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4 Most Common Server Issues That Affect WordPress


Since WordPress was first launched, till date, it has helped countless people to start their businesses online, by simplifying the way people built websites. WordPress has literally changed the way people looked at Web Designing.

It’s not much surprising to know that more than 30% of the internet is powered by WordPress. That’s the news of yesterday. Though 19,500,000 websites on the entire web use WordPress, it is essential to know that along with all the advantages and luxuries, there are “not so many” vulnerabilities that a WordPress user must be “well-aware” of. No one is flawless, not even the most popular Content Management System. WordPress too have some common issues that any user will encounter at least once while dealing with their website.

Here, I took some time out to share with you some common WordPress server issues that might bother your site and how you can solve that simultaneously optimizing your WordPress site.

Tighten Your Safety Belts First!

Before we go on a ride together, it is essential to make sure we don’t end up – “nowhere”. That’s a mysterious place anyone could be at. So, what we can do before starting our venture is, make sure we don’t end up being in the land of “nowhere”.

Before you make any changes to your site, it is better to have a backup of your original site. Just in case, if we mess up anything, we would at least have our site as it was. You might have heard the old adage, “Precautions are always better than cure.” Exactly. That’s what I’m trying to say, don’t take this little piece of advice casually. Otherwise the land of “nowhere” is not too far from us.

“Backup your site now, and I won’t mind if you thank me later for this little piece of advice.”

There are many plugins out there to backup your website, Updraftplus is the one I would recommend. So now hoping that you have already backed up your site, I would love to plunge ahead and discuss some of the most common WordPress errors that every WordPress user may encounter some or the other day.

P.S. I’m not here to claim that I have covered it all, what I’m about to tell you is, I have covered errors that according to me, every WordPress user encounters at least once while surfing and splashing through WordPress. I must admit, WordPress is not limited to the errors that “as per my perception” every WordPress user encounters. Basically, I have covered a bucket from the ocean of errors pertaining to WordPress.

What will you need?

Whenever we encounter an error, it’s indeed not a pleasant experience except you being a technical geek who loves to disrupt things and then fix it for the good. I’m sure you are a “gentleman” like me, and you might feel a little frustrated at first when you encounter an error. Hence, the first thing that you need to deal with any error is, “a cool head” filled with abundant patience, enough to deal with the problem at hand. Panic will again lead you to the mysterious land of “nowhere”.

And along with a cool mind, you will also need an FTP client (I would recommend – FileZilla) and a Text Editor to modify files.

I assume you are ready with a backup and a cool mind. Here are presented some of the most common WordPress Server issues (and their solutions that will help you for the good.) For the entire blog, I’ll be showing you the SEQ (Simplest | Easiest | Quickest) way you can solve any problem.

The File Exceeds the Maximum Upload Size for the Site:

Well, this was the first error I encountered while “surfing and splashing” my dear WordPress. I would prefer not to describe the way I resolved it, or else you might shut this blog right away. (I simply contacted my host and got it fixed.) Instead, I would be more than happy to show you how you can fix this by yourself:

Here’s how you can fix this:
There are multiple ways you can do so. The SEQ way to do so is by a plugin named, Increase Max Upload Filesize WordPress plugin. This is a new plugin which can help you increase your file size up to your will.

Further, if you wish to go with the complex way of doing this, there are many blogs out there to help you with the most complex ways of doing it. I too know many complex ways to do so, and I can share one with you as well.

You can increase your file size by modifying your .htaccess file: You can find your .htaccess file in the root directory of your WP installation. Once you find it, open it with any editor and paste these three lines at the end of the file where it says #END WordPress:

  • php_value upload_max_filesize 25MB
  • php_value post_max_size 27MB
  • php_value memory_limit 30MB

A quick tip: If you are hosting your WordPress website on a premium host, then the best way to do this is by simply asking your host to fix this for you. Reputed hosts believe in delivering great customer service and helping their customers in all the ways they possibly can.

500 Internal Server Error:

Until your last visit, your website was working perfectly fine and suddenly now – you see a white page with some black text on it which says, “Internal Server Error”. You might feel ridiculous about this error, but the good news is that we can fix this from our end with a few tweaks.

One of the most common reason responsible for this error is a “corrupted .htaccess file”. It is to be noted, this is not the only reason for the error, there are many! To mention a few, this might have been caused due to conflicting plugins, or theme or even a corrupted WordPress installation might be responsible for this error.

This is not enough, at times, PHP memory limits may also cause a 500 Internal Server Error. No matter what caused this error, we can easily go ahead and fix things for good.

Here’s how:

  1. With the help of your favorite FTP client, navigate the root directory of your WordPress installation, locate the .htaccess file, rename the file, (as an example, .htaccess_old). Once you do this try reloading your website and see if this fixed the problem at hand. If so, I bid you congratulations! If not, we still have a “cool head” filled with abundant patience with us. Glad that we already have it with us. There are many more workarounds to try to fix this.
  2. Try to increase the PHP limit and see if that resolves this for us. PHP memory limits are generally set by your host and WordPress. WordPress will try to increase your limit if you begin exceeding it, however it can only go as high as the limit your host has placed on your server. In shared hosting plans, this limit is generally low. You need to increase your PHP memory limit in WordPress and refresh your site to test whether or not this is causing your 500 internal server error.
  3. Try deactivating your plugins one by one. Now with a cool head with lots of patience, we can accomplish any task at hand. Assuming you are unable to access your WordPress admin area, I can suggest to do it via FTP. Try deactivating your plugins one by one and try to refresh your site after deactivating each one of it to see if that has resolved our concern.
  4. Still not resolved? Not to worry at all when you have a pot full of patience. If you have yet not resolved the issue, here’s what you can do next: either seek for a professional opinion, or you can surf the internet to explore more solutions to this concern.

Today, there are so many companies offering WordPress Development services who can help you out with this. If not, you can always seek help from various forums and discussions out there on the internet, they too can prove to be helpful.

Error Establishing a Database Connection:

When WordPress is unable to connect your site’s database, it shows something similar to above error. Database is that auspicious place where all your posts and pages, including other vital information is stored.

99 out of 100 times, this error is caused due to faulty credentials inside wp-config file. So, the first course of action to fix this would be to get in to wp-config file and check for your login credentials. To check if your password and username are right, edit your wp-config.php file and look for the following code:

define('DB_NAME', 'database_name’);
/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'username');

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

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

In the above code sample:

  • username is the username of the MySQL database user that has access to your WordPress database
  • password is the password of the MySQL database user
  • host is the address of the server that is hosting your database. Here’s a list of common MySQL hostnames
  • database_name is the name of your WordPress database you are trying to access

Have a look at your credentials in your wp-config file and fix them if they seem to be invalid. However, if you still face any challenges while fixing this, I would suggest you contact your host and get some help regarding this. If they are unable to help, you can seek some professional help from WordPress Development Services offered by some of the prominent companies across the globe. Following is a “not so common” error that I think is worth adding to the list.

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.

Every time you update your WordPress to a newer version, WordPress creates a temporary .maintenance file which automatically gets deleted when the update completes. However, the problem occurs when the .maintenance file is not deleted automatically once the upgrade is completed, this generally happens when the upgrade process itself is not successfully completed.
This can be simply fixed by deleting the “.maintenance” file from the root directory of WordPress installation.

Here’s how you can get this fixed. With the help of FTP, you can sign in to your WordPress root directory, and from there you can find the .maintenance file and delete it right away!

Final Words

Above described were some of the most common and not so common WordPress server issues, according to me, that you might encounter while “splashing and surfing” the ocean of WordPress.
As said earlier, errors in WordPress are not limited to my list. I’m sure you will encounter many more. However, with “a pot full of patience” I’m sure you will make it through.

Maulik Shah Author

Mr. Maulik Shah is the founder and CEO of Biztech Consultancy: WordPress Development Company. He is a tech enthusiast and specializes in Magento development. And therefore can write on various aspects of ecommerce technology and provide IT solutions for enterprises, startup businesses across the globe.