Now that nearly everyone’s online, your website acts as your customers’ gateway to your business. However, managing a website comes with its set of challenges, even if it’s powered by a strong platform like WordPress.
Technical issues, ranging from the infamous White Screen of Death (WSoD) to more insidious concerns like prolonged loading times, can significantly affect your site’s performance. Whether seemingly trivial or overtly complex, these can tank user experience, search engine rankings, and your business’s financial health.
So, we’ll explore the most popular WordPress errors users encounter. From resolving persistent login page issues to addressing security vulnerabilities, this guide arms you with the know-how to maintain a functioning WordPress site.
15 most common WordPress errors + how to solve
WordPress is a versatile content management system (CMS) used by nearly 810 million websites worldwide. Known for its user-friendly interface, extensive customization options, and vast library of themes and plugins, it’s become the go-to platform for bloggers, businesses, and creators alike.
But like any technology, WordPress is not without its challenges. To help navigate through these issues, we’ve listed down 15 common WordPress errors you might encounter:
Technical difficulties and server errors
1. Internal server error
The Internal Server Error is typically linked to problems with server permissions or a corrupted .htaccess file – a crucial configuration file on your server.
How to fix: Often, you can resolve it by either creating a new .htaccess file. Basically, it means replacing the potentially damaged file with a fresh one or increasing your PHP memory limit. Increasing the memory limit gives your website more ‘breathing room’ to operate, which can often clear up this error.
2. Error establishing a database connection
The Error Establishing Database Connection in WordPress indicates that your website is unable to connect to its database. This database is essential as it stores all your website’s content and information.
The error is commonly caused by incorrect database credentials in your website’s wp-config.php file, which is your website’s identity card to the WordPress database. These credentials include:
- database name
If you get any of these wrong, your website won’t connect to the database.
Another cause could be an unresponsive database server. This can happen if the server is overloaded or down.
To fix this issue, first double-check the database credentials in your wp-config.php file to ensure they are correct. If they’re accurate, the next step is to check if your database server is operational. This may involve contacting your web hosting provider.
3. White screen of death (WSoD)
If your website displays nothing but a blank, white screen, then you’re experiencing the “White Screen of Death”. Although it’s common, it’s still an alarming issue for WordPress users. Two primary issues can cause this:
- exhausted memory limits
- faulty plugin/theme
How to fix: When WordPress reaches its memory limit, it can’t process further, leading to WSoD. To fix this, you can increase the PHP memory limit allocated to your WordPress site, which gives it more resources to work with.
Alternatively, WSoD can be triggered by a problematic plugin or theme. If you recently activated a new plugin or theme before the issue started, that could be the culprit. Deactivating these plugins or switching to a default WordPress theme can help identify and resolve the problem.
WordPress functionality issues
4. WordPress login page refreshing and redirecting issue
If you’re unable to access your dashboard as the login page keeps refreshing or redirecting you back to itself, then you’re probably experiencing a WordPress login page refreshing and redirecting issue.
This loop often arises from incorrect values in two key fields: the site URL and the home URL. These URLs tell WordPress your site’s exact address. If they are incorrect, WordPress gets confused and fails to direct you to the right place after login.
How to fix: To resolve this, check and correct these URLs in your website’s wp-config.php file, which is the main configuration file for WordPress. By ensuring these URLs accurately reflect your website’s current address, you can break the frustrating login loop and regain access to your WordPress dashboard.
5. Sidebar below content error
The Sidebar Below Content Error in WordPress is typically a layout issue linked to your website’s theme. This problem manifests as the sidebar, which is supposed to be alongside your main content, appears below it instead.
The root cause of this issue usually lies in incorrect HTML (HyperText Markup Language) or CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) within your theme files. HTML is the core language used to structure your website’s content, while CSS dictates how this content is visually presented, including the layout.
When there’s a mistake in this code — perhaps a missing tag or incorrect CSS properties — it can disrupt the intended layout, causing elements like the sidebar to appear in the wrong place.
How to fix: To fix this, review and correct the code in your theme files. It often involves inspecting its HTML structure and ensuring the CSS rules are correctly applied to position the sidebar as desired.
6. Image upload issues
Image upload issues in WordPress are a common challenge. These often stem from incorrect file permissions in your server’s upload folder.
Essentially, file permissions control who can read, write, or execute files on your server. When these permissions are set incorrectly for the WordPress uploads folder, it hinders the website’s ability to save images and other media files.
How to fix: To solve this issue, set the correct permissions for the upload folder on your server. The ideal permissions usually involve allowing WordPress to write and read files to and from this folder, while also ensuring the security of your website.
You can adjust these permissions through your hosting control panel or by using an FTP client to access your server files. The process involves finding the uploads folder in your WordPress site’s directory and modifying its permissions to recommended settings, which often allow for the proper uploading and managing of files.
Adjusting file permissions is a pretty straightforward task but can be daunting for those not familiar with server management. If you’re unsure about changing file permissions yourself, it’s a good idea to consult with or seek assistance from your web hosting provider’s support team. They can guide you through the process or make the necessary changes on your behalf, ensuring your WordPress site can smoothly handle image uploads.
WordPress security and maintenance
7. WordPress not sending email issue
The WordPress Not Sending Email issue happens when your server is not properly configured to use the PHP mail function, the default method WordPress uses to send emails. This function relies on your server’s email settings. And if these aren’t correctly configured, emails won’t be successfully sent.
How to fix: You can use an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) plugin. SMTP is a standard protocol used for sending emails. By using an SMTP plugin, you can bypass the server’s PHP mail function and directly send emails through a reliable email server. This often improves email deliverability and ensures that your emails reach their intended recipients.
Setting up an SMTP plugin usually involves a few simple steps:
- installing the plugin
- entering the SMTP server details (such as the server address, port, username, and password)
- configuring additional settings like encryption
These details are often provided by your email service provider. Once configured, the SMTP plugin takes over the email-sending process, reducing the chances of encountering issues with emails not being sent from your WordPress site.
8. Site ahead contains harmful program error
If you see an error message that says, “Site Ahead Contains Harmful Programs,” then your WordPress site may be compromised with malware or harmful code. Browsers like Google Chrome often displays this error message when they detect potentially dangerous content on your site.
How to fix: You need to act fast and address this issue to maintain your website’s integrity. If your web visitors go to your site and see that fatal error message, it can deter them right away.
So, let’s break down what you need to do:
- Thoroughly scan your site for malware. There are various security plugins and online services available that can perform a detailed scan of your website to identify and remove malicious code. These tools check your site’s files and database for known malware signatures, unauthorized changes, and other indicators of compromise.
- Review and follow Google Search Essentials’ guidelines. These comprehensive guidelines provide a set of best practices for website security and maintenance. Adhere to these guidelines to prevent future security breaches and align your site with Google’s standards for safety and quality.
- Request a review from Google to have the warning removed. This process typically involves using Google Search Console to verify your site ownership, confirm that the malware has been removed, and then submit your site for review. Google will re-examine your site, and if it finds that the site is clean and safe, the warning message will be lifted, allowing visitors to access your site without the alarming error message.
9. Missed scheduled post error
WordPress uses a system called WP-Cron to handle the scheduling of time-based tasks like post-publishing. If you experience a Missed Scheduled Post Error in WordPress, that means WP-Cron didn’t run as expected, leading to your posts not being published at their scheduled times.
How to fix: Solve this by using a plugin specifically designed to manage cron jobs more effectively. When installing these, you can oversee and control all scheduled events on your WordPress site, including post-publishing.
Here’s a list of WordPress plugins you can use:
- WP crontrol. Allows you to view and control what’s happening in the WP-Cron system. Enables adding, editing, and deleting of custom cron events and schedules.
- Advanced cron manager. Provides insights into WP-Cron, listing all cron events and their schedules. Features a debugging tool to test and troubleshoot cron events.
- Cron job scheduler. Allows you to add new cron schedules and manage the existing ones with ease. Enables precise scheduling of tasks directly from the WordPress admin panel.
- WP control for cron. Offers a comprehensive view of all scheduled WP-Cron events. Facilitates manual execution and editing of cron events.
- Core control module for cron. Includes a set of modules to debug and control various aspects of WordPress, including cron jobs. Helps identify and handle issues with misfiring cron events.
You can also check whether there are any issues with your scheduled posts and force a missed schedule to run if necessary. Some plugins even offer alternatives to WP-Cron that can be more reliable, especially for websites with low traffic.
WordPress configuration and optimization
10. Too many redirects issue
Too Many Redirects occurs when your website gets caught in a loop of redirections, unable to load properly. Misconfigured redirection tools or settings within your website often cause this problem. Essentially, it happens when your website is instructed to keep redirecting between different addresses, creating an endless loop that the browser can’t resolve.
How to fix: Check your redirection tools and settings for errors. This involves several key steps:
- Check your WordPress settings. First, ensure that the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) in your General Settings are correct. They should match unless you have a specific reason for them to be different.
- Review redirection plugins. If you’re using any redirection plugins, examine their settings to ensure you haven’t accidentally created a redirect loop. For example, you might have set Page A to redirect to Page B and vice versa.
- Inspect .htaccess file. This is one of the core WordPress files, used for setting up redirects and other crucial settings. If there are any incorrect rewrite rules or redirect instructions in this file, it can cause too many redirect errors. Resetting the .htaccess file to the default WordPress settings can sometimes resolve the issue.
- Clear browser and server cache. Sometimes, cached redirects can cause this error. Clearing your browser cache and, if applicable, your server-side cache can help.
- Check SSL configuration. If you’ve recently moved to an SSL setup, ensure your configuration is correct. Incorrect settings can cause redirect loops, especially if you’re enforcing SSL in multiple places (like in your .htaccess file and via a WordPress plugin).
Addressing these areas should help you identify and correct the source of the “Too Many Redirects” issue. It’s a process that requires some attention to detail, but it’s usually manageable without advanced technical expertise. If the problem persists after these steps, it may be worth consulting with a professional web developer or your hosting provider for further assistance.
11. Memory exhausted error
The Memory Exhausted Error typically occurs when a script exceeds the default memory limit allocated for PHP. This can disrupt your website’s functionality, leading to a partially loaded site or a fatal error message.
How to fix: You need to increase the PHP memory limit. This limit is set to ensure that poorly written scripts don’t consume all available memory on the server. But sometimes, legitimate scripts require more memory than the default limit. Here’s how to do it:
- Access your wp-config.php file. This file is located in the root directory of your WordPress installation. You can access it using an FTP client or through your hosting provider’s file manager.
- Edit the wp-config.php file: Look for a line that says define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘XXM’ );. The ‘XX’ represents the current memory limit. If this line doesn’t exist, you can add it just above the line that says, /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */.
- Increase the memory limit. Change the value to a higher number. For example, if it’s set to 32M, try increasing it to 64M or 128M. It would look something like this: define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’ );.
- Save and upload the file. After making the changes, save the file and upload it back to your server if using FTP.
- Check your website. Reload your website to see if the issue is resolved.
Some hosting providers limit the maximum amount of memory you can allocate to PHP. If you’re unable to resolve the memory limit issue or if your hosting provider’s limit is lower than what you need, you may need to upgrade your hosting plan or contact your host’s support for further assistance.
12. Syntax error in WordPress
A Syntax Error is typically triggered by mistakes in the code of your PHP files, usually when you’re editing your WordPress site. Even a small typo, like a missing semicolon, bracket, or incorrect quotation mark, can cause a syntax error.
How to fix: When you encounter a syntax error, WordPress will often indicate the file and line number where the error was detected. This information is crucial for pinpointing and correcting the error. To fix it, you need to:
- Access the file. Use an FTP client or File Manager in your hosting control panel to access the file mentioned in the error message.
- Correct the code. Open the file and go to the specified line. Look for any obvious syntax mistakes like missing brackets, semicolons, or misused quotation marks. If you recently added or changed code, check that first.
- Save and upload. After making the corrections, save the file and upload it back to the server if using FTP.
- Check your site. Reload your website to see if the syntax error is resolved.
If you’re not comfortable editing code, or if the error persists, it’s wise to seek assistance. You can contact a web developer or use forums and communities for WordPress support. For future prevention, it’s a good practice to use a staging environment for any code changes, which allows you to test changes without affecting your live site.
WordPress interface and user experience
13. White text and missing buttons in visual editor
Having White Text and Missing Buttons in the WordPress Visual Editor is often a sign of problems with the TinyMCE editor, which is the software behind the visual editor. This issue can arise from missing or corrupted TinyMCE files, or a conflict with another plugin installed on your WordPress site.
How to fix: You can try a couple of options to resolve this:
- Clear your browser cache. Sometimes, this issue can be as simple as a browser cache problem. Before trying more complex solutions, clear your browser’s cache and reload your WordPress dashboard to see if the issue resolves.
- Deactivate conflicting plugins. A plugin conflict can often cause issues with the visual editor. Try deactivating all your plugins and then reactivate them one by one. After activating each plugin, check the editor. If the issue reappears after activating a particular plugin, you’ve likely found the culprit. You can then decide to replace that plugin with an alternative or seek support from the plugin developer.
- Reinstall WordPress. If the issue is due to corrupted or missing TinyMCE files, reinstalling WordPress can help. You can safely do this from your WordPress dashboard. Go to the ‘Updates’ section and click the button to re-install the current version of WordPress. This process will replace all core files, including TinyMCE, without affecting your themes, plugins, or uploads.
- Check WordPress theme compatibility. In some cases, the issue might be with the theme you’re using. To check this, switch temporarily to a default WordPress theme, like Twenty Twenty-One, and see if the problem persists. If the issue is resolved, the problem might be with your theme’s compatibility with the TinyMCE editor.
- Increase memory limit. In rare cases, insufficient memory allocated to WordPress can cause issues with the visual editor. Increasing the PHP memory limit in your wp-config.php file might resolve the problem.
14. WordPress RSS Feed Errors
WordPress RSS Feed Errors are related to incorrect formatting within your XML. These errors can disrupt the feed, making it difficult for users and applications to access your site’s content through RSS.
The root cause of RSS feed errors often lies in the PHP or HTML code that generates the feed. Since RSS is a form of XML, even a small error like extra space, an unclosed tag, or a wrongly formatted character in your PHP or HTML can invalidate the entire feed. This sensitivity to formatting means that the error could be coming from several places, including your theme files, a plugin, or even a recent post or page edit.
How to fix: Here are a few ways to solve WordPress RSS feed errors:
- Check recent changes. If you recently edited your site’s PHP or HTML files, or if you added new content, check these changes first. Look for any syntax errors or formatting issues.
- Validate your feed. Use an online RSS feed validation tool. These tools can pinpoint the exact location and nature of the problem in your feed.
- Deactivate plugins. Sometimes, plugins can introduce errors into your RSS feed. Deactivate your plugins and then reactivate them one by one, checking your feed each time to see if a particular plugin is causing the issue.
- Switch to a default theme. To rule out theme-related issues, temporarily switch to a default WordPress theme. If this fixes the error, the issue may lie within your theme’s files.
- Manually inspect and edit code. If you’re comfortable with coding, inspect your theme’s functions.php file or any custom code snippets for errors. Even small mistakes can cause RSS feed issues.
- Fix character encoding issues. Sometimes, the issue might be due to character encoding mismatches. Ensure your WordPress settings and database are using the same character encoding.
15. WordPress stuck in maintenance mode
WordPress usually gets stuck in maintenance mode during or after an update process. It automatically puts your site in this mode when it updates itself, plugins, or themes. This is usually a brief process, but if the update fails or gets interrupted, your site can get stuck in this mode. You may see a message like “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”
How to fix: To resolve this issue and get your site back to normal, remove the .maintenance file from your WordPress directory. This file is automatically created by WordPress when it enters maintenance mode and is supposed to be deleted after the updates are complete. Here’s the list of steps to do it:
- Access your website files. Use an FTP client or the File Manager in your hosting account’s control panel to access your website’s files.
- Locate the .maintenance file. Once you’re connected to your website via FTP or the File Manager, look for the .maintenance file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
- Delete the .maintenance file. Select the .maintenance file and delete it. This action will take your WordPress site out of maintenance mode.
- Check your site. After deleting the file, visit your website to ensure that it’s functioning normally and that the maintenance mode message has disappeared.
- Complete or retry updates. If your site was stuck in maintenance mode due to a failed update, you should attempt to complete the updates again. Ensure a stable internet connection and that your website is properly configured to handle updates.
Limitations of WordPress
While WordPress is a powerful and flexible platform, it does come with inherent limitations that can affect users, especially those with specific or advanced needs. Understanding these limitations is crucial for effectively managing a WordPress website and making informed decisions about hosting and support services.
1. Performance and scalability
One of the most significant limitations of WordPress is its performance and scalability, especially for large websites or those with high traffic.
WordPress relies heavily on plugins and themes, which can bloat the website and slow down its performance. So, managing a high-traffic website can become challenging. This can lead to longer loading times and a decrease in user experience.
2. Security concerns
WordPress is known for being a target for hackers, mainly due to its popularity and the use of third-party plugins. These plugins, if not regularly updated or properly vetted, can introduce vulnerabilities to the website. This means constant vigilance and regular updates are necessary to keep a WordPress site secure.
3. Plugin reliance
While plugins add functionality to WordPress, over-reliance on them can be a double-edged sword. Not all plugins are created equal; some may be poorly coded or not regularly updated, leading to compatibility issues or security risks. Additionally, using too many plugins can affect the site’s performance and load times.
4. Customization limitations
WordPress can be limiting for users with specific design or functionality needs. While themes and plugins offer customization, they might not meet every specific requirement. This could require custom coding, which demands more technical expertise.
5. SEO limitations
WordPress is generally considered SEO-friendly, but it does have limitations compared to other platforms and website builders. Achieving advanced SEO requires additional plugins or custom tweaks, which may not be straightforward for beginners.
6. Frequent updates
WordPress, its themes, and plugins require frequent updates for security and functionality. Keeping up with these updates can be time-consuming and occasionally lead to compatibility issues.
To mitigate these limitations, partnering with a reliable hosting provider like Web.com is beneficial. Our hosting service can offer:
- Enhanced performance. Optimized servers for WordPress can handle traffic spikes and improve load times.
- Robust security. Regular backups, malware scanning, and other security measures can protect your site.
- Expert support. Access to WordPress experts can help resolve issues faster and provide guidance for best practices.
- Scalability. As your site grows, a good hosting provider can offer resources and support to scale your website seamlessly.
- Customization support. Assistance with customizations and access to premium themes/plugins can help overcome WordPress’s inherent limitations.
Plus, Web.com offers web hosting that specializes in WordPress-powered websites, maximizing your potential while ensuring a robust, secure, and efficient online presence.
Manage your WordPress site without a hitch
We’ve addressed various WordPress issues, from the frustrating White Screen of Death to challenges in site speed and security. Each problem, while unique, comes with practical and manageable solutions to ensure smooth website operation.
Understanding and resolving common WordPress issues is crucial for maintaining an efficient, secure, and user-friendly website. While this guide covers the essentials, it’s best to partner with a reliable hosting provider. Avail of Web.com’s WordPress hosting services and enhance your WordPress experience. With these tips and our reliable online solutions, you can heighten your WordPress website towards success.