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WordPress Troubleshooting and Repair

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WordPress is great when it works, but it’s a complicated piece of software and there are a lot of things outside of the core code that can cause problems. For novice users (and even experience users), it can be difficult and very frustrating to troubleshoot and pinpoint the cause of a problem based on a generic and somewhat cryptic error message. And sometimes you don’t even get an error, but rather just the ‘white screen of death’.

We can fix and repair most WordPress errors whether they are caused by a plugin that doesn’t want to play nicely, code that was inadvertantly (or purposefully) changed, or any of a multitude of other reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the more common WordPress errors and issues that we can help you resolve.

404 errors

A 404 error is simply your server telling you that the page, image, or other file you requested cannot be found. Your WordPress theme should have a specific page to handle 404 errors rather than just seeing the default browser 404 error screen. If your current theme does not have a custom 404 error page, we can assist you in creating one.

If a page does not exist, you know right away because you will see the 404 error page in your browser. But for images and linked files (javascript, CSS, etc.) that do not exist, you often may not know there is a 404 error other than your page may display incorrectly. We can audit your site and fix any hidden 404 errors as well as fix permalink issues that may be causing errors.

Internal Server Errors

Internal server errors are not specific to WordPress, as any site can trigger this error. But within WordPress, the majority of internal server errors are triggered by theme or plugin functions. It can also be triggered by a misconfiguration of the .htaccess file, which is located in the root of your site.

Another possibility is your site’s hosting memory configuration. If you are exhausting the PHP memory allocated to your account, it can trigger an error. Troubleshooting an internal server error generally requires your hosting account login due to the fact that the WordPress login may be inaccessible due to the error.

White Screen of Death

The dreaded White Screen of Death (WSOD) is one of the worst issues for beginners because there is no error information to indicate the source of the problem. It is normally associated with either a PHP or database error, both of which can be complicated to fix if you are not familiar with working in your hosting account backend.

The WSOD error is often caused by plugins and themes, and the first step in troubleshooting is to deactivate all plugins and if needed switch to a new theme. If this resolves the issue, you can begin reactivating plugins one at a time to find the offender.

Error Establishing Database Connection

You might see this error occasionally popup without making any changes to your site. If your site host has an issues with database connectivity, then your site will not be able to “talk” to your database and retrieve your site information.

Every piece of data you see on your site is stored within a MySQL database, and if the connection is severed, your site will be down. Resolving database connection errors requires accessing the backend of your hosting account, due to the fact that all user-facing pages such as the WordPress login and dashboard will be non-functional.

Cannot Modify Header Information

This is actually a PHP error that has nothing really to do with WordPress itself. It can happen in any PHP file for as little reason as leaving an extra space somewhere in the PHP code. This type of error is particularly frustrating to troubleshoot if you aren’t familiar with PHP code.

If you are receiving this error and don’t know where to start, please contact us and we will gladly get your site up and running again.

PHP Memory Limit Errors

These errors might take the form of a message stating “Fatal error: Allowed memory size of XXX bytes exhausted”. Basically what is happening is your hosting account sets a limit on the amount of memory that your PHP scripts can utilize. When a script requires more memory than is allowed, it will trigger a fatal error and everything will come crashing to a halt.

There are several ways to fix this error, with the easiest being simply adding a new line to your WordPress configuration file. Occassionally, however, your web hosting company may have to increase the limit on their end.

Functions.php Errors

Most WordPress themes contain a filed named functions.php which is kind of the “heart” of the theme. This file gets loaded with every page and also in the backend administration area. This is where you can load scripts, define widget areas, set up front-end data filters and hooks, and much more.

Because this file gets loaded everywhere, that creates an issue when you make a code edit and cause an error. There are a gazillion tutorials that provide code to insert into the functions.php file, but if you don’t put it in correctly, there’s a good chance that you will not be able to load your site at all. We can assist you in fixing any errors as well as adding any new code to the functions.php file itself.

HTML and CSS Errors

This is the most common error found on WordPress sites, mainly due to the fact that HTML code can be entered into any post, page, or widget. When users are able to modify code directly, the end result can be a frustrating mix of broken layouts, missing styles, and just pure vented rage.

When your site elements don’t behave as they should (or you think they should), finding a missing closing tag or apostrophe can mean hours of lost productivity. We can not only fix HTML and CSS errors, but we can also optimize your code for faster load times and better SEO.

WordPress Plugin Conflicts

Plugins are responsible for a lot of issues that arise in WordPress. With over 43,000 free plugins available on, there is no way to ensure that every one is coded correctly or whether it will play nice with your currently installed plugins and the most current version of WordPress (which you ARE using, right?).

Occassionally, you may activate a plugin that results in a fatal error, an internal server error, or even just a blank white screen with no way to get back into the admin to deactivate the plugin. For experienced users, fixing the problem is very simple, but for WP beginners it can be enough to put them in panic mode.

We can easily troubleshoot plugin errors and issues and determine which plugin is the bad apple and remove it from your site.

Malware and Hacked Files

WordPress powers almost 30% of the internet today, and because of that statistic hackers are always trying to find new ways in. If you don’t keep WordPress and all installed plugins current, you might as well just hang a sign on your site that says “Hack Me, Please”.

Even if you are vigilent in keeping WordPress up-to-date, there are always new vulnerabilities being discovered. The developers do a fantastic job of releasing security fixes and patches, but sometimes the back door to your site is not through the core code. Plugins are just as vulnerable to being hacked and if you’ve ever viewed your access logs for your site, you will probably see a slew of access attempts on non-existent files which are bots looking for a way in.

If your site has been hacked or you THINK your site has been hacked, we can evaluate your site and determine the steps necessary to remove any malicious code and also lock up your site to prevent future attacks.

WordPress Troubleshooting and Repair Projects

The following are some examples of repair and troubleshooting projects we have completed for our customers. If you would like us to fix a snafu, submit it here or if the live chat button is visible in the top menu, feel free to start a chat session.

  • Fix permalink 404 errors
  • Fix Internal Server Errors
  • Reconnect database connections
  • Reinstall WordPress after failed update
  • Resolve PHP fopen errors
  • Correct file and folder permissions
  • Repair fatal error in functions.php file
  • Fix .htaccess file errors
  • Resolve fatal error in pluggable.php file
  • Fix require_once() fatal error
  • Correct 403 Forbidden errors
  • Fix ‘Error establishing a database connection’ error
  • Resolve ‘cannot modify header’ error
  • Redirect HTTP to HTTPS
  • Fix ‘You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page’ error
  • Resolve ‘Call to undefined function’ plugin error
  • Update link URLs after migrating to new server
  • Fix jQuery and javascript errors
  • Corrected issue of sidebar below content
  • Fix missing stylesheet error on theme install
  • Fix ‘Are you sure you want to do this? Try again’ error
  • Correct W3C validation errors
  • Fix media upload error
  • Fix contact form e-mail send issue
  • Repair and optimize database tables