With over 450 million WordPress websites on the internet, it’s no surprise you’re trying to learn more about how it works. WordPress makes managing a website easier than ever. However, that doesn’t mean that things will never go wrong.
If you want to troubleshoot website issues like a WordPress expert, this post will help you learn how. Below are several common WordPress problems and how to fix them.
Stuck in Maintenance Mode
You can’t afford to let your WordPress installation sit idle and not make any updates over the years. While your installation may have protection today, that doesn’t mean there won’t be exploits discovered in the future that puts your installation at risk. That means that updating WordPress should be a crucial part of your maintenance plan.
Unfortunately, updates don’t always go as planned. Sometimes an update will get stuck and cause the process to stop completely. If this happens, your website will get stuck in maintenance mode.
Nobody can view your website when this happens. You’ll need to log into your web host to delete the file that puts your site into maintenance mode.
To do this, log into your website with FTP. You’ll find a file in the root WordPress directory called “.maintenance.” Delete this file to restore your website to working order.
Error Connecting to Database
WordPress websites aren’t static. They rely on databases to know what content to show users. Without a database, your WordPress site is only a blank page.
That’s why WordPress runs a check on page loads to ensure there’s a database connection. If it doesn’t find this connection, you’ll get an error connecting to the database message.
In many cases, this error comes up because of corruption in your database. The good news is that WordPress offers a way to repair your database.
Connect to your website with FTP and open the “wp-config.php” file. Add the line “define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);” at the end of the file before the section that tells you to stop editing.
Once you make those changes, head to the URL: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php. You’ll get a prompt that lets you start the database repair process.
If you regularly add content to your WordPress website, the chances are good that you’re going to end up with a ton of pages. While you will likely keep most of those pages around in the future, that won’t be the case for all of them.
It’s a good idea to regularly go through your website to prune old pages. The question is, what happens to the pages you delete?
If you have any internal or external links that point to those pages, you’ll get a 404 error when you land on that page. You’ll need to go through your website to find any internal links and switch them to a similar page.
Things are more challenging for external links. You can’t always email a web admin and ask them to change the link for you. To fix this issue for external links, you’ll need to install a 301 redirect plugin to redirect your deleted pages to another page on your site.
Redirection to Scam Sites
Security is something you can’t take lightly when it comes to WordPress. As one of the largest website platforms used today, it’s a big target for hackers.
Unfortunately, some of your website plugins and themes will likely get compromised in the future. When this happens, a hacker will have access to the file system for your web server.
In most cases, hackers will write malicious files to your server. These files will modify your WordPress files and redirect your visitors to scam websites.
Luckily, you can usually find these files and remove them. Log in to your FTP account and look for files with strange names. Delete anything that was recently written to disk.
Hackers will also overwrite your core WordPress files. Copy a fresh installation of WordPress to your server to ensure WordPress is using the correct files.
From there, you can install a firewall plugin on your website. Plugins like WordFence will monitor your WordPress files to ensure hackers don’t compromise your website. If you have issues getting your website working after a hack, you may need to contact a WordPress expert support service to help.
White Screen of Death
As you make changes to your WordPress site, the chances are good that something will eventually break. Whether it’s a theme or plugin, malfunctioning software can cause your site not to load. You’ll get nothing but a white screen when this happens.
You can start troubleshooting this issue by disabling all your WordPress plugins and themes. Head to your FTP account and rename your plugin and theme folders to disable them. Once you do, you can start enabling them one-by-one until you find the problem files.
Another cause for the white screen of death is exhausting the PHP memory limit. You’ll need to log into your hosting’s control panel to modify your PHP settings to fix this issue.
The last thing to look for when you have the white screen of death is to enable debug mode. Open your “wp-config.php” file and add the line ” define(‘WP_DEBUG’, false);” at the end of your file.
Once you add that line of code, you should see error messages when you open your website. You can use these messages to help determine what the problem is.
Now You Can Become a WordPress Expert
While WordPress can be challenging if you don’t have a technical background, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to manage your website. The above are only a few of the WordPress problems you’ll come across. However, now you have what you need to become a WordPress expert who can fix any problem.
Of course, there’s more to running a website than keeping it up and running. Head back to the blog to learn more tips that will make running your site easier.