Top Common WordPress Errors And How to Fix Them

In this post, I will discuss the top common WordPress errors in an order where the top list are severe where you can not even use your WordPress site and going down the list you will find errors as medium where your WordPress is fully or partially functioning

Here is the list of top common WordPress errors

  1. How to fix in WordPress the white screen of death – type severe
  2. How to fix in WordPress internal server error – type severe
  3. How to fix in WordPress PHP memory limit error – type severe
  4. How to fix in WordPress establishing database connection error – type severe
  5. How to fix in WordPress 403 forbidden error – type severe
  6. How to fix in WordPress fatal error: call to undefined function is_network_admin() – type severe
  7. How to fix in WordPress parse error: syntax error – type severe
  8. How to fix in WordPress pluggable.php file error – type severe
  9. How to fix in WordPress unavailable for scheduled maintenance error – type severe
  10. How to fix in WordPress too many redirects error – type severe
  11. How to fix in WordPress image upload issue – type medium
  12. How to fix in WordPress “Are You Sure You Want to Do This” error – type medium
  13. How to fix in WordPress Posts returning 404 error – type medium
  14. How to fix in WordPress keeps logging out problem – type medium
  15. How to fix in WordPress login page refreshing and redirecting issue – type medium
  16. How to fix in WordPress upload: failed to write file to disk error – type medium
  17. How to fix in WordPress white text and missing buttons in visual editor – type medium
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How to fix in WordPress the white screen of death

It happens when you visit your WordPress site you see a complete white screen and usually it is on all pages including the home page and all other pages and posts including the admin area, it is mostly due to a plugin that has compatibility issue or your current theme is causing this issue

– Start by disabling all your plugins

you have to use the File Manager under your web hosting account or your FTP software (installed on your local PC) to access your WordPress folders and click on your WordPress parent folder to load all sub folders then go to wp-content and click on that to go to all sub folders where under wp-content folder you will find a folder called plugins (yes this is the folder for all your plugins) rename that folder to plugins-old

I know I did not provide screenshots but if you read about installing plugins on WordPress on method#4 or method#5 where I show you how to access the plugins folder, instead of uploading a new plugin, just rename the entire plugins folder

Logon to your WordPress admin area and before doing anything rename plugins-old folder back to plugins then you can notice that all plugins are now deactivated, start by activating one by one or activating few to see which plugin is causing this white screen to appear


Once you find out the incompatible plugin, you have no choice but to delete this plugin and look for an alternative to replace your deleted plugin with similar one

– Switch your theme to default theme

Most of the times, the above method works but in case you experienced the white screen of death right after you tried to install a new theme then obviously it is your new theme, if you are able to log on to the admin area then switch back to your previous theme but in case of getting the white screen of death on all your WordPress site then you have only the option of connecting to your WordPress site using File Manager or FTP software

Again method#4 or method#5 just practice following these steps to go to the wp-content and there you can find themes folder along with the plugins, double click on the themes folder and rename your current theme which is causing the white screen, go back to the admin area and by default WordPress is smart enough to find that your WordPress theme is not accessible so it will switch to your default theme

– Update WP_DEBUG under wp-config.php

I hope you really don’t need to reach this level where the above 2 fixes did not work for you then you have to see what is the real WordPress error and to do that you have to connect to your WordPress site either by File Manager under your web hosting account or using FTP software, find a file under your WordPress parent folder called wp-config.php (you can download it to your local or most of the File Managers that come under cPanel within your web hosting allow you to edit any file and save it without the need to download a copy to your local) you will find a line as shown below

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false ); 
change it to 
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true);
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Now you will be able to see the actual error but unfortunately I will not be able to help you as I have to see what is the error (usually you do not need to reach this level)

How to fix in WordPress internal server error

No specific reason on the internal server error, you can follow these steps below to fix it

– Disable all your plugins

I made the same repeated point above as a link on disabling all your plugins so I don’t have to list it here again

– Change your theme to default

Same thing here, you can read above on changing to default theme

– Verify that .htaccess file is not corrupted

To describe what is .htaccess in a very simple and easy way, it is a file created by your web server which is running web server software called Apache, anyway if you are hosting your WordPress on Windows server (yes it can happen but I don’t recommend it) then this file will not be there, web.config will be there instead.

Anyway rename .htaccess to .htaccess_old and log on to your WordPress admin area, if it fixes the problem then change the permalinks to posts again to create a new .htaccess file

– Increase your PHP memory limit

Sometimes you have to increase your PHP memory when you receive this error

Allowed memory size of xxxxxx bytes exhausted.

But also it is an option to consider to fix the internal server error if all the above did not work for you, you have to either use File Manager under your web hosting or your FTP software to be able to connect to your WordPress site and update a file located under /wp-includes/default-constants.php (I assume you know now that wp-includes is under your WordPress parent folder)

You will find a code that is exactly like below, first before changing the 64M to 96M, chat or speak with your web hosting support to make sure that you can increase your PHP memory otherwise let they do it for you

$current_limit = @ini_get( 'memory_limit' );
$current_limit_int = wp_convert_hr_to_bytes( $current_limit );

// Define memory limits.
if ( ! defined( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT' ) ) {
if ( false === wp_is_ini_value_changeable( 'memory_limit' ) ) {
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', $current_limit );
} elseif ( is_multisite() ) {
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M' ); --> can be changed to 96M
} else {
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '40M' );
}
}

– Upload again wp-admin and wp-includes folders

Your parent folder for your WordPress site contains these 3 sub folders wp-admin, wp-includes and wp-content

Always wp-admin and wp-includes have the code for running WordPress and they don’t get changed while the wp-content has all the components which we add to WordPress like plugins (for all plugins under your WordPress site), themes (for all your themes)..etc

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Try uploading a new fresh copy of wp-admin and wp-includes to overwrite the existing code as the original code may be corrupted

How to fix in WordPress PHP memory limit error

Although this error I was not planning to insert it here, I changed my mind because it is severe and its solution is mentioned in the above error, please read it under increasing your php memory limit

How to fix in WordPress establishing database connection error

This one you go to your WordPress site and on all pages you see a white screen with big font that says

Error Establishing Database Connection

– Check credential for your database connectivity

First thing to consider is to connect to your wp-config.php file under your WordPress parent folder and check the following

  • Database name
  • Database username
  • Database password
  • Database host — always localhost
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Sometimes, you have to change either database name, username or password if it did not work for you then you have to change the password for MySQL database under the same database username to match the one in the wp-config.php

– Contact your web hosting company

Some web hosting companies put a limitation on your database size and when it happens that you exceed the limit of your database quota then they will shut down your database, again I am not here to judge but

How to fix in WordPress establishing database connection error

You get a message when you visit your WordPress site that looks like below

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access / on this server

This error message can show up on WordPress login page, 403 Forbidden during installation of WordPress, sometimes you may see ‘Access Denied’ instead of 403 Forbidden message or you may see ‘Access to your domain.com denied. You don’t have the authorization to view this page’

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Anyway this error message is due to poorly configured security plugin where it blocked your IP address believing it is malicious, other reason is incorrect file permission, .htaccess file may be corrupted or your web hosting company made accidental changes or updates and this led to changing the permission on all your WordPress folders/files

Whatever the reason behind this error, you need to follow these steps in sequence to fix this error

– Disable all your plugins

You know it now, I made it clear above to read how can you disable your plugins

– Verify that .htaccess file is not corrupted

I described above how to verify if .htaccess file is not corrupted so you can read it again

– Check permissions on all files and folders on your web hosting

WordPress by default after it gets installed, it sets the proper permission for all files and folders under the parent folder so I will ask you to just check only for the permission but don’t do any changes, if it is required for changes to be done, reach out to your web hosting technical support and ask them to do the changes for you, they are familiar with this type of request

To check the permission for files and folders, go to File Manager or use FTP software to connect to your WordPress folder

As shown below permissions on folders are either 744 or 755 while permissions on files are either 644 or 640

FTP change permission

How to fix in WordPress fatal error: call to undefined function is_network_admin()

This error happens when you have just updated your WordPress site and you log on to your WordPress admin area and you see a message that says

Fatal error: Call to undefined function is network_admin() in XXXX

Update all files under WordPress manually

Always this is due to a corrupted updates and the only way to solve this is by uploading the WordPress files manually to your WordPress folder on your web hosting using FTP software like FileZilla and follow the below steps

  • Download the latest update of WordPress (assuming this is what you tried to update to) but if you are not sure then you can download your current copy by visit WordPress releases
  • Extract your downloaded WordPress zip file to your local PC
  • Backup your WordPress site to Google drive by using UpdraftPlus plugin or whatever plugin you would like to use
  • Connect to your WordPress site using FTP and rename wp-admin and wp-includes to wp-admin-old and wp-includes-old respectively
  • Copy wp-admin and wp-includes from your local extracted WordPress copy to parent folder of your WordPress site using FTP
  • Copy wp-content from your local extracted WordPress copy to parent folder of your WordPress site using FTP and overwrite existing files (FTP will display a message asking you if you like to overwrite existing files, select yes) by doing this new files/folders will stay intact while existing files/folders will be replaced
  • Take a copy of your wp-config.php from your WordPress site to your local as you will need it on the next step
  • Replace the first section of your wp-config.php file under your local copy of WordPress with the first section of your wp-config.php which you have taken from my previous step as shown below (please don’t copy the code below, this is just an example to show you what to copy), this step will provide your WordPress site with the proper credentials as this file gets updated for you automatically when you first install your WordPress from your web hosting and I don’t want you to lose this critical credential section by overwriting it with the default wp-config.php file that comes with the downloaded WordPress copy
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'database_name');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'user');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password');

/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */
define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8mb4');

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

/**#@+
/**#@+
* Authentication Unique Keys and Salts.
*
* Change these to different unique phrases!
* You can generate these using the {@link https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ 
* WordPress.org secret-key service}
* You can change these at any point in time to invalidate all existing cookies. 
* This will force all users to have to log in again.
*
* @since 2.6.0
*/
define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
/**#@-*/
  • Copy all files under parent folder of your local WordPress copy to the parent folder under your WordPress site
  • Remove the .maintenance file from your parent folder under your hosted WordPress site
  • Logon to your WordPress admin side (it should work now) and clear your cache if enabled (assuming you are using W3 Total Cache)

How to fix in WordPress parse error: syntax error

Usually this error happens when you paste a code inside your theme files using the Editor without testing it properly or confirm the source for this code as shown below

WordPress run editor screen

Parse error can have 3 different flavors but they are all similar, it can be something like

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected character in path/functions.php on line number 
Notice: Use of undefined constant constant string – assumed 'constant string' in path/to/functions-file.php on line number 
Parse error: unexpected character in path/functions-file.php on line number 

The character and constant string with the line number gives you a hint of what to look for, you will need the FTP software like FileZilla to connect to your WordPress site


Download the file in question by going to wp-content/themes/name-of-your-theme/functions.php and go to the line number listed on the error, if you are still not sure what to do, I have nice suggestion for you to follow

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There are number of editors online where you can paste the code or only the line of code and they can verify the syntax and suggest if it is a valid code or it needs correction, for example you can try JSSnippet , Cloud 9 or CodeAnyWhere again these are just examples for many online editors with syntax validation tools

Once you fix the syntax error, save the file and upload it again to overwrite the existing file on your web hosting

How to fix in WordPress pluggable.php file error

This error occurs when you activate a new plugin, you get a message when you visit your WordPress site that says

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by 
(output started at /home/username/demosite/wp-content/themes/mytheme/functions.php:1546) 
in /home/username/demosite/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 326

Remember, sometimes your WordPress site loads fine but you get this error message when you try to log on to your admin area, anyway WordPress allows plugins and users to override certain core functions located inside pluggable.php file and if WordPress fails to handle correctly one of these modified functions then a pluggable.php error will show up

I want you to follow these steps in sequence to solve this pluggable.php error

– Check the line number in functions.php

Using either File Manager or FTP software like FileZilla to connect to your WordPress site to download your functions.php file and go to the line number listed above with the help of online code editor tools like JSSnippet , Cloud 9 or CodeAnyWhere you can find what you need to fix, if you don’t see any thing suspicious then I suggest you check for any extra spaces after the php ?> closing tag, just remove the spaces and it should be fixed

– Disable all your plugins

If the above scenario did not work for you then sometimes it may be due to a plugin just follow the guide here on how can you disable your plugins

How to fix in WordPress unavailable for scheduled maintenance error

Sometimes while updating your WordPress site, it times out which leaves your WordPress site in maintenance mode so when you visit your WordPress site you get a message that says

Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a minute.

This is a notification message and not an error as all other errors listed above, this message does not go away by time, remember this message shows up for a minute or two while your updates are running but if it stays longer than that, it is probably due to timing out during update which prevents your WordPress site from coming out of maintenance mode.

Again you need to use either File Manager or FTP software like FileZilla to connect to your WordPress site then look for a file called .maintenance, if you don’t find it then it will be most probably because your FTP software is not showing hidden files (I will assume it is FileZilla) you can force to show all hidden files by clicking on Server then Force showing hidden files from the menu bar, once you find it, delete it and you should get your WordPress site back to normal

How to fix in WordPress too many redirects error

This error will keep you entrapped in loading the same page multiple times and it will show a page on FireFox browser that says

"The page isn’t redirecting properly. Firefox has detected that the server is 
redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete."

And on Google Chrome, it will show a message that says

"This webpage has a redirect loop"

To solve this problem, if you are able to logon once to the admin area, I will start with this step listed below first and if it does not work, you will have to move to the next step

Compare site address URL to WordPress address URL

I discussed this solution before so you can click on this link on how to compare between site address URL and WordPress address URL
If it does not work, proceed to the next step

Update site URL

I explained above how to make sure that WP_HOME and WP_SITEURL should match but because we don’t have access we cannot do this from the admin area so the best way to do this is to use either File Manager under your web hosting control panel or FTP Software like FileZilla to connect to the parent folder of your WordPress site and edit a file called wp-config.php to add the following lines to the end

define(‘WP_HOME’,’http://example.com’);
define(‘WP_SITEURL’,’http://example.com’);

Remember to replace the http://example.com with your WordPress URL and it still does not work, move to the next step

Disable all your plugins

Again I discussed this step to be able to disable all your plugins and you can logon and try to enable one or multiple plugins at a time and see if the problem happens again then it must be the plugin which was enabled recently

How to fix in WordPress image upload issue

This is not an error as you will not see an error message, that’s why I moved down to severity type as medium level, it will occur if you upload an image from the admin area and then you find that it is not uploaded when you validate the Media library

To fix this issue, you need to connect to FTP software like FileZilla and go to wp-content folder where you will find a folder called uploads right click on that folder and select File Attributes and then select 744 and select Apply to directories only if 744 doesn’t work try 755

Now change the permission for all the files by selecting File Attributes and then select 644 and select Apply to files only

FTP fix upload images error

How to fix in WordPress “Are You Sure You Want to Do This” error

Error message says something like below when you try to insert an image into a post, create new tag or categories and publishing a post or page

Are you sure you want to do this?
Please try again

This error is special in terms of leaving you with no clue of what could be wrong, always this error message is due to missing Nonce (Nonce is unique numbers generated by theme, plugin or WordPress file) from the admin URL to protect the WordPress URLs from being abused by adding extra security layer so what happens when nonce fails to be verified due to WordPress theme or plugin not using nonce properly, to fix this error follow these steps below in sequence

– Disable all your plugins

Follow the steps mentioned earlier for disabling your plugins and check to see if “Are you sure you want to do this?” error shows up again by doing any of the activities from the ones highlighted in yellow above, if you still see the error activate all plugins and move to the next action below as it is not caused by plugins but if this error goes away then try activating one plugin at a time and check again if this error shows up again, then the last plugin you activated is the reason behind this error, you know what to do as I described it before under investigating plugins

– Check all your themes

If all plugins are good, connect to your WordPress site using FTP software like FileZilla and rename your current theme (I assume you know your current theme) by going to wp-content/themes/ and rename your current theme folder by adding a suffix -old to the theme folder name, by doing this WordPress will start using your default theme (this is part of WordPress internal code for checking any missing theme and switching to the default theme) log on to your WordPress admin area and do any of the activities highlighted in yellow above, if again you still see the error then you have to follow the last step below

– Update all WordPress files manually

Take backup of your website using UpdraftPlus plugin and follow the steps mentioned earlier on updating your WordPress files manually and this should fix the problem as you will be replacing the exiting authentication unique keys and salts with new ones

How to fix in WordPress posts returning 404 error

This error happens when you try to access any post in WordPress except the home page (your-domain-name.com) and the admin area are both working fine and it is due to a change in Permalinks or losing access to .htaccess file under your WordPress root folder, fixing this error is easy just follow the steps below in sequence

– Check your permalinks setting

I assume that you are pointing your permalinks to post name as any other option will not help you with SEO (Search Engine optimization) so if this is the case, please read this link on how to change your permalinks to post name and check again to see if this resolved your 404 error, if not then follow the step below

– Update .htaccess file manually

If you lose the read access to the .htaccess you will get this 404 error, again you need to change the permission on the .htaccess file to 666 then follow the step above for the permalinks again and back again change the permission one more time to 660

How to fix in WordPress keeps logging out problem

This problem happens when you try to save changes like updating or publishing existing posts/pages

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There are so many reasons as to why WordPress keeps logging you out, I will start with all the steps to follow in sequence and I recommend that you keep following these steps in same order till you get it fixed

– Check that WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) are matching

Make sure that both WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) are matching are matching from the screenshot below they are not matching so if this is your case, fix it right away by making both URL either starts with WWW or not

Check again the problem now and if it is not yet fixed then continue to check the steps below

WordPress check URL under general

– Clear your browser cache and cookies

Try to clear your browser cache and cookies as sometimes an old or expired cookies can be the reason behind this problem, also make sure that your browser has cookies enabled, screenshot below is taken from Google Chrome (I assume you are using Google Chrome)

Step 1: First open your Google Chrome browser and click on the three vertical dots on the upper right hand side and click on Settings from the drop down menu

Step 2: Scroll down and click on Advanced options to load more settins

Step 3: Scroll down to Content settings option and click on the tiny arrow to load its settings

Step 4: Click on the tiny arrow to go to Cookies settings

Step 5: Slide the slider to enable Google Chrome to use cookies on all your visited sites

Step 6: Click on the back button encircle with red in step 5 and again in step 6 to show Step 3 screen again and click on the Clear browsing data tiny arrow to take you to the clear data screen

Step 7: Click on clear data and make sure your time range is set to All time

Google-chrome-cookies-settingsCheck again and see if it is still not fixed then keep following the steps below

– Disable all your plugins

This step comes a lot so I will not repeat it just read it under disabling all plugins

– Restore your WordPress site from recent backup

I assume you are using UpdraftPlus plugin to backup your WordPress site on Google Drive , download the recent copy of the code assuming you did not install any new plugins or themes and also this backup does not have this problem and with the use of FTP software like FileZilla copy all the extracted backup folder to your parent folder of your WordPress site and this action should fix your problem

How to fix in WordPress login page refreshing and redirecting issue

This problem with cause doubt as you will think that you typed a wrong password so you try again one or two times until you realize that there is something wrong with your WordPress login page, to fix this problem I will recommend to start with each step below and try again to see if it fixes the problem otherwise move to the next step

Start by clearing your browser cookies

I explained this before so so please follow the link on how to clear your browser cache and cookies if still no luck then continue following the steps below

Disable your plugins

This step was repeated before, please read above on how to disable your plugins and check again to see if this fixes your problem, remember once you are able to log on then this means that most probably one of your plugins is causing this issue, again using the same technique of enabling one by one (I always enable few of them to save time but this is up to you on how you want to do it) and checking to see if the problem goes away and if Yes then it must be this plugin (in case of enabling multiple plugins, you can start again enabling one by one within the list which you selected)


Again if after disabling all your plugins and you still have the same issue then move to the next step below

Switch your current theme to the default one

Same thing like what we described before so please read above on how to switch your current theme and try again

Rename your .htaccess file

I explained above this step so please read how to verify your .htaccess file to see if it is corrupted and again see if the problem is still there, if not continue to the last step below

Update site URL

I explained this step above on how to update site address URL and WordPress address URL
I am sure this will fix your problem as this is the last resort to follow assuming you have followed all the steps carefully before moving to the next one

How to fix in WordPress upload: failed to write file to disk error

Very similar to the WordPress image upload issue and also the fix is very similar too, please visit the link provided earlier to read the solution but keep in mind that you should apply the permission on all the 3 WordPress sub folders wp-admin, wp-includes and wp-content and this should fix this problem for you

How to fix in WordPress white text and missing buttons in visual editor

You will see below what it means when you go to add new post or page

WordPress-editor-white-text-missing-buttonsThe same approach like what I followed before I will start with a step and if it does not work for you I will ask you to continue further so I will begin with

Clear your browser cache and cookies

I discussed above this and you can click on the following link for clearing browser cache if it does not fix your issue then follow this step below

Try to replace your TinyMCE folder

Sometimes TinyMCE folder /wp-includes/js/tinymce gets corrupted (it gets created by TinyMCE plugin), you have to replace this folder with a fresh copy, so definitely you will require FTP Software like FileZilla and to get your fresh copy of tinymce folder you will need to download and extract your current release of WordPress by visiting WordPress releases take only this tinymce folder and nothing else, log out of your current WordPress admin session and check again if not working then continue to the next step

Fix the problem in wp-config file

Please check the link of updating wp-config file above but this time you will add the following line at the end

define( ‘CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS’, false);

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