How to Fix WordPress Errors and Keep Your Site Humming

Despite its user friendliness, WordPress can have a mean streak sometimes. All kinds of errors can occur on your blogsite that screw up your workday big time, issues that make you rampage to the Forum and beg for answers.

But a lot of the problems with WordPress have similar fixes and if you remember some basic remediation techniques, you’ll save yourself time down the road.

Tips to Fix WordPress Errors

Here are some solutions to fix WordPress errors that are most commonly experienced. These fixes are drawn from the WordPress Codex and Support Forum, as well as my own experience, and are meant as general suggestions.

New plugin won’t work

Most of the problems you ever encounter can be blamed on plugins.

Try deactivating all plugins besides the new one and re-activate one at a time while checking the results.

Site crashes after new plugin installation

Something is wrong with that plugin and it’s conflicting with your other functions. Nuke it.

If you can’t access the Dashboard, go to Cpanel File Manager or FTP and change the name of the new problematic plugin with “- old.”

Fatal error or white screen of death

fix wordpress errors white screen
An error alert or blank page means that PHP is crashing, usually due to a function conflict, usually introduced by a plugin or a theme.

If you were messing with pages in Editor and if you have access to the dashboard, try undoing the last thing you just did. If it’s a mess, try replacing the core file downloaded from

Deactivate all plugins and reactivate one at a time while checking the results.

If that fails to resolve the issue, access your server via SFTP or FTP, or a file manager in your hosting account’s control panel, navigate to /wp-content/themes/ and rename the directory of your current theme. This will force the default theme to activate and demonstrate or rule out a theme-specific issue.

Download WordPress and on FTP or a Cpanel File Manager, delete and replace your copies of everything on the server EXCEPT the wp-config.php file and the /wp-content/ directory with fresh copies from the download.

Username displays on brute force attack alert

lockdown alert

Your username or nickname is exposed on your site, making hackers one step closer to breaking in.

Change your nickname and display names in your User Profile.

Change your User Nicename in your Cpanel’s phpMyAdmin module.

Premium theme won’t install

theme zip file

A theme won’t install unless it’s properly named. Be sure the downloaded zip is named for the theme only.

Unzip the downloaded file and find a zip file named for the theme only. If that doesn’t exist, unzip the downloaded file andre-zip the core files with the theme’s name.

Your site gets hacked

safe browsing

If your site is hacked, start by referring to the WordPress Codex which offers a step-by-step method of recovering.

Immediately change passwords for WordPress, your host Cpanel, hosting ftp, as well as the Salts found in your config.php file.

Request Help from Your Host. You might be able to coax them into using their resources to do or tell you something useful.

Replacing the current WordPress version should wipe out hacked files not placed in your wp_content folder.

Use the clean backup of wp_content saved to your hard drive or Cloud and restore that to a clean new installation of WordPress. Check thoroughly before repointing domain.

Track Server Logs to figure out how a vulnerability was exploited and comb the server logs provided by security plugins for clues..

Use 3rd a Party Auditing Tool like Trustwave to scan for sql injections and viruses.

If you feel overwhelmed, hire a professional developer to clean up your site.

Read More: The Best Tips to Securing WordPress Websites and Keeping Hackers Out

Images or other elements don’t display

Troubleshoot by activating another theme to see if the problem persists

In Cpanel File Manager check that the permission for the parent file wp-content/uploads is set to 755.


internal server error

Internal server errors (error 500) are often caused by plugin or theme function conflicts.

If you can access the Dashboard, deactivate all plugins and reactivate one at a time while checking the results.

If not that, try activating another theme to see if the problem persists.

Without Dashboard access, go to Cpanel File Manager and navigate to /wp-content/themes/ to rename the directory of your currently active theme. This will force it to switch to the default theme.

If that doesn’t work, try renaming your htaccess file in Cpanel File Manager set to view invisible files, or do it in FTP.

Access your server via SFTP or FTP, or a file manager in your hosting account’s control panel, and rename the .htaccess file to “.htaccess-old.” If you can’t find a .htaccess file, make sure you have set your SFTP or FTP client to view invisible files.

If that works, make sure that you go to Settings » Permalinks and click the save button. This will generate a new .htaccess file with proper rewrite rules to ensure your post pages do not return a 404 error.

Memory limit error

memory fatal-error

If you get internal server error only when you try to login to your WordPress admin or uploading an image, then you should increase the memory limit by following these steps:

  1. Create a blank text file called php.ini
  2. Paste this code in there: memory=64MB
  3. Save and upload it into your /wp-admin/ folder using FTP

If you still have the issue, contact your host.

Site crashes after automatic update

If you can access the Dashboard, deactivate all plugins and reactivate one at a time while checking the results.

If not that, try activating another theme to see if problem persists.

Page preview won’t display changes

Try emptying you browser history for one hour or one day, depending.

In Chrome, use the Incognito function (shift/command/N) to display the page as if it’s on a different computer.

Empty the cache plugin.

HTTP image upload error

upload error

Log off and log in to WordPress again.

If that doesn’t work, go to Cpanel File Manager and check the Write permissions in your Uploads folder. Should be 644.

More at the door

While the potential for problems is infinite, this list represents only the most common ways to fix WordPress errors.

If you are experiencing continual, specific problems with your site, I suggest you contact a qualified WordPress developer or your site’s web host.

Having said all that, what’s your favorite problem/fix with WordPress?

Daniel Moscovitch SEOIf you live in Vancouver, BC and want to learn about how to optimize your WordPress site for search engines, you owe it to yourself to attend our WordPress Workshop on Monday, July 11th for a special presentation, The Art of SEO with Daniel Moscovitch. In it, you’ll learn SEO basics, What Google looks for, Proper On-Page Optimization and Setup, Schema Markup, and Basic Offpage Linkbuilding from this mastermind of internet marketing – all while enjoying a nice IPA at Big Rock Brewery. Get more info and RSVP now!

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