7 classic WordPress errors and how to solve them

7 classic WordPress errors and how to solve them

Although WordPress is an incredibly useful and well thought-out content management system, there often are the same problems. Especially if you spend a lot of time using WordPress, you will eventually find yourself confronted with one of these classic WordPress problems.

But don’t worry, most of the time the solutions are very easy to implement, you just have to know how. I’ll explain to you in this article how you can easily fix 7 classic WordPress errors. So if you find a mistake, don’t turn it around, just take a breath, get a fresh coffee, and fix the error 🙂

White Screen of Death (WordPress shows a white page)

What is that?

Almost every WordPress user eventually stumbles upon the so-called White Screen of Death. You open your website and suddenly your whole screen turns white, WordPress just shows you a white page. You may now think “Oh no, everything is gone”, but I can reassure you, it’s all still there.

How can I fix it?

This error can have multiple causes, and there is a solution for each.

Increase the PHP Memory Limit

Often this error is caused by a PHP Memory Limit that is too low. To fix the White Screen of Death, you need to navigate to your wp-config.php file in the main directory of your WordPress installation. Do that with your FTP client, open the file and insert the following line. Be careful not to insert them after the closing PHP tag in the last line, but before.

 define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '128M');

With this line we set the PHP Memory Limit to 128 MB and solve the problem in some cases. If the problem still exists, it is sometimes necessary to contact the hoster, as in some cases it still needs to increase the memory limit in other ways.

Disable plugins / themes

In particular, if the White Screen of Death appears after a plugin installation or the update of plugins, you need to search for the error right here.

If you have installed a new plugin or theme or updated an existing one, turn it off again and check if WordPress still displays the white page.

If you don’t know if any of the plugins is to blame, then it’s best to log in via FTP and temporarily rename the plugins folder. Just give it a new name or hang another letter on it. This ensures that all plugins are deactivated at once, so you can go to your website and see if the page is still white.
Before you ask: your plugin settings will of course be preserved and after you have given the folder its original name again and activated the plugins, everything is back as it was before.
If everything is back to normal after renaming the plugins folder, you have to cange back the name to the original “plugins”, and then deactivate one plugin after another via FTP by renaming its folder and check your website again every time.

If you’ve found out which plugin is to blame, delete it and find an alternative, or contact the manufacturer.

Reinstalling WordPress Core Files

If the previous fixes didn’t help and your website still displays a blank page, we’ll need to try something new. Download the latest WordPress version here and unpack the .zip file. Now you upload the unzipped folders wp-admin and wp-includes, and overwrite the existing ones with them. After that, you do the same with all files except wp-config.php and .htaccess.

In some cases, this helps to get rid of the White Screen of Death.

FTP data required when installing or updating plugins and themes

What is that?

You may be asked for FTP credentials when you install or update WordPress plugins and themes. This happens when WordPress does not have access to the files or your Apache user is running the wrong mode. Yes, that sounds complicated, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s easy to fix 🙂

How can I fix it?

As promised, it’s super easy. All you have to do is open your wp-config.php file and enter your FTP credentials using the following three lines of code:

 define('FTP_HOST', 'ftp.example.org');
 define('FTP_USER', 'username');
 define('FTP_PASS', 'password');

Of course, you need to replace “ftp.example.org” “username” and “password” with your FTP credentials. Once you’ve done that, the updates should run smoothly and without asking for the credentials again.

Maintenance page after updates

What is that?

During the installation of plugin or WordPress updates, your website will be temporarily offline and will only display the message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute”. Normally, this maintenance mode is turned off automatically after the updates are completed, but sometimes it gets stuck and keeps showing up.

How can I fix it?

Fortunately, this WordPress error is solved very easily:

  1. Log onto your server via FTP
  2. Navigate to the main directory of your WordPress installation
  3. Delete the .maintenance file
  4. Check if your website is back up again
  5. Restart the update

404 Error Pages

What is that?

Another well-known WordPress error is that although the backend is working, some pages or posts cause 404 errors and are therefore unreachable. This can happen if for example, your .htaccess file has been deleted or modified. Don’t worry, no data has been deleted here and you can fix the problem with only small adjustments.

How can I fix it?

There are two approaches to fixing the 404 Error pages. Let’s start with the simplest approach:

Navigate to the “Permalinks” under “Settings”. Here you simply click on the “Apply changes” button at the bottom and thusly force WordPress to regenerate the URLs.
Now check whether the 404 errors still exist.

If so, we will now make a second change to solve the problem:

Connect to your web server via FTP and open the .htaccess file, which you will find in your WordPress main directory. You will now add the following code to this file. If you can’t find the file (make sure to check wether hidden files are displayed), you’ll have to create one with a text editor (Word is not the right one!).

 # 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]
 </IfModule>
 # END WordPress

Image upload issues (https error / an error occured)

What is that?

Whether it’s after updating a plugin, updating a theme or even installing the latest WordPress version, most WordPress users know this classic WordPress problem. You want to upload an image or another file, but you only get the error “There was an error during the upload” or “http error”…

This is neither pleasing nor does it help in the search for the actual problem. There are several causes for this error. We will now go through one by one and fix it.

How can I fix it?

Let us look at the various causes and their solutions. It is best to check whether the problem still exists after each solution has been implemented.

Check free space

The simple and much-forgotten thing: storage space!

Have you exceeded or reached the storage limit provided by your hoster? You can look this up in your hoster’s backend.

If so, clean up your webspace (delete outdated backups, remove unused images) or upgrade your storage.

Update PHP version

WordPress, plugins and themes are based on the scripting language PHP. To keep you up-to-date, WordPress, plugins and themes are always adapted to the latest PHP version. However, if you use an outdated PHP version for your website, this can cause problems.

So log in to your hoster, go to domain management or look in the menu for a point called “PHP versions” or similar. There you should set the PHP version of your domain to 7.3. Try to always keep up with the newest PHP Versions. But read more about this in my article WordPress & PHP 7.0 – How, Why and Compatible Plugins.

Increase the PHP Memory Limit

As with the “White Screen of Death”, the PHP Memory Limit can also play a role here. So use your FTP client to navigate to the WordPress main directory and insert the following code into the wp-config.php.  Make sure that you do not insert this code after the closing PHP tag in the last line, but before it.

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '128M');

This increases the PHP Memory Limit to 128 MB, which often fixes this error.

Disable plugins

Did you install or update a plugin before the error occurred? If so, then turn it off again and check if the error still exists. But if you haven’t done any installation or update, it’s best to disable all plugins to find out if any of them are causing the error. If the upload works again after deactivating the plugins, reactivate one after another and check whether the upload is still working.

Checking the ownership

You may have changed the ownership of your WordPress folders for some reason, so you are no longer allowed to upload files.

WordPress Change File PermissionsYou need your FTP client again to navigate to the folder “wp-content”. There you make a right click on the“Uploads” folder and change the ownership rights or also called file permissions, to 755. It is important that you set the rights “recursively” so that the subfolders also get these ownership rights.

Posts & Pages do not change after updating

What is that?

Sometimes nothing changes on an existing page or post after you changed something.

For example, you change the contents of an existing page. After clicking on “Update” you reload the page, but it still displays the old content.

This problem is caused by caching. Either through your browser cache, or through the server cache.

How can I fix it?

Go to your plugin overview and deactivate your caching plugin. Some also offer the function to empty the cache, what you should do. In most cases of this error, the caching plugin has simply “forgotten” to clear and refill the cache. If the page then displays the new content, you can reactivate the plugin. This also fills the cache with the new content.

If that doesn’t help, go to your page with another browser or smartphone, or clear your browser’s cache. It keeps the last version of every website that is accessed.
You can find out how to clear the cache here: Chrome, Firefox

The posts on the blogpage (the overview) are displayed too long

What is that?

Whether on the homepage or another page, somewhere you probably provide an overview of your posts.

How the articles on this page are displayed is determined by your theme. Depending on the theme, the excerpt text is sometimes cut after a certain number of words, not displayed at all, or the content of the “excerpt” field of the post is used.

However, it also happens that the entire article is displayed there without being cut. This is due to a missing “Read more” tag.

How can I fix it?

You can easily insert the “Read More” tag. To do this, open the article in the backend and add a “read more” block where you want to shorten the article for the overview (preferably after the first section or introduction).

If you use the classic editor, you’ll have to navigate with your cursor to the toolbar of the WordPress Editor over the second icon from the right in the upper line (depending on the themes and plugin there could be even more icons). The tooltip now shows “Insert read more tag”. Simply click on this icon and a dashed line will be inserted in the editor.
Your readers don’t see any of this in the actual post.

So, we’ve already fixed 7 of the most common WordPress issues 🙂

Have you encountered any of these problems or others? Then just leave a comment and I’ll ad those errors to the article.

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