For many people operating their own websites, WordPress is the center of the universe. They spend countless amounts of time working within the interface, and its functionality allows even those with little to no tech savvy to keep up their digital appearance.
Of course, given its important role in site operation, things come to a halt real quick if something goes wrong. Even though it’s by far the best at what it does, it can experience issues & standard errors like any other digital service.
Like most other digital errors, though, they can be fixed, and you don’t have to be a specialist by any means to make it happen. You might have to dive into some code, but it’s nothing serious, we promise. You want to know what is serious? How well you’re going to fix these errors.
Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on a computer knows about the classic 404 error. Essentially, it means you’ve made contact with the server, but there was something you were looking for that it just couldn’t find. WordPress gets it, and you can undo it just as easily.
Assuming the page still exists & the url hasn’t changed, this is probably an issue with the site’s .htaccess file.
As it’s explained on the DreamHost blog, “.htaccess is a file that dictates how your site communicates with its server. This file can be used to increase your site’s security, and to override some of the default server settings.” It also takes care of the hyperlink structure.
You can either follow these instructions to regenerate the file, but if that fails you’ll need to make a new file with that exact name & insert this set of code. To do this, go into Settings, click Permalinks, press Save Changes (without changing anything), and voila!
After that’s done, drop it in the root folder, and you should be all clear from there.
Connection Timed Out
This is another famous error that happens with virtually all sites from time to time, and there’s usually one of a few things that might be causing it. If you’re using a shared server for your domain, for instance, one of the other domains might be hogging resources.
Alternatively, you might be the one taking them all up, so you’ll need to take some steps to make sure your site is running as quickly & efficiently as possible. If you’re a DreamHost user experiencing this issue, be sure to check out this guide for specific procedures.
Reaching the PHP memory maximum can lead to this problem as well. Follow these steps to increase it, or consider upgrading to the next offered tier with whichever hosting provider you’re working with. If none of this works, try contacting the WordPress customer service team.
500 Internal Server Error
Internal server errors, while they aren’t too common in WordPress, can be one of the tricker issues you can run into. The exact cause is never really clear, but there isn’t too long of a list of potential issues. Specifically, it’s either an .htaccess issue or you’ve hit your PHP memory limit.
For a PHP error, you can either increase the memory limit by following the nifty guide from DreamHost in the previous section, or you can upgrade the hosting tier you’re paying for from whichever service you’re using (DreamHost users can follow this link).
To see if you’re having .htaccess troubles, disable the file by simply changing the name. Did that work? Great! All you have to do is make a new .htaccess file according to the instructions outlined in the 404 Error section.
Error Establishing Database Connection
The nature & cause of this error are fairly self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying when it happens. There are quite a few ways that this can end up happening, but there are good odds it’s down to the wp-config.php file, which contains the site’s database info.
First, find the file in the root folder, click View/Edit, and take a look at whether all of your credentials are correct. If they’re not, fix ‘em up and you should be sailing smooth. It’s not always that easy, unfortunately, and there are some extra steps if that’s not the problem.
From that point, try out WordPress’ automatic database adjustment function. To access it, add “define( 'WP_ALLOW_REPAIR', true );” (everything between the quotes) to wp-config.php, save the file & enter https://[insert site name here].com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php in the browser.
Click one of the two buttons that pops up, let it do what it’s meant to do, then you’ll be free to do what you’re meant to do (after you remove the WP_ALLOW_REPAIR line from the file, anyway).
White Screen Of Death
This one can be a doozy, but we’re here to help you through it. Given the nature of the error, you won’t have a clear answer to the question of the cause, but there are various troubleshooting methods you can employ to check what the exact issue is.
To get a clear picture of which errors are happening on which page, activating debug mode in WordPress can be pretty useful. You can find exact instructions for that here.
One of the most common causes, however, tends to be the plugins on a site. Disable each one & see if anything changes. If not that, try switching your theme to a default one provided by WordPress.
You could also try getting rid of everything in your cache, or increasing your site’s maximum memory by following the instructions included in the Internal Server Error section.
Stuck In Maintenance Mode
Maintenance is great! When it’s done regularly, it keeps sites like WordPress (and your WordPress site) chugging along with little to no issues. However, if an update being performed gets prematurely cancelled it can leave you in maintenance limbo.
This is one of the more clear-cut issues on this list, thankfully, and the fix is as simple as deleting a file activating during the botched process named .maintenance, which you can find in the root folder.
Once this is done, though, be sure your site ends up receiving the update it didn’t get the first time around.