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10 Common WordPress Problems (And What You Can Do About Them)

WordPress is more visited that Twitter.

That’s right. It’s such a major part of the world wide web, that it has more unique visitors per month than the popular social media platform – 131 million unique visitors per month to be exact.

As such a powerful powerful part of the world wide web with so much versatility, WordPress has given everyone from personal blogs to small businesses a powerful platform to communicate.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. Just like anything in life, you’re bound to run into some problems on WordPress that can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless.

To help you out, we’ve listed the ten most common WordPress problems, and how you can fix them.


1. Internal Server Error

Ah, the dreaded “Internal Server Error” message, aka the “500 Internal Server Error”. It’s one of the most common and most confusing of all the WordPress errors.

The worst part about this message is that it can happen out of the blue, making it difficult to trace the problem. It usually appears when there is something wrong with your site but the server is unable to identify what or where the problem is.

That pretty much leaves it up to you to figure out the source of the problem, so put on your detective cap!

Unfortunately, there are quite a few possible reasons for this WordPress error, but we’ve got the most common ones covered.

Corrupt .htaccess File

The most common cause is a corrupt .htaccess file. This file contains important directives for the server. To check if this is the root of your Internal Server Error problem, you’ll have to access your server via FTP and find the file in your root directory.

After locating it, rename the file to something like ‘.htaccess_old’, reload your site and voila! If that fixed the problem, you can now create a new .htaccess file under Settings > Permalinks in your WP admin panel.

Insufficient Memory

Another possible reason for an Internal Server Error is insufficient memory. All you have to do is increase the limit of the available memory. For detailed instructions on how to do this, visit the WordPress Codex.

Plugin Problem

A problem with plugins and themes can also be causing and 500 Internal Server Error. The best solution is to deactivate all plugins and then reactivate them one by one until you find the plugin causing the problem.

This sounds like quite a process right? Unfortunately with WordPress, when you’re faced with a problem, you have to spend a significant amount of time trying to find the possible cause, as well as trying various possible solutions.

To save you time, money and prevent a whole lot of stress, you may want to look into WordPress maintenance plans. These plans keep your site in tip-top shape, implementing updates, backups and keep your entire website safe, leaving you to worry about the most important part of your WordPress site – its content.

2. White Screen of Death

The dreaded blank page of nothingness, a common WordPress error that leaves owners’ faces as white as their screen. It means your site is gone and your browser has decided to show a screen with nothing on it.

Great, so you don’t even have an error message to give you a clue of what the problem is and where to look for it!

Like the Internal Server Error, there are several reasons that could be behind the dreaded White Screen of Death. Here are the most common problems and their solutions:

Compatibility Issues with a Plugin

A plugin may be in conflict with another plugin, or a plugin may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress. To fix this problem, disable each plugin and bring them back one by one to find the culprit.

Compatibility Issues with a Theme

To test whether your White Screen of Death is because of a problem with your theme, the best solution is to install one of the WordPress default themes available.

Not Enough Memory

You’ll have to increase the amount of available memory just as you did with an Internal Server Error. Refer to the link above for instructions on how to do this.

3. WordPress Parse or Syntax Error

The WordPress error message displayed for this problem will be something like this:

Parse error- syntax error, unexpected $end in /public_html/site1/wp-content/themes/my-theme/functions.php on line 278

This error usually shows when you are trying to add code snippets into WordPress and the code has some incorrect syntax or you have accidentally missed something important out, like a missing bracket.

Luckily, your browser will tell you exactly in which file the problem lies, and even in which line the syntax error occurs. Simply correct the syntax or delete or disable the code.

4. Error Establishing a Database Connection

This WordPress error message is pretty clear. It means that WordPress is unable to connect to the site’s database.

This usually happens when a user has entered or changed their database credentials incorrectly making it corrupt or unresponsive.

The best thing to try is to take a look at the wp-config.php file. Go through it to make sure the database details are correct. This includes the database name, username, password, and database host.

A common reason for this error is incorrect database login credentials, so make sure you take a look at those.

5. Connection Timed Out

Your connection times out when your site is taking such a long time to load that you get an error that it’s not even available. It happens because your site is trying to do more than the server can even handle.

To solve this problem, you’re going to try the three solutions that we’ve already spoken about for an Internal Server Error and the White Screen of Death. This includes deactivate all your plugins, activate a default theme, and increase your PHP memory limit.

6. Images Not Uploading

You may have come across the problem of your images being gone, replaced with broken image placeholders instead of the beautiful image you have uploaded.

This problem is most commonly caused by a wrong file and directory permissions in a WordPress installation. To set the correct file permissions for your uploads directory, you will need an FTP client, like Filezilla.

For a detailed set of instructions on how to do this, visit this link to fix your image upload issues.

7. Maintenance Mode Error

When this problem happens, you’ll be looking at the following WordPress error message:

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

This is because of an unfinished or interrupted WordPress update. When your update is interrupted, WordPress does not get the chance to put your site out of the maintenance mode, making it unavailable for both admins and visitors.

To fix this problem with your WordPress website not loading, all you have to do is access your root directory via FTP and delete the file called ‘.maintenance’.

8. 404 Error

There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending someone a link to a blog post, only to have them tell you that there’s nothing there – only an awful 404 error.

404 errors happen on a single post and not on your whole WordPress site. Nine times out of ten, it’s because of permalink settings in WordPress. All you have to do to solve this problem is to reconfigure your permalink settings or manually update their rewrite rules.

9. Locked out of the WordPress Admin

We’ve all been there – you’re locked out of your email and you have to reset your Gmail password because you forgot your login name or password. Or both.

But with WordPress, this can be a whole lot more serious, especially if you don’t have access to your recovery email. Afterall, this could be your entire business’ website that you’re being prevented from accessing!

Luckily you don’t have to even think about starting your beloved WordPress site from scratch. Instead, you can reset your password inside the database via PhpMyAdmin. Here’s a detailed list of instructions on how to reset your WordPress password from phpMyAdmin.

10. WordPress Sidebar Below Content

One of the best things about WordPress is your ability to really make your site your own in terms of layout and style. But of course, that means that the smallest edit can cause your entire layout to shift in a scary way, without a clear reason as to why.

One of the most common WordPress problems of this manner is when your sidebar suddenly shifts from the left or right of your main content area to below your content.

One of the most common reasons for this problem is that you have too many div tags open or closed, completely messing up the layout. A great way to check for this is to use a reputable HTML validator to find the problem in your code.

Take the Hassle out of Fixing WordPress Problems

It’s clear to see that although WordPress is an amazing user-friendly platform, it can present a whole bunch of problems that are actually tricky to fix.

We’ve only listed the most common ten WordPress problems, but if you’re an avid user of WordPress, you’re bound to have run into a whole lot more, from nasty code errors to your WordPress site loading really slow.

For more interesting and helpful articles on WordPress other popular platforms, visit our other tech articles to keep up to date with the latest and ever-changing world of technology. The world of today’s technology doesn’t wait for anyone.

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