10 typical WordPress errors – and how you can easily eliminate them

WordPress and error messages: Unfortunately, sometimes a well-known couple. From time to time, errors creep in during operation – especially when updates are being carried out or new plugins are being used. Even when editing the CSS and PHP files of the theme, it can quickly and unintentionally happen that WordPress no longer works as it should.

Over the years, typical errors have emerged that almost every WP admin has encountered. In many cases, they can be fixed with just a few clicks. In this article we are happy to tell you which clicks are involved.

Briefly in advance: Backups help in the event of disasters

It goes without saying that proper website maintenance also means that backups are always available. If a disaster occurs that cannot be remedied quickly, then current backups are worth their weight in gold. After all, backups were made precisely for such cases – namely when everything is running smoothly and not only when it is almost too late.

Fix syntax errors in WordPress

A syntax error usually occurs when trying to add snippets of code in WordPress – and accidentally missing something or the code has incorrect syntax. This results in a PHP parse error. In this case, WordPress or the server on which WP is installed issues a message such as:

Parse error – syntax error, unexpected $end in /html/website/wp-content/themes/mein-theme/functions.php on line 158

In plain language: Something was found in the specified PHP file that simply does not belong there. In many cases, that “something” was created simply by leaving something else out beforehand. Most often it’s a missing parenthesis or an unexpected character in the code. If the missing bracket is reinserted and the file is saved, the page often runs again without problems.

Fix Internal Server Error in WordPress

One of the most well-known errors is the Internal Server Error, sometimes also described as a 500 Internal Server Error. This error usually occurs when something is wrong, but the server is unable to pinpoint the source of the problem. Unfortunately, since the error message does not indicate where to look for the error, everything remains somewhat mysterious. It’s up to you to find out where exactly the problem lies.

Typical sources of error are in the configuration file .htaccess, which is located in the root directory of the server. Problems can arise here, especially in combination with your own permalinks. It is often enough to reset the permalinks back to the WP standard.

If internal server errors occur frequently, the memory limit for PHP on the server should be increased, if possible. WordPress sometimes requires a lot of memory, but shared hosting providers sometimes give their customers too little of it in the basic setting.

Fix errors when establishing a database connection

Another classic is the “Error Establishing a Database Connection” (or Error Establishing a Database Connection). For whatever reason, WordPress can no longer access the database that contains all the information, for example on entries and pages of the WP installation. The error can occur during operation or directly during installation.

A simple solution is to check the database credentials stored in the wp-config.php file, so right here:

define('DB_NAME', 'datenbank_name');
define('DB_USER', 'datenbank_benutzername');
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'datenbank_passwort');
define('DB_HOST', '127.0.0.1:3306');

Entries can now be corrected and the wp-config.php file saved. The front end of the WP website should then work again. If not, then the database may be corrupt and need to be repaired. This can be done using the phpMyAdmin tool.

If the suggested solutions do not help, then the database server may not be available for a short time. In this case, the only thing that really helps is to wait a bit.

Error 404 on individual posts or pages

A rather strange error occurs when individual posts or pages of the WP installation show an error 404 instead of the desired content. The start page and the backend are often not affected by this error. In this case, it is almost always a problem with the permalinks.

Here it is often enough to call up the tab for permalinks in the settings and save the settings again. If you still get an error 404, then the configuration file .htaccess in the root directory of the WP installation should be examined more closely.

A standard .htaccess with enabled permalinks under WordPress looks like this:

# 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

Sometimes it can also happen that the file does not have the required rights to do what it should. Permissions should be set to 640 – or set to 660 temporarily. The 404 error for individual posts should then be gone.

👉 In the following article you will learn how to redirect a 404 error to your start page.

Fix white screen of death

A completely white page is described as the “White Screen of Death”. The website itself has practically disappeared, and there is no more or less helpful error message either – but the backend is often still accessible.

Most of the time, the error is caused by a script exhausting the PHP memory limit. But it can also happen due to a configuration of the server. In addition, it is also possible that a “white screen of death” threatens only on certain subpages. Increasing the memory limit for PHP helps here.

In any case, it is worth looking directly into the backend area of ​​the WP installation. WordPress now offers assistance here and provides information as to whether a plugin or theme is causing “too many” errors. In this case, the culprit is quickly found. It can also be worthwhile to deactivate all plugins at once and then reactivate them one by one.

Sidebar slides under the content

Another common problem – which especially beginners face – is related to the sidebar, which suddenly appears below the actual content, although of course it shouldn’t be there. You may be familiar with this problem when you are building a page with html code – one missing character, one html section too many – and it can already “shoot up” your page.

Sometimes, while adding or editing code snippets of their website, users accidentally forget to close a div tag or add an extra closing div, which can mess up the theme’s layout. Another common cause is using a “disproportionate” width in CSS or improperly deleting a float.

So: Close all divs correctly and the sidebar becomes the sidebar again.

Unable to upload images: Fix upload error

If images cannot (any longer) be uploaded via the WordPress upload function, there can be a variety of reasons. Some are with the images themselves, others with the server on which WordPress is installed.

It should first be checked whether the image format is supported by WordPress at all (JPGs, GIFs, PNGs and SVGs). In recent years in particular, it has happened again and again that WEBP files are uploaded, but this format is still not supported by WordPress – but plugins can solve this problem.

If it’s the server, then maybe the physical disk space is full. This can happen especially if only a small web hosting package was chosen.

However, it is also possible that the wp-content folder does not have the necessary rights to allow the upload of files. 755 is required here, while the files themselves have permissions of 644. This should be checked and adjusted if necessary, then in many cases uploading images will work again.

Another cause can be the actual file size. If your hoster or a setting restricts the max upload size, WordPress will give an error message here if your file exceeds this size.

WordPress Login: Fix Persistent Redirects

When logging into the WP page, it can sometimes happen that the login page keeps trying to redirect the user – and simply fails. What sounds simple can actually have serious consequences: users can no longer log in.

Cookies that have been set can be the source of the error here. It is therefore advisable to delete the cookies for the domain without further ado and then start the login again. If that didn’t help, the .htaccess file in the root directory of the installation can be deleted. In this case, however, WordPress forgets the settings for permalinks. They must then be reconfigured again.

Sometimes it can also be useful to add the following two lines to the wp-config file:

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

This makes it clear to WordPress that both settings are the same values. It should be noted, however, that the settings in the backend can then no longer be changed manually. Only when the two lines are deleted again do the settings appear again in the backend.

403 ForbiddenError

Access forbidden? The “403 Forbidden Error” says exactly that. Various reasons can ensure that access to the start page or a subpage remains prohibited – even if the user has admin rights.

It is often a plugin that is responsible for this error message. This is either incorrectly configured or cannot handle the existing security precautions on the server. In the latter case, it is worth looking for an alternative to the plugin.

A broken .htaccess file may also be the reason for the “403 Forbidden Error”. The defective file can be deleted here in order to then generate the permalinks (and thus a new .htaccess) in the backend.

ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS: Fix too many redirects

Unfortunately, the classic ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS is still up to mischief. There are redirects here that sometimes refer to themselves – which leads to an unsightly endless loop.

Much like the login redirect issue described above, it can be helpful to set the wp-config.php configuration file to “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Website Address (URL)”.

If that doesn’t lead to success, then read our special article on the subject: WordPress error “ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS”: Here’s how to easily fix it.

Unfortunately, the classic ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS is still up to mischief. There are redirects here that sometimes refer to themselves – which leads to an unsightly endless loop.

Much like the login redirect issue described above, it can be helpful to set the wp-config.php configuration file to “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Website Address (URL)”.

If that doesn’t lead to success, then read our special article on the subject: WordPress error “ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS”: Here’s how to easily fix it.

Conclusion: 10 typical WordPress errors – and how you can easily eliminate them

WordPress has been around for a few years – so it’s understandable that some error messages keep popping up. Some can be avoided simply by using a decent hosting package. The economical use of plugins also saves site operators from many a pitfall.

Of course, it is also clear that not every mistake is the end of the world. If the tips and tricks listed here do not help, then a backup must be imported.

About Christian

My name is Christian and I am a co-founder of the fastWP platform. Here in the magazine I am responsible for the more “technical” topics, but I like to write about SEO, which has been my passion for over 10 years now.

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