9 Common WordPress Errors and How to Fix Them (Updated!)

Common WordPress errors are not only annoying, but easy to miss in most situations.

That's why in this article, I will be covering how to spot & fix them.

Imagine this scenario; You have spent hours learning how to set up a WordPress blog, you save your progress and come back later to find that your website is down or things are missing. 

Common WordPress Errors

You're worried your website may be broken.

Well, fortunately, there is probably a simple explanation for it.

WordPress is known for having bugs, and the good news is, they are easily fixable. 

So you can relax!

Note: The fixes may not work for everyone, and in such a case you should contact your hosting company. Also, always remember to back up your website before attempting any fix.

Here are Some Common WordPress Errors

The common WordPress errors you may experience can undoubtedly cause a headache.

Many people experience downtime on their sites, losing progress in your work, accessing their website and many other issues.

These issues do need to be fixed, especially if you are running an online business.

Any downtime on a website or any issues that directly impact user experience can potentially result in a loss of traffic or a loss of business.

Most of the time it will just be common WordPress errors you encounter and nothing too serious.

You shouldn't have to worry too much, and that's what I'm here to help with this article.

Internal/Backend Errors

One of the first errors many people come across is an internal or backend error.

These errors are the result of small issues that aren't too difficult to fix

In some cases, you may need to contact your hosting provider, though usually, this is unlikely.

1. WordPress Error 500 / 500 Internal Server Error

An internal server Error or a 500 internal server error usually appears when there is an issue, but the server can't directly identify what is causing it.

Error 500s is probably one of the most frustrating WordPress errors as you have to figure out on your own what the exact problem is.

Most commonly it is caused by a plugin or theme issue.

500 Internal Server Error

However, it can be caused by reaching the PHP memory limit or having a corrupted .htaccess file.

Possible Fixes

Corrupted .htaccess

You should first check by ensuring that your .htaccess file hasn't corrupted which you'll need to have any FTP software (such as FileZilla).

Note: If you are having trouble finding it, it's in your domain's root folder. Just download it to your PC and start editing.

Once you have located the file, rename it to something such as .htaccess_1 or .htaccess_new and go back and check to see if your website is now working.

Renaming the file may help to fix the .htaccess corruption.

If this works, you should go to the admin area of your website and go to the settings.

Once in the settings find permalinks and save without making changes.

That will generate a brand new .htaccess file that won't be corrupt.

PHP Memory Limit

Sometimes you will experience the internal server error or/505 internal server error only when you are attempting to log in to your WordPress website.

If this happens, you need to create a new text file and add it to your /wp-admin/ folder.

Once you have created the text file, you need to insert "Memory=64MB" into it and save the document as "php.ini."

You will need to use FTP software once again to upload it to your /wp-admin/ folder.

Note: If this fixes the error and you can log in to your website again, sadly the fix is only temporary. You still need to find out what issue is causing your memory to exceed its limit.

Unfortunately, this could take a long time to figure out.

Anything could be causing it such as poor coding on your website, a poorly coded theme or even a poorly coded plugin.

I highly recommended that you contact your hosting provider.

Your hosting provider can look into your server logs and find out the exact problem for you.

Deactivating The Plugins

This solution has to be one of the most simple troubleshooting steps and the easiest if any of the other fixes didn't work.

Go to the admin area of your website and click on the plugins tab.

Naturally, all you have to do is turn off all of your, and if this fixes the issue, then you know its a plugin error. Depending on how many plugins you have this fix can become a little time-consuming.

The next step is to reactivate all of your plugins one by one until you find out which one has been causing you to receive the error.

That can also be done through FTP software if needed or if you can't access the backend of your website.

Deactivating Plugins

Alternatively, if you can still access the admin area, you can add a plugin called Plugin Detective.

It helps to troubleshoot any issues with other plugins and directly identify which one is causing any problems. 

A Fresh Start

Sometimes the above fixes won't work.

I already mentioned that fixes wouldn't work for everyone and this step involves reuploading the wp-admin and wp-includes folders from a new install of WordPress. 

You can visit WordPress and download any relevant files that you need. 

Using your chosen FTP software access your root folder and locate the wp-admin and wp-includes folder.

In the left column of your FTP software open the WordPress files on your computer and upload the wp-admin and wp-includes folder to your website.

You will then get a prompt to overwrite the files.

Click yes.

When prompted, clicking yes will install the new copy of these files to your website.

That should result in any corrupted data that may have occurred, fixed.

Contact Your Hosting Provider

Sadly, sometimes none of these solutions fix the error. ​

If you find that none of the solutions work then, you should contact your hosting provider.

Your hosting provider will be able to do more extensive research into the issues you have.

They can look into things such as your log files and find out the exact cause of any problems on your Website.

2. Images Won’t Upload

Images and blogs go hand in hand.

Most content creators like to add images or illustrations to their content to help with a more visual representation of their content.

However, sometimes WordPress won't let you upload images, and there are some reasons for it.

You have either reached your memory limit or the memory has passed it's limit and the second is faulty file permission.

It could also be as common as a faulty plugin or more severe such as an attempt to hack your site.

The latter being more unlikely, so no need to panic.

Possible fix

The fix for this one involves, once again, your FTP software.

You need to locate the uploads folder within wp-content and right click on the folder and select "permissions."

You need to give permission "744" by typing it into the space labeled "Numeric value" and then tick two boxes.

The boxes you need to make sure you have ticked are "Apply to directories only" and "Recurse into subdirectories."

For your files, you need to give them a numeric value of "644" and tick the boxes named "Apply to files" and "Recurse into subdirectories."

Once you have done this, hit OK and let your FTP software run until it has finished changing these files.

3. The Death Of WordPress (White Screen Of Death)

The white screen of death is one of the more common WordPress errors and the one that makes people panic the most. However, it's not as bad as it may seem.

What happens if you can't see anything on your website?

You're left with a white screen and can't access anything.

White Screen of Death

This issue can be as simple as a compatibility problem due to a plugin, theme, and other bugs. 

The primary cause is either your plugins or themes conflicts with each other or doesn't work with the latest WordPress update.

Possible fixes

Plugins

This one is a similar fix to the internal error issue.

You need to load up your FTP software and find your plugins folder.

Once you have seen it, rename it something such as "plugins_1" and then create a new folder named "plugins."

If this fixes the white screen of death, you need to find out which plugin is causing the issue.

While still in your FTP software you should individually copy files from "plugins_1" to the new "plugins" folder to resolve the issue and find the problem.

Finding the problem can be done (once you have access to the admin panel) by deactivating all of your plugins and then reactivating them one by one.

Alternatively, you can use Plugin Detective.

The last step is to either remove the problem plugin or find an updated version.

Theme

Using your FTP software you need to navigate to /wp-content/themes and rename the folder of the theme you are currently using.

Open up your admin panel and go to the themes page.

Renaming the folder should have caused the theme to revert to the original theme you chose when you created your WordPress website.

Similar to the plugins, you will need to either remove the theme or look for an updated version of the theme.

Note: You may need to contact the creator of your theme or the company you purchased it from if the issue persists. 

4. Error 28 (MySQL)

Error 28 is can be one of the most common WordPress errors. However, little to nothing can found on the internet about it.

I have thoroughly researched this Error, and to the best of my knowledge, it is related to your cache being filled up or too many files in your /tmp directory.

Possible fix

All you have to do is locate your /tmp directory and empty it. That can also be done using FTP software.

If it doesn't work, you may need to contact your hosting provider for issues related to your cache.

5. Database Connection Error

Note: In any instances where you see (dot) replace that with a real dot.

If you have tried to access your website and seen an error saying "Error establishing database connection" it is commonly created by an error in your "wp-config(dot)php" file.

If you receive this, you should head straight over to your FTP software.

Common WordPress Errors

Possible Fix

Inside your FTP software, you need to open the "wp-config(dot)php" file and ensure that everything in that file is correct.

What you are checking for is:

  • Name
  • Username
  • Password 
  • Host

If you check them and they all appear to be correct then you should try resetting your MySQL password manually. 

Westhost made an excellent guide on how to reset your SQL password.

Theme Issues

Downloading and installing themes on WordPress is simple but when they start to cause errors or bug out it can be infuriating! 

Themes on WordPress tend to have quite a few issues associated with them.

The cause might be compatibility issues, themes being outdated or even missing files.

In general theme issues are the most common WordPress errors you will receive and are most likely the easiest to fix.

6. Stylesheet Is Missing

If you are trying to use a theme and you notice the stylesheet is missing, then it means the rood theme folder hasn't been uploaded. 

In some cases, there is a possibility that the creator may not have included it when you purchased/downloaded the theme. 

However, it is more than likely you didn't upload it.

Possible fix

You need to open the location of where you saved the theme either on your desktop or within a separate folder.

If the theme file is zipped, then this is the time to unzip it.

You can use programs such as Winzip or WinRar to unzip files.

Once its unzipped you should see all of your files for the theme.

If you see it in your theme files, you will usually find it in a sub-directory which has the same name as your theme.

Once you have found it, zip the file and upload it via WordPress.

Alternatively, you can upload the unzipped files through FTP software if you prefer to do so.

7. How Not to Lose Your Custom CSS Changes

Making custom changes to your WordPress theme helps make your site unique, however, these custom changes aren't a part of the original code.

That means that you could potentially lose your custom changes if you do not use these methods.

Note: Never make ANY changes to the original CSS file.

Possible Fixes

​Additional CSS

In the 4.7 WordPress update, they added the additional CSS section into your customize section.

You can get there by going to Appearance >> Customize >> Additional CSS.

Believe it or not, things were handled very differently before this simple update.

For example, some people had to edit their CSS through a theme customizer (depending on if the theme had one), Jetpack (A multiple-purpose plugin) was another solution, & lastly, some people used the next answer, Child Themes.

Child Themes 

In short, a child theme is a direct copy of its respective parent theme (aka the main theme that you uploaded to your WP site); but with one exception, you can edit the main CSS file without losing any code when future updates appear.

Using child themes isn't the best solution since the additional CSS file came around in the 4.7 update.

However, it's still an option.

There isn't a difference except for adding an extra plugin to your site.

I would recommend that you use the Child Theme Configuration plugin.

There is a video below from the plugins directory page on WordPress.

Note: Sorry for the bad quality, they had uploaded the video in 480p.

8. Your Site's Menu is Blank

This issue mostly happens to beginners.

When you install a new theme, you may notice that your menu has disappeared and you're struggling to find out why it has gone.

Well, this is because the theme you installed doesn't come with your custom menu pre-loaded on to it.

The theme has its defaults, and creators can't create the theme pre-packaged with your menu.

Possible fix

Firstly, you need to make sure that you created a custom menu in the first place; For those who don't know how Codex created a guide on how to create a custom menu.

If you already have a custom menu and its not appearing, you need to make sure you have assigned it a location.

Themes sometimes come with multiple menu locations, and others only have one.

Site Menu is Blank

Click to Image to See in Full

Pick the location you want your menu to be and save it; this should resolve your issue.

9. Severe WordPress / Site Breaking Issues

There are some (though unlikely) severe issues you can experience while using WordPress.

Some of the problems may be security related issues, an entirely corrupt website where all of your files are corrupt, a virus issue or even an issue such as hacking.

Issues like this can usually mean downtime for your website or can break your site.

Issues such as these can result in you not being able to access your website whatsoever or even take your site down completely.

If this happens, then you can experience a loss in traffic or even a significant hit to your business.

In any such event, you shouldn't try to fix it on your own.

If you happen to encounter a problem that isn't a standard issue, then you should immediately take further action.

In such a case you should contact your hosting company or go directly to WordPress themselves and try to get the issue resolved.

If its something as severe as hacking and any fraudulent issues take place, then it may be a matter for law enforcement.

What to Take From This Article

As a website owner, you will undoubtedly encounter one issue or another from time to time.

There is no way to avoid experiencing them; everyone goes through them at some point!

However, you should now have some peace of mind that it will more than likely be a common bug with an easy fix.

In some cases, it might not even be a bug it could be maintenance downtime from WordPress if they are updating their servers.

It's necessary to keep calm and figure out the problem as most issues can easily be fixed on your own.

Are there any common WordPress errors you have came across or experienced that I haven't mentioned?

Have you experienced any of the more severe WordPress issues?

How did you handle fixing them?

I would love to know in the comments below!

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