How to Fix 12 Most Common WordPress Errors: Simplified Troubleshooting Solutions

As WordPress is the most popular and widely used content management system, encountering errors while using it can be very daunting for new users. The errors may downturn the overall site performance. Why so? If they’re not immediately addressed, not only they may cause a bounce rate increase, but they also decrease your site’s traffic.

Even though countless possible errors may occur on your WordPress powered site, the most common ones you may find are:

  • 504 Gateway Timeout
  • 503 Service Unavailable
  • 502 Bad Gateway Error
  • 500 Internal Server Error
  • 404 Error “Page Not Found”
  • WordPress Syntax Error
  • Error Establishing a Database Connection
  • White Screen of Death
  • Maintenance Mode Error
  • Unable to Upload Images
  • Misplaced Sidebar Layout
  • Cannot Log in to the Admin Area

Fortunately, every problem can be fixed rather easily, without the need to troubleshoot for hours. Read on to understand how to fix the most common WordPress errors that you might encounter.

What to Do Before Trying to Fix the Errors?

Errors within your WordPress site can be avoided if you do regular maintenance and performance checking, but, no matter how immune your website you think is, errors can still happen without warning.

Backup Your Site

It’s essential to back up your site before making any modifications, including fixing errors. We don’t want to delete our database instead of fixing an error accidentally, do we? So, make sure you have backed up your site before handling any issues. This way, you can roll back to the previous state if, for some reason, troubleshooting would fail.

You can back up your site manually via FTP and phpMyAdmin on your hosting control panel, or automatically using WordPress plugins like BackupBuddy, Updraft, Jetpack or you can use any wordpress backup service to backup your site.

Utilize an FTP Client

Most of the troubleshooting can be done via FTP. Instead of risking your site by manually tweaking and tuning your hosting service’s FTP, use an FTP client. An FTP client may help you to safely transfer files between your computer and your host’s server. I highly recommend FileZilla to assist you!

The 12 Most Common WordPress Errors and Their Solutions

1. 504 Gateway Timeout

Every error indicated with five at the beginning of the status code is a server-side error, and the 504 Gateway Timeout error comes up when the server is tired of waiting for another server’s response. This daunting white page with the 504 HTTP error message is horrible for your online presence.

As this error is often preceded with slow loading time, your visitors will be very disappointed when it ends up showing nothing. Not only this error gives negatively impact your visitors, but this may also decrease your SEO ranking.


So, it’s essential to take this issue into account immediately. You can effectively tackle this by examining your network connection or checking the server-side. For this specific error, you can find a comprehensive guide over here.

2. 503 Service Unavailable

503 Service Unavailable can be the most confusing error in your WordPress site. This prevents the requested sources from showing up. It’s not clear what makes the problem occur, but you can take a short cut by debugging the issue to fix it.


Do so by deactivating WordPress plugins and themes, enable WP_DEBUG, or solving server-related issues by increasing server resources, and limiting Google crawl rate as well as WordPress the integrated heartbeat API.

3. 502 Bad Gateway Error or Temporary Error (502)

Just like other server-side errors, this issue happens when the server receives invalid responses, so the page you requested cannot be displayed correctly. Even though this is a server-side error, the cause lies behind might be from the client-side.


So, to fix this problem, you can try to reload the page, clear the cache, disable plugins, use a different browser, or check it on another device. If those tips are not working, try to correct the error log by modifying the wp-config.php file. This way, you can check what actually causes the page error.

4. 500 Internal Server Error

Similar to other server-side errors, 500 Internal Server Error is one of the most frequent server issues causing incomplete requests. This error shows that there is something wrong on the server that makes the requested source not deliver to the client even though the server already accepts the request.

What may cause this problem is updates, incompatible PHP version, script timeouts, inaccurate file permissions, or a corrupted .htaccess file.


To solve this issue, you need to track back steps done within your WordPress site and try to find the point where something went wrong.

  • If a theme or plugin installation and update is the reason behind it, disabled them via the Dashboard or hosting control panel should fix it.
  • If it is caused by a corrupted .htaccess file or incompatible PHP version, fix it via an FTP client (or a backup).
  • If you cannot identify the cause, use WordPress debugging by tweaking your wp-config.php file. Then see the cause in debug.log file to further solve it.
  • Instead of starting a new website from scratch, you can restore your previous backup if you cannot solve the current issue. So, you’ll be able to have your site function again!

5. 404 Error “Page Not Found”

This client-side error is one of the most disadvantageous problems that may occur on your website. 404 message informs that the requested resource or page is no longer available. Not only this will interrupt your user experience, but also reduce your SEO rank.

This error may happen in your site if you build links to deleted sources, or you mistype the sources’ URL. To avoid this, you should check 404 pages or links within your site regularly.


Don’t worry if you already got this error; you can tackle this issue by fixing your WordPress permalinks, or edit your .htaccess file via an FTP client. If you still experience this issue after tried those two steps, try to temporarily disable your WordPress themes and plugins from your Dashboard admin area.

6. WordPress Syntax Error

Incorrect code snippets in your functions.php file cause syntax errors, otherwise commonly known as a Parse error.


Therefore, you just have to correct the code to solve this issue. Do so by modifying the file that has the issues via an FTP client. Just right-click the functions.php and choose “View/Edit.”

Then, find the line responsible and replace the current line with the correct code snippets. After you’ve done with correction, re-upload the file, refresh your page, and see what happens!

7. Error Establishing a Database Connection

Error Establishing a Database Connection is a frightening error webmaster may encounter. This error indicates that your WordPress site cannot communicate with your database.

It merely put your website is down: your online presence is gone. Therefore, it’s essential to get into the bottom of this issue as soon as possible.


Most of the time, this error is caused by faulty login credentials, corrupted database, or server error. To tackle this issue, you can audit your login info in the wp-config.php file, access the wp-admin and allow repair to wp-config.php, or consult with your hosting provider.

8. White Screen of Death

Akin to Error Establishing a Database Connection, White Screen of Death (WSoD) makes your site inaccessible, not only to you but also to your visitors. The most frequent cause underlying this error is memory limit exhaustion or PHP code error.


To fix this issue, you can check whether or not the WordPress admin area is working: if it is working, you can just disable your plugins and themes.

But, if that’s not the case, you should increase memory limit or enable debug mode in your wp-config.php file. So, you’ll find the exact cause and be able to handle it properly.

9. Maintenance Mode Error

Your WordPress site may show a maintenance mode page when you’re in the middle of the update process. However, if you encounter this maintenance mode error after you’ve finished the update, this means that there’s something wrong with your update process.

Your update process can be interrupted, leaving your site stuck in the maintenance mode even though you think it’s already done correctly.


To handle this, just delete the .maintenance file located in your WordPress site’s directory. Do so by accessing the server via an FTP client. To make sure that the problem is already solved, check for another error in the search.php and index.php files.

10. Unable to Upload Images

The types of errors related to image uploads are varied. You may encounter an error in uploading the image, broken image display, and even a not-working media library.

Before further fixing this issue, it’s important to know the causes underlying this error. Cracked file and folder permissions frequently cause this issue.


To address this, adjust to permission levels as needed. Use an FTP client to change permission for the WordPress uploads folder within wp-content. Do so by right-clicking it and changing the numeric value into 744 or 755 in the “File permissions.” Don’t forget to tick the “Recurse into subdirectories” and choose the “Apply to directories only” command. You’ll get the correct file permission after you click “OK.” Don’t forget to do the same steps for the files. Instead of using 744 or 755 as the permission level, choose 644.

However, what should you do if you still cannot upload a particular file? Just resize and rename the image to adjust the size limit!

What if you get an HTTP error when uploading images? You can simply increase your WordPress memory limit or increase the threads in your image processor via an FTP client.

11. Misplaced Sidebar Layout

Your site can have a messy misplaced layout out of nowhere that makes your WordPress sidebar appear below the content. This is probably caused by any changes or updates on your themes.


You can correct this issue by downgrading your theme and see whether or not it goes back to the previous condition. If there are no specific changes, you can tackle this issue with an HTML validator to examine HTML tags and elements.

12. Cannot Log in to the Admin Area

This error is a little bit different than the other technical error above as the leading cause of this issue is actually a forgetfulness. You can encounter this error if you forget your login credentials. However, just because you cannot remember your password, it doesn’t mean that you will no longer be able to access your site.


You solve this by simply clicking the “Lost your password?” link under the login form. You can recover your password by entering your registered email address or username.

But, how if you don’t have access to the registered email? You can recover your WordPress admin area login credentials using phpMyAdmin on your hosting control panel. Once opened, head over wp_user and edited the current user_pass row. This way, you’ll get a new password to access the admin area!


As you can see, the above list is of the most common WordPress errors you may encounter, coupled together with their solutions. Remember that before taking any action, you need to make sure that you’ve backed up your site and installed an FTP client. So, you’ll breeze through any errors you might encounter.

I hope this article covered any issues you might have encountered!

9 thoughts on “How to Fix 12 Most Common WordPress Errors: Simplified Troubleshooting Solutions”

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  1. This is a resource article you have created brother. WordPress is simply fun to operate if you know how to handle with different typical errors. Your article answers all these issues at one place and will surely help people to get comfortable with WordPress. Keep sharing more such valuable articles.

  2. Baesicaly wordpress errors come when we create themes , but if we are using any pre build theme it will not give any errors , beacuse wordpress pre build themes are plug n play ….it was very informative infromation by you


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