6 Common WordPress Errors and Solutions

WordPress is a well-established platform for building a website. While it offers a relatively shallow learning curve, beginner users might still find difficulties navigating this content management system (CMS).  

Thankfully, WordPress has ever-growing community support and knowledge portals where users can easily find resources to learn WordPress. However, the abundance of information can be overwhelming, especially when you need to find a quick solution for a WordPress error.

In this article, we’ve curated six common WordPress site errors and how to troubleshoot them. Knowing what could be the cause of an issue helps you revert your WP website to normal in no time.

1. Syntax Errors

The WordPress syntax error happens due to structural problems in your code, such as missing punctuations, wrong function names, and invalid variables. However, thanks to the detailed information in this type of error message, syntax or parse errors are among the easiest to fix.

Parse error – syntax error, unexpected $end in  /home/demo/wp-content/themes/[WordPress theme’s name]/functions.php on line 321 

The example above reveals that the issue is in line 321 of the theme’s functions.php file. Here’s a general guide for correcting the code syntax:

  1. Access your site’s server via an FTP client.
  2. Locate the file, right-click on it, and select View/Edit.
  3. Go to the mentioned line where the error is found.
  4. Correct or disable the syntax.
  5. Save the edit and re-upload the file.
  6. Refresh the web page to check if the issue is solved.

2. Internal Server Errors

Also called the 500 Internal Server Error, this issue pops up when the website server can’t process requests due to an unexpected condition. See the reasons below for why this type of error can occur.

Corrupted WordPress Core Files

Corrupted core files are among the most common causes of internal server errors. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your WordPress version up to date. Try the following steps to solve the error:

  1. Check your WordPress version from the admin area.
  2. Download the update if there’s any.
  3. Replace the wp-admin and wp-includes folders of the old installation with the new ones.

WordPress Plugin or Theme Issues

An Error 500 can also be the result of extension incompatibility. To find the culprit, try deactivating all plugins and reactivating them one by one. 

On your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins -> Installed Plugins -> click Deactivate.

However, this error may sometimes not allow you to access the admin area. If this is the case, you will need to deactivate your plugins and themes from the site’s back-end. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Log in to your FTP account and go to the root folder public_html.
  2. Navigate to the wp-content folder -> select Plugins.
  3. Rename the folder to temporarily turn it off.
  4. If this does not solve the issue, try to reinstall and re-upload your WordPress theme to the wp-content directory.

Incorrect .htaccess File Directives

The .htaccess file contains important instructions for the server, including the rewrite rules. They can get corrupted and result in an internal server error.

Follow the guide below to test if .htaccess is causing the error:

  1. Access the server via FTP, then navigate to the root directory.
  2. Enable Force Show Hidden Files to find the .htaccess file.
  3. Rename it and reload the website.

If that fixes the issue, all that’s left to do is generate a new .htaccess file with the proper rewrite rules: 

  1. Go to the WordPress website admin area, then navigate to Settings -> Permalinks
  2. Without modifying any of the settings, click the Save Changes button.

Insufficient Memory

Internal server errors can also appear when a website reaches the PHP memory limit. For this, website owners can try increasing the limit via the wp-config.php file. Here’s how:

  1. Access your FTP client and go to the root folder.
  2. Find wp-config.php -> right-click on View/Edit.
  3. Add the define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘[insert the new memory limit, which can be 64M, 128M, and 256M]’) PHP script below the line That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.

That said, not all web hosting providers allow site owners to perform this action themselves. In such cases, you will need to ask your web host to increase the memory limit. If the WordPress error is still present, your provider will need to check if the problem is server-side.

3. 404 Error

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404 Not Found is among the most common WordPress errors. It often appears when visitors land on a non-existent page or access a page through a broken link.  

Periodically auditing your links can minimize the frequency of this error. Also, site owners should set up redirects if they delete a page or move it to a new URL.

However, this WordPress error may still happen even if the requested page is available. In most cases, it’s due to problems with the .htaccess file. You can resolve this error by simply re-uploading it. Here’s how:

  1. Create a new file, then save it as .htaccess
  2. Insert the following lines of code:

# BEGIN WordPress

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On

RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

</IfModule>

# END WordPress

  1. Upload the file to the root folder. 

4. White Screen of Death

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WordPress sites experiencing the White Screen of Death (WSoD) will see a blank screen without any error message. WSoD can affect an entire site or only certain pages.  

Some of the most common causes for this error include:

  • Plugin conflicts.
  • Exhausted memory errors.
  • Server configuration issues.

If you have multiple WordPress websites on the same hosting account, check whether the error occurs on other sites. If it does, chances are high that the problem is with the server. 

On that account, it’s best to contact your hosting provider’s customer support for further assistance.

5. Error Establishing Database Connection

A database stores, organizes, and delivers data to end users. The WordPress database connection error can cause downtime as your site can’t connect and fetch data from its MySQL database. What’s more, it may also lock you out of your WordPress admin dashboard.

Often, this error is due to incorrect database login credentials inside wp-config.php. It typically happens after you change the site’s login information. Here’s a quick guide for checking the file to resolve the error:

  1. Access the FTP of your WordPress installation.
  2. From the root folder, right-click on wp-config.php -> select View/Edit.
  3. Check the credentials in these lines:

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database name’);

define(‘DB_USER’, ‘user name’);

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’);

define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’);

An error establishing a database connection may also occur because of a traffic surge to the point where the web server can’t process requests. In that event, contact your hosting provider so that they can check the database server functionality.

6. Stuck in Maintenance Mode

When you make updates on your WordPress site, the CMS will automatically put it in maintenance mode. However, website owners may find their sites are still stuck in the mode even when the update is complete.

Follow these simple steps to fix the issue:

  1. Log in to your FTP account and go to your site’s root directory.
  2. Delete the .maintenance file.

Conclusion

As much as you try to avoid it, you may still encounter issues when running your WordPress blog or website. The reasons range from simple syntax errors and credential issues to corrupted files and server configuration problems.  

Throughout this article, you’ve learned the six most common WordPress problems and possible solutions to fix them. These common errors are:

  1. Syntax errors.
  2. Internal server errors.
  3. The 404 error.
  4. The White Screen of Death.
  5. Errors establishing a database connection.
  6. Issues being stuck in maintenance mode.

With the information you’ve learned in this article, you are now equipped to tackle some of the most common WordPress issues. Good luck!

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