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As famous, powerful, and flexible as WordPress is, it’s far from flawless. For various reasons, from user-side errors to malware in your computer, issues might pop up occasionally – ones with or without an explanation or error code. Most such issues are no cause for panic, as you can resolve them with little effort. However, knowing where to look and how to approach each issue is half the battle. So, let us explore some of the most common WordPress issues and how to solve them.
First and foremost, before and after you run into any WordPress-related issues, it’s vital that you perform backups. That will allow your website to remain intact as you troubleshoot, reverting to a healthy and functional state as needed.
Manual backups aside, there are three main ways to make hassle-free backups:
In all cases, always remember to thoroughly check for the exact features and services you’re getting beforehand.
As regards WordPress backup plugins specifically, the WordPress plugin library offers an array of plugins for this purpose. Among them, you may consider the following:
Finally, before you start troubleshooting, you will need to have some tools in hand. You may not need to use them for every case, but having them at your disposal can help.
First, you will need a text editor. Notepad++ is the best choice here, but others can also work.
Second, you will need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. FileZilla is rightly famous for this purpose, but others can also suffice. In all cases, FTP clients will differ visually but always serve the same function; establishing a connection to the server and manipulating files without going through the admin panel.
A typical FTP interface will look like this:
With your groundwork and tools, let’s delve into the five most common WordPress issues.
The white screen of death is likely the worst offender, in that it offers no explanations whatsoever. If you stumble across it, you’ll get just what the name suggests and nothing else:
Worse yet, there are a few different causes of this issue. As such, start by identifying the scale of the problem:
In the latter case, the most common offenders are themes, plugins, and files.
First, you can start there if you have access to your WordPress admin area. Deactivate all of your plugins, and reactivate them one by one to identify the culprit:
Alt. tag: A screenshot of a WordPress dashboard on the plugins page.
If you do not, you can still do so via FTP:
If this does not fix the issue, repeat the process for themes. If you have access, reverse to a default WordPress theme from your admin area. If you don’t, use your FTP client to navigate to your wp-content/themes folder and repeat the above renaming process.
Individual files also cause many common WordPress issues, and this one is no exception. You may try the following steps if a faulty file is a problem.
To do so, access wp-config.php through your FTP client and add the following lines:
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', 'wp-content/wp-errors.log' ); define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );
Once you do, examining error logs should reveal fatal errors, along with file paths and other details.
To do so, access wp-config.php again and locate the line:
“That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging”.
Right after it, add the following line:
That will increase your PHP memory limit to 64MB. You can also try 128 or 256MB if need be.
Refer to the above instructions for this step.
If all of the above fails, you’ll likely need professional help. It’s not unlikely that the issue might be on your web host’s end, too.
Like the white screen of death, an internal server error can also occur for several reasons. Just like it, it also doesn’t offer much information to help you pinpoint the problem. For these two reasons, it’s among the most common WordPress issues users struggle with.
Thankfully, a few solutions can also help with this issue. Namely:
There are two additional steps fit for this specific problem worth outlining.
This file contains necessary directives and may be corrupted. If it is, it can very well cause internal server errors as the site structure and links get corrupted.
To check this, you can:
If this fixes the issue, log into your site and navigate to Settings>Permalinks. Save your changes, and a new .htaccess file will be created.
Remember that .htaccess is hidden by default, so you may need to have your FTP client force show hidden files:
Alternatively, it could be that core WordPress files have been corrupted. If that’s the case, the solution is relatively more straightforward:
That will not alter your other files in any way.
Similarly, 403 Forbidden errors are among the most common WordPress issues and can occur for several reasons. Just like the above, too, it usually doesn’t offer much information to help with troubleshooting:
Thankfully, it also shares another similarity with the issues above. That is, a few different likely solutions:
Another possible cause of this issue is incorrect file permissions. In this case, you will need to follow a slightly lengthier process.
First, use your FTP client to navigate your WordPress installation’s root folder. Right-click it and select “File Permissions” from the menu. When you do, you’ll be presented with a dialog box like this:
Here, set the root folder’s permission to either 744 or 755. That is the default numeric value for folder permissions, whereas 644 or 640 are the default ones for file permissions. Once you do:
If this doesn’t fix the issue, an individual file’s permissions may be causing it. Repeat the process above for individual files, using 644 or 640 numeric values.
A prevalent issue, too, 404 Not Found may be among the most notorious problems across the web. It’s also one of the most common WordPress issues, and it, too, does not explain much:
Faulty permalink settings typically cause this error. As such, unless you’re using some link-related plugin, you can:
That will flush the rewrite rules for your site and usually solve the 404 error.
If it doesn’t work, you can also update your .htaccess file manually:
If you’re using a link-related plugin, start by disabling it to identify the problem. Then, depending on your plugin, reinstate its settings one by one as you ensure they don’t reproduce the problem.
Finally, you may also use WordPress plugins like All In One SEO (AIOSEO), which can fix such errors for you:
However, that step will differ among different plugins, so we encourage you to follow your plugin’s documentation and instructions.
Finally, you may encounter 413 Request Entity Too Large. This one also doesn’t provide much of an explanation:
However, the name gives it away. 413 means your files, themes, or plugins are too large to be uploaded. That is not one of the most common WordPress issues, but it’s common enough to warrant a mention.
Beyond contacting your web host about it, you can solve this in several ways.
You can do so by locating your functions.php file via your FTP client. Use your text editor of choice to add the following lines of code to it:
@ini_set( 'upload_max_size', '64M' ); @ini_set( 'post_max_size', '64M'); @ini_set( 'max_execution_time', '300' );
Conversely, you can add the following lines of code to your .htaccess file:
php_value upload_max_filesize 64M; php_value post_max_size 64M; php_value max_execution_time 300; php_value max_input_time 300;
If you encounter an error when uploading a specific file, you can use your FTP client to upload it manually.
To sum up, some of the most common WordPress issues may not offer much to help solve them. There’s no reason to panic, however, as we’ve outlined above. Similar practices can resolve most such problems, like refreshing your .htaccess file and deactivating themes and plugins. Others require more specialized approaches, especially if they’re due to some uncommon cause. Finally, if all else fails, your web hosts should be able to help you resolve the issue at hand.