20 Common WordPress Errors and How to Fix Them (2023)

WordPress is undeniably a powerful program. However, you will encounter technical problems from time to time. These WordPress errors can be frustrating and take up valuable time.

Fortunately, you can fix most of these glitches yourself. By familiarizing yourself with the most common WordPress errors and their root causes, you should be able to fix most problems on your website.

In this article, we will show you some effective strategies to get you started. Then we cover 20 of the most common WordPress errors and show you how to fix them. Let’s go!

Getting started with WordPress troubleshooting

It can be difficult to determine the root of a WordPress error. Therefore, we recommend that you start your troubleshooting with some general strategies that might solve the problem.

You can start by clearing your cache. A cache helps your browsers load websites faster by storing data. Deleting allows you to get rid of outdated content, which may be enough to fix your problem.

You should also consider updating your theme, plugins, and WordPress core. If you encountered an error after downloading a new plugin or theme, disabling it may also suffice.

Finally, we recommend that you constantly create backups of your website. If a fatal error cannot be fixed, these copies can help you restore your site without losing too much information.

How to fix the most common WordPress errors

Here’s our handy guide to solving 20 of the most common WordPress errors.

1. The White Screen of Death

The white screen of death is exactly what it sounds like: a blank, meaningless screen. Occasionally you may get an error message:

An example of a possible White Screen of Death, a common WordPress error.

There are two common culprits behind this problem: plugins and themes. These can cause compatibility issues that prevent you from accessing your website.

However, there are a number of other possible causes as well. Check out our article on how to fix the WordPress White Screen of Death for a full list of potential causes and helpful solutions.

2. 400 mistakes

400 errors come in a variety of forms, from 400 to 499. However, they are all HTTP client errors. Therefore, they can usually be traced back to a communication problem with your server:

An uncustomized 404 page template.

Different client error codes have different fixes. Some individual codes, like the 401 error and the 403 forbidden error, have multiple possible solutions. We’ve also put together a guide to help you fix the all-too-common 404 not found error.

3. Internal server error

These 500 errors can be quite confusing. You rarely get any information other than the title: all you know is that your server crashed.

Because of this ambiguity, an internal server error usually requires a bit of troubleshooting. However, the good news is that you can usually fix it with a few focused steps. We’ve put together a 500 Internal Server Errors guide to show you how.

4. Memory Limit Error

Storage limit errors can be traced back to your hosting provider. Depending on your plan, you are usually allotted a certain amount of server storage. If you exceed this limit, you will see this error.

The quickest solution is to increase your PHP memory limit as shown in step 6 of our HTTP image upload guide. However, if you keep encountering this storage limit error, you should consider upgrading your hosting plan.

5. Failed to establish database connection

Your WordPress site needs to connect to the MySQL database to function properly. However, if something goes wrong during this process, you will likely see this message:

An example of the error establishing a database connection.

Your users can’t view your content and they can’t access your dashboard. Luckily, this problem is pretty easy to fix. Start with Check your database credentials. If they are set right, you can also try these steps to fix the database connection error.

6. Maximum upload file size exceeded

Your WordPress site has a unique upload limit determined by several factors. If you try to upload a file that exceeds this limit, you will receive an error message. You can view your limit by going to Media → Add New:

An example of the maximum upload limit.  Exceeding it can lead to one of the most common WordPress errors.

You can increase your upload size by editing yours php.ini File. However, this does not work for all hosting plans. So we recommend talking to your hosting provider or just compressing your images instead.

7. Maximum execution time exceeded

When your website processes data, it usually does so with a maximum execution time limit. If processing cannot be completed within this limit, a timeout occurs and the operation cannot be completed.

WordPress.org offers a simple solution to this problem: Adding the following code to your php.ini File:

 max_execution_time = 60

However, this approach may not always work. So it might be better to contact your hosting provider to solve this problem.

8. Auto upgrade failed

Automatic updates can be a handy way to keep your WordPress site running on the latest technology. However, this process may fail and cause the website to crash.

In this case, the best solution is to simply update your website manually. You may also want to take a few steps to ensure you’re updating WordPress safely.

9. Error writing file to disk

You are likely to get the error “Upload: Error writing file to disk” after trying to upload media files. This can be especially annoying if you run a website with a lot of photos.

In general, there are two main causes:

  1. Incorrect file permissions.
  2. A server error.

First, make sure your file permissions are set up correctly. If that doesn’t work, contact your host.

10. Connection timed out

Server limits are an unfortunate reality of running a website. If you load your server heavily, you may get a connection timed out error. This is particularly common with shared hosting plans:

An example of a connection timeout error.

One solution is to disable all plugins. Then reactivate them one by one until you find the resource-consuming program. You may also want to switch to a default WordPress theme, although quality themes shouldn’t cause this problem. Finally you can try Increase your storage limit.

11. Secure connection error

A secure connection error occurs when your server is misconfigured. As a result, your site cannot connect to WordPress.org. This can prevent you from updating your core files.

Unfortunately, there is no do-it-yourself solution to these WordPress errors. Sometimes you just have to wait a few minutes and it will go away on its own. If it doesn’t resolve itself, you can contact your host directly.

12. Stuck in maintenance mode

Updating the core software is an important part of running a secure website. To achieve this, WordPress installs a .Maintenance File. After the update, the file is usually removed. However, sometimes this can go wrong, resulting in your site being stuck in maintenance mode:

Scheduled maintenance mode not going away can be one of the easiest WordPress errors to solve.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. All you have to do is use an FTP client to connect to your website’s server. Then look for them .Maintenance file in your root folder and delete it. Your website should be back to normal once you delete the file.

13. Cloudflare error 521

Cloudflare is a powerful security service that can also speed up your website. However, the Cloudflare service sometimes fails to connect to your server. This results in a 521 error.

To fix this problem, make sure your server is up and running. Then check if your firewall is blocking Cloudflare’s IP ranges. In addition, you can always contact your host for assistance.

14. Images don’t work

Occasionally WordPress images are not displayed. If your media library looks something like this, you’re probably dealing with corrupt media files:

An example of images not displaying correctly and possibly corrupted.

This can be due to a few causes ranging from malicious actors to server errors. If you’ve recently added or updated a plugin, try disabling it to see if it’s the culprit.

This problem can also be caused by incorrect file permissions. So we recommend you change yours uploading Approval to 755. If this doesn’t fix your images, you should run a security check and ask your hosting provider for help.

15. File type or page access not allowed

Some file types are not allowed by WordPress for security reasons. In most cases, this prevents hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your data. However, this can also prevent users from uploading harmless files.

To configure your website to allow additional file types, you can use a free plugin like File Upload Types.

16. WordPress syntax error

Syntax errors occur when something goes wrong with the structure of your code. It probably doesn’t happen spontaneously. It’s more likely to happen in one of two situations:

  1. You recently added custom code to your website that contained a syntax error, possibly caused by an accidental typo.
  2. You installed a new plugin or theme that caused a syntax error.

Usually the syntax error will indicate the exact file/line causing problems which you can use to troubleshoot the problem. If you can’t figure it out, a good first step is to roll back any recent code changes or new plugins/themes.

You can also enable WordPress debug mode to track down the issue.

17. SSL error

An SSL certificate is a simple and effective way to protect your website. In fact, most quality hosts even offer them for free. However, the process can be complex and occasionally lead to a few different WordPress errors.

The best way to avoid them is to set up your certificate correctly the first time. You can do this by using your host’s built-in SSL certificate installation tool, which most hosts offer. Furthermore:

  1. Make sure you have properly configured your WordPress site to use HTTPS.
  2. Make sure to renew your SSL certificate if your host doesn’t do it for you (However, most hosts do this automatically).

If you continue to have problems with your host’s SSL certificate, contact customer service.

18. Corrupt database

If a file has been corrupted, your WordPress site will not be able to use it. This may result in an “Error Establishing Database Connection” error or other glitches.

The easiest way to solve this is to restore a backup of your website. After that, your website should work as usual. You could also open yours wp-config.php file and add the following code below:


After WordPress processes this code, your website should be back to normal.

19. Target folder already exists

When installing a plugin or theme, you may encounter the “Destination folder already exists” error. The installation fails and you see a message similar to this:

A WordPress error in the destination folder.

This usually means that you already have the program installed. Even if you previously deleted it, sometimes the folder remains on your website and causes errors.

To resolve this issue, use your FTP client to open your file wp content folder. Then find the folder with the name of the program, delete it and try the installation again.

Note – In newer versions of WordPress, WordPress gives you the option to reinstall a theme or plugin even if it already exists. This means that this problem usually only occurs if you are using an older version of WordPress (In this case we recommend you to update).

20. Banned from your admin page

Being locked out of your admin page can be the ultimate frustration. Without this access, there is not much you can do with your website.

Unfortunately, this is one of those WordPress errors that can have a multitude of possible causes. It can be as simple as a typo in your password or as complex as a problem with yours .htaccess File.

Despite all the possible causes, repairing your admin access doesn’t have to be difficult. You can follow our complete troubleshooting guide instead.

You can also try changing your admin password manually or create a new admin user via phpMyAdmin.

Say goodbye to WordPress errors!

WordPress errors come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be minor annoyances while others can wreak havoc on your site. Luckily, understanding the most common culprits can help you stay prepared.

In this article, we’ve covered 20 of the most common WordPress errors. We also showed you how to fix them and gave tips on how to avoid them in the future.

To learn even more about how to troubleshoot problems on your website, you can also read our Beginner’s Guide to Troubleshooting WordPress.

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