7 Common WordPress Website Issues & How to Troubleshoot Them

When it comes to running a website, there are plenty of benefits to using the WordPress platform. With a little research, WordPress sites are easy to configure and maintain.

They also offer companies a built-in blog and control over the design aspects of the site. Of course, as with any CMS (content management system) platform, there are some common issues that arise when using WordPress.

With themes, plugins, widgets, and more all running behind the scenes of WordPress websites, things are bound to malfunction at some point. Knowing how to fix these WordPress website issues when they arise is crucial. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of common issues and how to troubleshoot them.

1. Internal Server Errors

One of the most common WordPress issues is the internal server error. Anyone who has managed a WordPress site for an extended time has likely come across this.

As common as this error is, it’s also one of the most perplexing to troubleshoot. This issue crops up when something is wrong with your website server but the site can’t pinpoint what it is.

How to fix internal server errors:

To troubleshoot this issue, users will need to check a few components of the site to see if they’re running smoothly. 

The frequent causes of internal server errors are malfunctioning plugins or themes, but a corrupted .htaccess file can also be the perpetrator. Users should check for the corrupted .htaccess file first. 

This can be done by logging into your site using FTP through your hosting account’s cPanel. Rename the .htaccess file and return to your site. If it’s back to normal, you’ve solved the issue. The only thing left to do is head to Settings and then Permalinks and hit save.

If this problem persists, you can try deactivating plugins to see if any of them are causing the error. 

2. Connection Timed Out

If you’re trying to access your WordPress website and getting a message that “This site can’t be reached,” your connection has timed out.

Such errors typically occur when the site is attempting to do too much at once. If plugins and the site’s theme require too many resources, they may be overloading the server. An exhausted memory limit or hosting problems can also be behind this type of error message.

What to do if your connection times out:

Tackle the plugins first. To find out if one of your plugins is causing this issue, deactivate them one at a time. 

After each deactivation, try accessing your website again. If it begins working, the last plugin you deactivated is likely the culprit. You may need to update, reinstall, or forego that plugin to keep the site running properly. 

If the plugins aren’t responsible, it’s possible your PHP memory limits may need to be stretched. Follow the steps outlined here to increase your PHP memory on WordPress. If troubleshooting the issue yourself doesn’t help, there could be a hosting problem. Contacting your website’s hosting company could prove helpful, as a professional can look into what’s causing the error.

3. White Screen of Death

Blank screens of death have plagued computer users for years, and WordPress has its own “White Screen of Death” issue. The most confounding thing about this error is that there’s no instruction on how to fix it. When opened in Google Chrome, this issue simply shows an HTTP 500 error message. In other browsers, it may not have any text on the screen at all.

How to fix the White Screen of Death: 

Most of the time, the White Screen of Death is caused by PHP errors or memory limit exhaustion. If this is the cause, expanding your site’s memory will help. 

You can do so by accessing wp-config.php file on your WordPress install and inputting this code: define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

Plugins and themes may also lead to the White Screen of Death. By deactivating plugins and choosing a default theme, you can determine where the problem stems from. From there, you may need to update or delete the plugin or theme.

4. Memory Exhaustion

As you’ve likely noticed, memory exhaustion is behind many of the common WordPress issues that impact websites. Sometimes, users will get a blank page with an error that simply tells them their memory is exhausted.

If that’s the primary issue, you’d troubleshoot the problem in much the same way that you’d handle errors caused by memory overload.

How to fix memory exhaustion errors: 

Any errors caused by memory exhaustion can be troubleshooted by increasing PHP limits. This can often be done by editing the wp-config.php file. 

Click here to learn more about which codes to input to expand your site’s memory limits. Upgrading your hosting plan is another way to increase your site’s memory, but it may cost you money to do so.

5. 404 Errors

Among the most common WordPress issues are WordPress 404 errors. These often occur when your website’s permalink settings need to be readjusted.

While 404 errors may make certain pages on your site unavailable, they won’t usually limit your access to the backend of the site. 

How to fix WordPress 404 errors:

To fix 404 errors, head to the Settings menu and then click the Permalinks option. Simply hitting “Save Changes” will usually reset your permalinks and fix the problem. If this easy fix doesn’t help, however, you may need to update your .htaccess file. 

6. 403 Forbidden Errors

When WordPress users experience 403 forbidden error codes, the site usually tells them they don’t have access to a certain page. If you come across an error message like this, it’s likely the result of poorly constructed plugins.

How to fix 403 forbidden error codes: 

The first thing you should do is deactivate plugins one by one and check the site as you do. If deactivating a plugin causes the site to return to normal, you’ve uncovered the root of the problem. If plugins aren’t causing the 403 error, there may be deeper file issues to resolve. 

7. Database Connection Errors

Sometimes WordPress shows a message that reads: “Error establishing a database connection.” This means the site itself isn’t able to connect to the database, which can happen for several reasons.

Having incorrect information regarding your database host, username, or password can cause this error. Likewise, it could be the database itself; if it’s currently unresponsive or has been corrupted, this issue can arise.

How to reconnect to your database: 

If the error message on your wp-admin page is telling you to repair your database, that’s precisely what you need to do. 

Add the following bit of code to your wp-config.php file after using FTP to access your site:  define('WP_ALLOW_REPAIR', true);

After saving, re-upload the file to your server and head to ‘www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php’. This should give you the option to repair your database. 

After you do, you can remove the text you added to the wp-config.php file earlier. This is the most common way to troubleshoot this problem, but if it doesn’t do the trick, these are some other ways to reconnect to your database.

Contending With Common WordPress Issues

Although WordPress offers plenty of control over your website’s design, that comes with the often-confusing task of handling any errors those designs cause.

Many of these common WordPress issues appear overwhelming at first, particularly if you don’t have much experience with web management. However, a few simple Google searches will help you find the answers you’re looking for. This is especially true if you know what sort of error you’re dealing with.

If you want to avoid issues like these in the future (and losing potential customers/leads as a result), we recommend signing up for one of our WordPress maintenance plans. Our experts can quickly troubleshoot any issues that may arise and provide a range of other maintenance services, including:

  • Regularly monitoring and backing up your website
  • Enhancing the security of your website
  • Downloading the right maintenance plugins
  • Protecting your site from malware and hackers

...and more. Partnering with WP Expert allows you to spend less time worrying about WordPress maintenance and more time focusing on the other, more important aspects of your business. Sign up today or contact us now to learn more!

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