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How To Fix The 15 Most Common WordPress Errors

wordpress errors

The last thing you want out of your website is an error that prevents it from working. You could be missing on sales and leads simply because of a minor glitch in the code or a broken plugin. Although WordPress is usually a stable system, sometimes problems can arise. A lot of the times, these issues are more human-related than anything. Here are 15 of the most common WordPress errors and how you can fix them.

1. Unable to Establish a Database Connection

connection error

This usually happens when the credentials for the database in WordPress are incorrect. However, it could also signify that something could be wrong with the server or perhaps corruption within the database itself. Verify that the database is indeed intact and that your login credentials match what the system has stored. Some developers will use backup databases to replace a corrupted one through recovery tools.

2. 404 Not Found on Posts

error 404

The 404 error is relatively easy to fix. This can happen when you change the permalinks of WordPress without changing the links pointing at the original URL. In most cases, you can go to the post in the WordPress editor to change the link of the post. Otherwise, you need to alter the HTML link to the post that is giving the error.  You can also create a cool 404 page in advance in case this error happens.

3. Locked Out of Admin

locked out of admin

If you find yourself locked out of the admin account, first try to recover the password from the WordPress login screen. If you don’t receive the recovery email, you may need to go into the phpMyAdmin control panel and reset the admin address. This could be the result of a hack. If you use cPanel, you may also have access to the “Quick Install” tool. From here, you can force a new password for the admin account.

4. Login Page Refresh or Redirecting Problem

login error

If you try to log into your WordPress account and are redirected back to the login page, it may be because of incorrect stored values for the site. Some of the ways you can fix this error is: delete the .htaccess file, delete cookies on your computer, deactivate plugins that may be causing a problem or update the site’s URL in the wp-config.php file.

5. Broken Images

broken images

If the images on your site appear to be broken, or if you experience an error trying to upload new ones, it means something may be wrong with the site’s permissions. In many cases, you need to use a FTP program in order to change the permissions for the WordPress uploads folder. These should be set to the numerical value of 744. You may have to change this to 755 if you’re still having issues.

6. Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance Error

scheduled maintenance

This error will happen when WordPress sets your site into maintenance mode in order to perform updates. If this error continues, you may have to update WordPress manually. Afterwards, you will need to delete the .maintenance file located in your site’s root directory. This file will keep WordPress in maintenance mode until it is removed. You may have to show hidden files in order to located the .maintenance file.

7. WordPress White Screen of Death

white screen of death

The White Screen of Death happens when a script will reach the PHP memory limit. Ways to fix this include: disabling all plugins on the site, replacing the current theme or increasing the memory limit in PHP in order to compensate for the site’s operation. It may also be prudent to inspect the configuration of the site itself as incorrect settings could cause this issue as well.

8. 403 Forbidden Error

403 error

A 403 error occurs when WordPress is stored on a Windows-based server and there is a problem with the Directory Indexes. You can fix this error by uploading an index.php to the directory. This error can also be caused if the permissions of the folders are not set correctly. In which case, you will need to use the FTP program to correct those folders.

9. Connections Timing Out

connection timing out

Timing out happens when the website is overloaded or hosted on a shared server that experiences heavy use. Common fixes for this problem include: increasing the PHP memory, switch to basic theme or deactivating all of your plugins. Once the site stabilizes, reactivate your themes and plugins one-by-one until you find the unit that is causing the issue.

10. Website Layout Becomes a Mess

messy website layout

When updating or altering your theme’s coding, sometimes the layout of the site will become skewed. If you notice things like sidebars being placed below the content or other layout issues, you can: check the coding to make sure all ‘DIV’ comments are closed or switch to a different theme to see if that fixes the issue. If the site works with a different theme, you’ll need to spend some time correcting the code of the theme you want to use.

11. Undefined Function is_network_admin Error

undefined function

This is another error that can be caused by a corrupted WordPress update. However, this can be easily fixed by updating the site manually. This may require the use of a FTP program such as FileZilla. However, you may be able to update WordPress if you have cPanel by using the “Quick Install” tool.

12. White Text or Missing Buttons in the Visual Editor

white text

White text or missing buttons in the editor is common for WordPress errors. It usually signifies there is a problem with the TinyMCE files or a plugin conflict. This can be fixed by: clearing your browser cache, replacing the “/tinymce/” folder with a new one or changing the “CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS” control in wp-config.php to “false.”

13. Unable to Delete Plugins

unable to delete plugins

Some plugins will become quite integrated into the site and seem impossible to delete. Usually this will happen if the plugin came with hidden files that are installed into WordPress. Deleting the plugin completely may require the use of a Secure Shell to access the WordPress directory. Go to the “/wp-content/plugins/” directory as use the “Is -al” command in order to find all of the folders located there. Delete the plugin’s folder using the “rm (name of folder)” command in the Secure Shell.

14. Syntax Errors

syntax error

In some instances, altering the code of WordPress can result in various syntax errors. Luckily, WordPress will inform what file is causing the error as well as locating the line in the code. For example, you could see something like: “syntax error, unexpected $end in /public_html/website/wp-content/themes/your-theme/functions.php on line 234.” This means you should look at the “functions.php” file located in the stated directory on line 234 to find the error.

15. 500 Internal Server Error

error 500

This is perhaps one of the more difficult errors to fix. This happens when WordPress is having an issue but is unable to identify where the problem lies. You will have to explore what is causing the problem, which could be quite time consuming. In this case, you may want to deactivate all plugins, re-upload the core files of WordPress or even check for a corrupted .htaccess file.

Even if you don’t alter coding elements in WordPress, problems such as these can happen. If your site begins having issues, don’t fret. In many cases, it’s a simple fix that can get your site up and running again.

What kind of errors have you come across in WordPress, if any? Are you intimidated to fix coding errors that you may come across?

Author: Kaumil Patel

Kaumil Patel is the Chief Operating Officer of GreenGeeks and has over 13 years of experience in the web hosting industry working for and owning web hosting companies. Kaumil’s expertise is in marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and mergers.

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