your WordPress site suddenly shut down? Getting intimidating error messages or (even worse) an empty white screen?
Don’t panic! There’s a good chance you can fix it yourself, without wasting time with tech support.
These are four of the most common technical problems WordPress users run into, and easy solutions to get your site back up and running as soon as possible.
White Screen of Death
Just a blank screen. No website, no error message, just… nothing.
It’s a shock to the nerves, but the dreaded “White Screen of Death” is a relatively common problem for WordPress users.
The WSOD is annoying to solve because it doesn’t give you any information about the problem, and it might have several causes. Most likely, it’s due to an incompatibility with a theme or plugin.
- Disable your plugins by logging into your server via FTP and renaming the plugins directory plugins_old or something. If this gets your site back, reactivate them by returning to the original name. Go through the plugins and deactivate them by renaming one by one until you find the one that’s causing the problem.
- If disabling the plugins directory didn’t fix your site, go to /wp-content/themes and rename your active theme folder. This will cause WordPress to revert to the default theme (Twenty Twelve, Twenty Eleven, etc. depending on your version).
You can also try increasing the memory limit within the wp-config.php file.
“Error establishing a database connection”
This means WordPress can’t access your database, where all your content is stored. It’s usually a problem with faulty credentials inside wp-config.php, which stores all the login information (database name, username, password and server) from installation.
- Check the details in wp-config.php for errors. You can find it in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
- If you get this error when trying to access /wp-admin, go to wp-config.php and add the following line:
define (‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true) ;
This will allow you to run different types of repair on the database.
- If you think your site might have been hacked, run a security check.
- If none of these solutions work, contact your hosting provider. The problem might be on their side.
Internal Server Error
This error message is usually caused either by theme/plugin incompatibility issues, PHP memory limits exceeded, or corrupted .htaccess files.
Before anything else, try just refreshing the page a few times, clearing your browser cache and opening the page in a new browser. If that doesn’t work, try these solutions.
- Find the .htaccess file via FTP and rename it .htaccess_old or whatever you want, to disable it. Refresh the website. If it works, the file was corrupted. Save your settings on your WordPress dashboard and it will generate a new .htaccess
- Reset your permissions to 755 for folders and 644 for files.
- Isolate your plugins, as for the WSOD.
- If some of your core files are corrupted, download the latest version of WordPress and upload the new wp-admin and wp-includes folders via FTP. (Important: don’t upload wp-content as you’ll lose your whole content folder!)
Can’t upload image files
When you try to upload an image, you might get an error message saying something like, “Unable to create directory /wp-content/uploads/.” This is almost always due to setting the wrong file permissions on your upload folder.
These will prevent WordPress from accessing your images.
To resolve this, first deactivate and reactivate your plugins, in case they are causing a conflict.
If the problem persists, go into the uploads folder within wp-content, right-click and choose File Permissions. From here, set the uploads directory itself to permission level 744 and the files to 644. (Change the directory to 755 if it still doesn’t work.
These are probably the most common and frustrating WordPress problems. The solutions, as you can see, are often much simpler than you might think. Usually, once you find out what’s causing the problem, the battle is half won.