How to Deal with These 8 Common WordPress Errors

When you’re working on designing your WordPress site, nothing can disrupt your flow like an unexpected error.

If you’re not a developer, errors can seem daunting, but in reality, there’s a reason for every error, which means there’s always a solution.

The only challenge is troubleshooting to find the solution.

Whenever you get an unexpected error in WordPress, try these standard actions first:

  • Disable all of your plugins. Some plugins will cause errors when they conflict with your theme or other plugins. If the error doesn’t go away when you disable all of your plugins, try another solution. However, if the problem goes away, reactivate one plugin at a time to identify which plugin is causing the error.
  • Disable your theme. WordPress themes are wonderful, but just like plugins, they can cause errors when there’s a conflict. If disabling your plugins didn’t eliminate the error, change your active theme to one of the WordPress default themes like twenty-twenty or twenty-twenty-one.

If you find that your theme clashes with a plugin, and that plugin isn’t essential, try finding a new plugin before changing themes. It’s usually easier to migrate content and settings between plugins than it is to start over with a new theme.

  • Purge your WordPress cache. If you’re seeing outdated files, or those outdated files are causing an error, it might be your site’s cache. If you’re using a cache plugin, you can purge your cache from within your plugin.
  • Increase your memory limit through your hosting account. Sometimes you’ll get errors when importing demo content or uploading files through the WordPress file manager because of memory limits.

To increase your site’s memory limits, you’ll need to edit your php.ini file from within your hosting account. Usually, you’ll be given an ideal memory limit with the error and you can change the limit according to that recommendation.

  • Activate debug mode in WordPress. Debug mode shows you errors on every page of your WordPress website. This makes it easier to troubleshoot and trace the error to the source.

Many errors are easily resolved by taking the above actions. However, if the above solutions don’t eliminate the error, you’ll probably need to do something a bit more specific to resolve the problem.

Here’s a list of 8 of the most common WordPress errors along with specific solutions to resolve each error.

1. Your admin panel becomes suddenly inaccessible

Accessing your files through FTP

Were you working on your site and all of a sudden you lost access to your admin panel? This can happen by simply inserting an errant character in a CSS or PHP file. However, don’t panic, because you can usually fix the problem by accessing your files through FTP.

If you already have an FTP account, log in and access the last page you were working on before you received the error. Hopefully, you remember what you were doing and can trace your steps back to the error. Or, if you have a backup copy of your files you can replace the file.

If you don’t remember what page you were working on, or if you can’t find the error, you may need to contact a professional developer for help.

2. You can’t log in and resetting your password doesn’t work

Not being able to log into your website is a frustrating experience, especially when you’re trying to publish or edit content. If you can’t log in and you’ve tried to reset your password with no luck, you can reset your password directly in your database.

If you use Godaddy for a host, this task won’t be easy and might not even be possible, depending on whether or not you can access your database. However, if you’re with a host that uses cPanel, you can easily change your password using PHP MyAdmin.

  • log into cPanel and open PHP MyAdmin.
  • Locate your WordPress database in the column of databases on the left and click on the database name.
  • On the right, you’ll see a bunch of tables appear. Scroll until you find the table titled ‘wp_users’ and with this table highlighted, click on “browse.”
  • Locate the section for ‘user_pass’ and change the dropdown item under the ‘Function’ column to ‘MD5.’ Then, delete all the characters under the ‘Value’ column and type in your desired password. Make sure you’ve selected MD5, or your password won’t work.
  • Click on the ‘Go’ button at the bottom of your screen.
  • Log into your WordPress account using your new password.

3. Parse error or syntax error

Syntax Error WordPress

Parse errors are perhaps the most common WordPress error, but they can be frustrating to resolve. Most of the time, these errors are caused by incorrect code in the functions.php file. It’s common for this error to appear after you’ve edited a PHP file and made a mistake with the code.

PHP is picky about characters, including spaces. Unlike HTML, PHP isn’t forgiving when you put punctuation marks or spaces in the wrong spot.

The good thing about parse errors is they tell you where the error is located. For instance, the error might tell you there’s a problem “on line 344.” Instead of manually counting lines to find the error, open the file in your webhost’s code editor. The code editor features numbered lines so you can skip right to line 344 to look at the problem.

If you can’t figure it out, and the problem is within your WordPress theme, contact your theme developer for help. They might be able to fix it if you still have active support. Otherwise, contact a developer for help.

4. 404 errors

404 “not found” errors are perhaps the most well-known errors on the internet. These errors occur when a page you’re trying to access doesn’t exist.

There are many reasons one of your pages might not exist. For example, you may have deleted the page, changed the URL by changing the file name, or you moved the file to a different folder, which altered the file’s path.

Verify the URL you’re trying to access and if it should exist exactly as you’ve typed into your browser, the problem could be your .htaccess file. In this case, create a fresh .htaccess file with the following default code:

# BEGIN WordPress

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On

RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^index.php$ – [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteRule . /index.php [L]


# END WordPress

In most cases, this will resolve a stubborn 404 error.

As a side note, if you change the URLs for your web pages, make sure you implement permanent 301 redirects so your visitors don’t run into 404 errors when they click on links to your site from other websites.

5. Error establishing database connection

Error establishing database connection

This is sometimes an error that occurs when setting up WordPress, but it can occur at any point in time. This means WordPress can’t access the database with the login credentials stored in your config.php file.

To resolve this error, find and open your config.php file in your main WordPress directory. Verify your login details, including database name and the user connected to the database. Remember that many hosting accounts automatically generate a prefix for databases consisting of the first 8 characters of your username followed by an underscore.

View your database information directly in your hosting account to verify you have all the details correct.

Try the WordPress database optimization tool

Another solution is to use the built-in database optimization tool. Temporarily add the following line of code to your wp-config.php file to activate this tool:

define( ‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true );

After saving your file with the new code, navigate to the following URL, replacing ‘’ with your domain name:

When the page loads, you can choose to repair your database or repair and optimize your database. When the process is complete, the problem should be resolved. After running the repair script, make sure to delete the repair code you inserted into your wp-config.php file.

6. Internal server error

Another common error is the 500 internal server error. There are generally only a few reasons for this error. Either your .htaccess file contains incorrect code or your memory limit has been reached.

To troubleshoot an internal server error, first locate your .htaccess file in your root directory. Next, rename the file to disable it. Once your file has been renamed, load your site again and see if that fixes your issue. If the error is gone, create a fresh .htaccess file to avoid the problematic code.

If this doesn’t work, try increasing your site’s memory limits by editing your php.ini file through your hosting account.

7. Your site content is misaligned

Did your content become misaligned? Is your main menu off center, or has your sidebar been moved into a strange position on your page? Misaligned content is usually caused by CSS errors or changes made in other theme files.

Although there are common reasons for this issue, like leftover <div> tags and incorrect CSS margins, it could be caused by a number of coding mistakes. If you can’t remember what you did when the problem first appeared, you’ll probably need to hire a developer to fix the issue.

This problem is just one reason it’s critical to make regular backups of your files before making any edits. When you back up your files before making edits, you can always revert back when you make a mistake.

8. The “white screen of death” (WsOD)

The “white screen of death” (WsOD)

Sometimes WordPress throws errors in the form of a blank, white screen with absolutely no text indicating the problem. This issue is one of a handful of errors that usually resolves after trying the standard actions listed in the beginning of this article.

For a more in-depth look at this error and how to fix it, check out the WSoD troubleshooting guide from Dreamhost.

WordPress is fairly easy to troubleshoot

Although WordPress can produce many common errors, it’s fairly easy to troubleshoot, thanks to built-in debugging tools and available help online.

If you experience any of these errors, try the steps outlined in this article before you panic. Most WordPress errors are easily resolved. However, if you can’t resolve your particular error, contact a professional developer. In many cases, your error will be an easy fix and it shouldn’t cost too much to resolve.

Need help with your WordPress site? We want to help!

Whether you’re stuck troubleshooting errors that won’t go away, or you need some WordPress customizations, we want to work with you. At, our team of professional website developers are ready to help you achieve your goals and make your website stand out from the crowd.

Are you ready to have a beautiful website that attracts visitors and generates sales? Contact us to learn more about our WordPress development services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Timothy Carter
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