WordPress errors on your site are no joke. While some may cause only minor inconveniences, others can result in major problems. Downtime, failed updates and installations, and missing resources can prevent visitors from accessing or using your site. This hurts your credibility and potentially affects your income.
It’d be almost impossible to know every potential WordPress error inside and out. However, understanding some of the most common WordPress issues users experience can help you prepare and troubleshoot WordPress problems when they pop up.
The Most Common WordPress Errors and How to Fix Them
In order to cover so many different issues in a single post, I’ve organized them roughly according to type. Below you’ll find a general description of the various components of your WordPress site and the problems they might experience, followed by the specific errors and their solutions.
Errors labeled with a number between 400 and 499 are HTTP client errors. This usually means that something has gone wrong during the communication between the browser your site’s visitor is using and your site’s server.
1. 400 Bad Request
The 400 Bad Request response is a catch-all for when your server experiences a client error, but it doesn’t fall into a specific category. That means this error has several possible causes, including:
- An incorrectly-typed URL or one that contains disallowed characters.
- Corrupted browser caches or cookies.
- Discrepancies between Domain Name System (DNS) data and your local DNS cache.
- Trying to upload a file that is too large.
- Some kind of general server error.
Potential solutions include checking the URL for typos, clearing your browser cache and cookies, clearing your DNS cache, and deactivating browser extensions.
2. 403 Forbidden
There are many measures in place to keep your WordPress site safe, including varying levels of ‘permissions’. While this feature can prevent people who shouldn’t have access to your site from gaining entry, it can sometimes cause problems if the permissions are not set properly.
A 403 Forbidden error is one such problem:
To fix it, you’ll need to reset your file permissions or generate a new .htaccess file. This issue may also be the result of a problem with a plugin, your Content Delivery Network (CDN), or hotlink protection.
Check out our video guide for fixing the 403 Forbidden error:
3. 404 Not Found
A 404 error occurs when a user attempts to access a web page that doesn’t exist. Instead of finding the resource they were looking for, they’ll see a page similar to this one:
This problem is relatively harmless but nevertheless frustrating for users. To avoid it, make sure to fix broken links on your site periodically and implement redirects if you delete a page or move it to a new URL.
Check out our video guide for fixing 404 errors:
4. 405 Method Not Allowed
The 405 Method Not Allowed error is your server’s way of saying that it has received the browser’s request but rejected it for some reason.
There are several possible ways to resolve this problem, including rolling back recent theme and plugin updates, checking your server’s configuration and error logs, and debugging your application code.
5. 413 Request Entity Too Large
If this error appears in your browser, it means that the server of the site you’re trying to access can’t process the HTTP request you’ve made because it’s too large.
This often occurs if you’re trying to upload a very ‘weighty’ file. You can resolve this problem by increasing your maximum HTTP request size.
6. 429 Too Many Requests
If a user attempts to access a certain resource too many times over a short span of time, they may receive a 429 Too Many Requests error. This is your server’s way of blocking out suspicious behavior.
To help prevent cyberattacks on your login page that may lead to a 429 error, you can change its default URL. Other solutions include testing for theme and plugin conflicts.
Any error on your site that is labeled with a number between 500 and 599 is an indication that your server is incapable of performing a given request for some reason. Here are a few of the most common examples
7. 500 Internal Server Error
In addition to preventing users from accessing your site, a 500 Internal Server Error can negatively impact your SEO if not resolved quickly:
Unfortunately, the 500 error has many possible causes and solutions, which can make troubleshooting this issue tricky. You can start by clearing your browser cache and reloading the page. If that doesn’t work, you can dive into more technical debugging methods.
8. 501 Not Implemented
This error means that your server doesn’t have the functionality needed to complete the request made by the user’s browser. It’s likely that the server doesn’t recognize the request method.
As with a 500 Internal Service Error, a 501 error can lower your search engine rankings if you don’t resolve it within a few hours. You can try reloading the page, clearing the browser cache, and disabling any active proxy settings to resolve it.
However, you’ll likely need to contact your host for help.
9. 502 Bad Gateway
In cases where one server is acting as a proxy or ‘gateway’ for another, there’s a chance that users may encounter a 502 Bad Gateway error. This occurs when the proxy receives an invalid response from the inbound server.
A 502 error can impact your SEO, so it’s best to get it cleared up fast. Reloading the page and clearing your browser cache are good places to start. If those solutions don’t work, check for issues with your DNS, try disabling your CDN or firewall, or contact your host for assistance.
10. 503 Service Unavailable
When a 503 Service Unavailable error appears, it means that for some reason your server can’t be reached. Although your website is up, it won’t be accessible to users.
This may be due to routine maintenance, high traffic levels, or a more serious problem with your server. The good news is that a 503 error won’t influence your search engine rankings. It can still be highly annoying to visitors, however. To fix it, you can try:
- Deactivating your plugins.
- Switching to a default theme.
- Disabling your CDN.
- Limiting the WordPress Heartbeat API.
- Increasing your server’s resources.
- Enabling WP_DEBUG.
If none of these solutions work, your best course of action is to get in touch with your host’s support team.
11. 504 Gateway Timeout
Like a 502 error, the 504 Gateway Timeout response is the result of a problem with the communication between an inbound server and a proxy. Essentially, it means that the latter server timed out while waiting for the former to respond to a request.
This type of error can negatively affect your SEO. Possible solutions include reloading the page, disabling any active proxy settings, checking your DNS for issues, and temporarily disabling your CDN.
Your server is responsible for storing all of your WordPress site’s files and communicating with browsers to make your content available to users.
While the 400 and 500 errors already listed involve your server in some way, there are also some more WordPress-specific issues that can be caused by problems with your server.
12. WordPress Memory Limit Error
Your hosting provider allocates a certain amount of server memory to your site. In the event that you reach your server’s memory limit, you may run into issues installing a new plugin or theme, or uploading media files to your site.
Instead of successfully adding your new resource, you’ll see a message that reads: “fatal error: allowed memory size has been exhausted”. If this happens, you can try increasing your PHP memory limit by editing your wp-config.php file.
Alternatively, you could check how much disk space you’re using, see if you can improve your PHP memory limit, and consider upgrading to a new hosting plan that offers more space for your growing WordPress site.
13. Uploaded File Exceeds the upload_max_filesize Directive in php.ini
On a similar note, your host also sets a limit on the maximum size for individual files that you can upload to your server. You can see this limit by navigating to Media > Add New in your WordPress dashboard and looking for the Maximum upload file size (the default upload size at Kinsta is 128 MB):
If you need to upload a file that is larger than the specified maximum size, you can change the limit by editing your php.ini file. Alternatively, you can contact your hosting provider to discuss the issue with them.
This is far simpler and less risky than trying to change it yourself and shouldn’t be an issue for your host’s support team.
14. Fatal Error: Maximum Execution Time Exceeded
Servers have time limits on how long scripts can run (usually 30 seconds, at Kinsta the default maximum execution time is 300 seconds). In the event that a PHP script on your WordPress site takes longer than the allotted time limit, you’ll likely see the message: “fatal error: maximum execution time exceeded”.
You can resolve this issue by increasing your site’s execution time limit. To do so, you’ll need to find the script that is running too long, which is likely part of a plugin or theme, and remove it.
15. Upload: Failed to Write File to Disk
Adding images to your posts and pages can make them more useful, interesting, and drive additional organic traffic. However, you’ll have a difficult time doing this if you see a message like “Upload: Failed to write file to disk” whenever you try to add media files to your site.
This error is often due to incorrect file permissions. You can fix this problem by changing your file permissions via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
However, it can also be an issue with your server. When you upload files to WordPress, they are first saved to a temporary folder on your server. Then, they are moved to the appropriate WordPress directory. If changing your file permissions doesn’t fix this error, contact your host and ask them to empty your temporary files directory, as it may be full and preventing uploads.
16. Secure Connection Error
When you update your WordPress installation’s core files, your site has to connect to WordPress.org. Sometimes, due to your server’s configuration, this isn’t possible. The result is a warning in your WordPress dashboard.
As this is a problem directly related to your server, you’ll likely need to contact your host in order to resolve it. Your server may be under a DDoS attack, in which case the error should resolve on its own shortly. Alternatively, you can try fixing the problem yourself by pointing your server towards WordPress.org through Secure Shell Protocol (SSH).
Implementing WordPress security best practices on your site is wise. Cyberattacks could cause serious damage that requires a lot of money to fix. Unfortunately, sometimes the measures you put in place to protect your site can lead to errors.
17. Cloudflare Error 521
Although this is a 500 error like the ones we described in the previous section, it’s specific to Cloudflare. This popular platform is used as a CDN, and for protection against DDoS and other attacks.
Seeing a 521 error on your site means that Cloudflare can’t connect to your server. Either it’s down or is blocking the service for some reason. Generally speaking, checking to make sure your server is up and that its firewall has all of Cloudflare’s IP ranges whitelisted will let you know what’s causing the problem. You can then take steps to work with your host and resolve it.
18. “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted for Security Reasons”
As a security measure, WordPress has a standard list of permitted file types. This prevents malicious parties from adding executable files to your site that could compromise users’ sensitive information.
If a user tries to upload a file type that is not on that list, they’ll see a message reading: “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons”:
You can enable uploads of file types not allowed in WordPress’ default settings by editing your wp-config.php file.
The WP Extra File Types plugin can also be used as an alternative solution.
19. “Sorry, You Are Not Allowed to Access This Page”
We briefly touched upon file permissions earlier in this post, but to recap, they determine who can edit which files on your WordPress site. This keeps your website safe from hackers who might want to insert malicious code.
However, if your permissions settings are incorrect, they could inadvertently block you or well-meaning users from accessing your site.
This can result in an error that reads: “Sorry, you are not allowed to access this page”.
There are many possible solutions to this issue. You may want to try:
- Resetting your file permissions via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
- Checking to make sure your account is assigned the correct user role via phpMyAdmin.
- Ensuring that your database prefix is correct.
- Troubleshooting for plugin and theme conflicts.
In the worst case scenario, you can also restore a backup of your site or reset WordPress.
20. “Installation Failed: Could Not Create Directory”
Whenever you install a plugin or theme on your WordPress site, its files are added to your server. If during an installation or update you receive a message that says “Installation failed: Could not create directory”, it means that for some reason, WordPress was unable to add the necessary files to your server.
The same applies to plugin and theme updates. This is another file permissions-related error.
To fix it, make sure you’re allowed to Write in your wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes directories via FTP.
21. Incorrect File Permissions
In addition to denying you access to certain areas of your site, as in the case of the “Sorry, you are not allowed to access this page” error, incorrect file permissions can prevent you from:
- Updating or installing plugins and themes.
- Publishing or updating posts and pages.
- Uploading images.
On the other hand, if your file permissions aren’t too strong, you leave your website vulnerable and run the risk of hackers gaining access to your files. There they can delete content, steal data, or add their own malicious code.
If you’re running into one of the above issues, or suspect that you’ve been hacked, you may want to verify your file permissions via SFTP:
The default numeric values for WordPress are 755 for folders and 644 for files.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are a security measure used to encrypt data. This prevents hackers from stealing sensitive data such as credit card information as it’s transferred between servers.
If you’ve recently switched hosting providers or installed a new SSL certificate on your site, you may see an ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR in your browser. This means that, for some reason, your server was unable to establish a secure connection.
There are several steps you can take to resolve this issue, including updating your browser and operating system, verifying your SSL certificate, disabling browser extensions, and clearing your browser cache and cookies.
The ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH error could indicate that your browser or operating system is out of date. It may also result from issues with your SSL certificate, or pop up after you migrate your WordPress site to a new host.
If updating your browser and operating system doesn’t help, check for a name mismatch in your SSL certificate. Alternatively, clearing your computer’s SSL state may resolve the issue, or your SSL certificate may be outdated.
24. Mixed Content Warnings
When you add an SSL certificate to your WordPress site, it will start running HTTPS instead of HTTP. In the event that your website is trying to load both HTTPS and HTTP content or scripts simultaneously, you’ll see a mixed content warning.
This will probably read as some variation of: “This site is not fully secure”. In order to resolve the error, you’ll need to follow a few steps to determine which HTTP resources are loading and remove or replace them with HTTPS resources.
25. SSL Handshake Failed
This SSL connection-related error occurs when the browser cannot establish a secure connection with the server. Unfortunately, this can happen for various reasons.You can read more about it here: “How to Fix the “SSL Handshake Failed” Error (5 Methods)“.
WordPress Media Errors
In the world of WordPress, ‘media’ most often refers to image files. However, it also includes video and audio. While these elements can provide engaging and interesting content for your users, they’re sometimes tricky to incorporate due to various errors that may arise in the process.
26. WordPress HTTP Error (Uploading Image to the Media Library)
While trying to upload a file to the WordPress Media Library, you may have come across a vague ‘HTTP error’. This generally appears as a small popup box on the right side of the image uploader.
There are a few possible causes for this problem, including an expired login session, disallowed characters in the file name, wrong permission, and server-side issues.
First, start by refreshing the page. If that doesn’t work, try resizing or renaming your media file. If not in luck, you should then check your permissions or temporarily deactivate your plugins and theme. In the event that you still can’t complete your upload, you may want to contact your host.
27. The Add Media Button Isn’t Working
In the WordPress Classic Editor, the Add Media button is an important feature:
This button enables you to quickly upload new media files or select one from your Media Library to add to your post. However, sometimes clicking on the button does nothing or it may be missing from the editor entirely.
If this is the case, the issue is likely due to a plugin or theme conflict. You can resolve it by adding the define
(‘CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS’, false) function to your wp-config.php file or by troubleshooting for potential compatibility errors.
28. Broken Media Files
If you open your media library and find that all of your images are gone entirely or have been replaced with placeholders, your files may be ‘broken’:
This can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- A problem with your server, such as a performance issue.
- Compatibility errors between your plugins and/or theme.
- Incorrect file permissions.
- A hack or other attack.
To fix the issue, you can try resetting the file permissions for your uploads directory to 755. If that doesn’t work, look to see if there may be any plugin conflicts. After that, if your images are still broken, contact your hosting provider to see if the cause is a server issue.
29. “There Has Been an Error Cropping Your Image”
In the WordPress Media Library, you can implement minor edits to the images you’ve uploaded, such as rotations and cropping. While attempting to edit in this way, you may receive the message: “There has been an error cropping your image”.
There are two possible causes for this error. The first is that you’re running on an outdated version of PHP, in which case you can simply upgrade to fix it. On the other hand, your server may be missing the necessary Graphics Draw (GD) package.
If this is the case, you’ll need to follow appropriate steps for installing it based on your setup. In the event that you run into trouble, you should contact your hosting provider for help.
30. Incorrect Facebook Thumbnail
Social sharing can be an efficient method for building your website’s audience. However, sometimes the wrong thumbnail image may be displayed when your posts are shared on Facebook.
This often occurs when multiple images in your post include the Open Graph (OG) tag. Facebook uses this tag to guess which image it’s supposed to use for the thumbnail, but when multiple images include it, the platform gets confused.
One way to fix this issue is by using Yoast SEO’s social sharing features. By setting your Facebook thumbnail via this plugin, you can ensure that the correct image has the OG tag in place.
Your WordPress installation is made up of two key parts: its files and its database. While you’re more likely to interact with the former on a regular basis, your database is also vital to your site’s ability to function properly.
31. Error Establishing a Database Connection
In the event that your website can’t establish a connection with your MySQL database, it won’t be able to retrieve the data necessary to display your content. Instead, you’ll see an error like this one:
This will prevent users from viewing the front end of your site, and also locks you out of your WordPress dashboard. The most common cause of this error is that your database credentials are incorrect. You can change them in your wp-config.php file.
32. The WordPress Database Is Corrupt
‘Corruption’ is a general term applied to WordPress databases and files when they’ve become compromised or unusable. This will often result in an Error Establishing a Database Connection.
Ideally, you’ll want to restore a backup of your database to replace the corrupt version. If that’s not possible, you can also fix this error by adding the define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true) function to your wp-config.php file.
Suggested reading: check out this guide on how to troubleshoot and repair WordPress database issues. You can also fix some of these issues by using a free WordPress database plugin.
PHP is a coding language that is integral to WordPress. Issues related to its functionality can prevent you from editing your site or result in intrusive messages and notifications.
33. PHP Errors in WordPress
When there is a problem with your WordPress site’s PHP, you’ll see a message or warning at the top of your WordPress dashboard stating what the problem is and which files are affected.
These messages are intended for developers, so they can dig into their sites’ code and revise the issue. If you don’t have experience with PHP, trying to resolve these errors could cause more problems for your site.
In the event that this describes your situation, don’t worry. PHP errors shouldn’t stop your site from running or prevent users from accessing it.
Ideally, you’ll want to contact the developer of any related plugins or themes that might be causing the issue. Otherwise, you can hire a developer to help you fix it.
34. “Missing a Temporary Folder”
Any time you upload a file to your WordPress site, it’s first stored in a temporary folder before being moved to its permanent directory. However, incorrect PHP settings on your server could prevent access to this temporary folder, leading to an error on your WordPress site.
Resolving this problem requires you to access your server via FTP and add the following function to your wp-config.php file:
define(‘WP_TEMP_DIR’, dirname(__file__). ‘/wp-content/temp/’);
Then, you can add a new folder named temp to your wp-content directory.
WordPress File Errors
From your posts and pages to your plugins and themes, your WordPress installation contains hundreds if not thousands of files. Errors related to these key components can result in lost or unavailable content.
35. “Destination Folder Already Exists”
When you install a new theme or plugin on your WordPress site, a folder is created on your server to store its files. If you attempt to install a plugin or theme, and a folder with the same name is already saved on your server, you’ll see an error reading “Destination folder already exists…Plugin installation failed”:
Your first step when confronted with this issue should be to check to see whether the plugin or theme is already installed.
If not, access your server via FTP and navigate to your wp-content folder. Then, look through your plugins or themes to see if a folder with the same name as the component you’re attempting to install exists. Once you delete that folder, you can try your installation again.
36. The WordPress Theme Stylesheet Is Missing
CSS is a coding language that determines your site’s ‘styling’. This may include colors, fonts, and a variety of other elements that make your website interesting to look at.
When it comes to WordPress themes, all the necessary CSS is contained within a file called a ‘stylesheet’. If your theme’s stylesheet isn’t available, your site won’t be able to load properly, and you’ll see an error:
This may also occur during a theme installation:
This could happen because your theme’s stylesheet hasn’t been uploaded to your server, or because it’s named incorrectly and therefore can’t be found. To fix the problem, access your server via FTP and navigate to your theme’s subdirectory.
Then, look for your theme’s stylesheet. If it’s not there, retrieve it from your theme’s files and upload it to your server. Make sure the file is named style.css and is saved within the correct theme folder.
37. Pluggable.php File Errors
Your WordPress site’s pluggable.php file enables users, plugins, and themes to override core functionalities. If a plugin or theme isn’t coded properly, it may result in a conflict with this file.
The issue will appear as a php error message in your WordPress dashboard that references your pluggable.php file. However, the cause of the problem isn’t usually within pluggable.php itself, it could be your wp-config.php or functions.php for example.
Instead, you’ll need to find the real location of the conflict in the error message. Then, navigate to the relevant file and fix it by removing spaces, empty lines, or something similar.
38. WordPress Files Are Corrupt
Just as your WordPress database can become corrupt, so too can its files. This will make them inaccessible, which is a big problem, especially when it comes to core files.
Corrupt files may be the result of a server failure, incorrect file permissions, or a PHP version error. The simplest fix is to restore a site backup. This is a matter of just a few clicks in MyKinsta.
First, log in to the MyKinsta dashboard. Go to “Sites” on the left-hand side and then click on the WordPress site for which you need to restore a backup.
Pick your preferred backup option from those provided and click on the “Restore to” button to decide whether you want your WordPress site backup restored on your live or staging site.
Alternatively, you can replace core files by downloading WordPress, deleting the corrupt files via FTP, and then uploading fresh copies from the WordPress .zip file.
Visitors access your website using browsers of their choosing. This means that various browser errors can keep users from reaching your site. Preventing them will help you avoid missing out on traffic.
39. “Not Secure” Warning in Chrome
When browsing the internet using Google Chrome, you may have noticed that some pages have a ‘Not Secure’ warning next to their URLs:
The browser displays this warning when a website is not using an SSL certificate. If your pages trigger these messages in users’ browsers, it can hurt your site’s credibility, impact your traffic level, SEO, and conversion rates. To prevent this from happening, you can install an SSL certificate.
More recently, Chrome started showing ERR_SSL_OBSOLETE_VERSION warning messages for websites that aren’t using TLS 1.2 or 1.3.
40. “Your Connection Is Not Private” Browser Error
Even worse than the “Not Secure” warning in Chrome is the “Your Connection Is Not Private” page. This error prevents users from easily accessing your site, due to a problem with its SSL certificate (or lack thereof).
If they encounter this page, users may be scared away from your site for fear of their personal information being stolen. You can try to prevent this from happening by ensuring that your SSL certificate is installed properly, but it may also be a client-side issue that your users will have to fix themselves.
A redirect loop, which often displays as “ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS”, happens when there’s a misconfiguration of redirects on your server.
For instance, this could mean that URL 1 is pointing to URL 2, but URL 2 is pointing back to URL 1, causing an infinite loop. Users can try fixing this error by deleting your site’s cookies and clearing their browser caches. You can also try to determine the nature of the redirect loop, in order to figure out the source of the problem and then resolve it.
Like many browser issues, the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED issue usually isn’t caused by something specific to WordPress. However, if users contact you because they can’t access your site due to this message in Chrome, it still helps to be able to tell them how to fix the problem.
The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error occurs because the user’s browser was unable to connect to your site’s server. This could be a server-side problem, in which case you should check to see if your site is down and contact your hosting provider. Alternatively, you can try instructing your users to restart their routers and clear their browser caches.
The ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE issue occurs when a user’s browser sends a request to your site and your server sends nothing back. The most popular fixes for this issue are to clear your browser cache and reset your network settings.
You may also want to advise users who are experiencing this problem to disable any Chrome extensions they’re using and try temporarily disabling their anti-virus software.
The last thing any site owner wants is for their WordPress website to become unavailable to users or showing issues. Not only does this cause you to miss out on any sales, ad views, SEO, conversions, and even affiliate commissions you might have earned.
Where to Get WordPress Support If All Else Fails?
If you’ve tried all these options and nothing is working, you definitely have a real problem on your hands. But you can always turn to your web host for help identifying and fixing the issue. A good web host will provide you with the support you need to get your site up and running again.
The above tutorial was inspired by my Webhosting platform Digital Ocean one of the best affordable hosting platforms out there get $100 in credit over 60 days using my referral link and stay tuned as I will be covering loads of more interesting tutorials on managing your website effectively
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