One of the most crucial first steps to starting your own website is deciding on the Content Management System to run the site on. You’ve got options aplenty, but there’s a reason WordPress is widely recommended by web developers, designers and owners alike.
One being it’s the easiest framework to use, and flexible enough to build anything – from a simple minimalistic blog to a thriving, feature-rich ecommerce site.
But as with any other CMS platform out there, the framework isn’t bereft of its fair share of common errors beginners are likely to encounter.
Even with WordPress developing a well-oiled machine, some errors are just inevitable. And don’t they know how to ruin a perfect day, especially when you’re completely clueless about troubleshooting and fixing them.
Perhaps most common about these problems, regardless of the degree of severity or how intimidating they appear to be, is that they all stem from really minor issues. Nothing too complex, so long as you understand the root cause of the problem, you can troubleshoot everything on your own and even fix it without involving a third party.
To get you started, here are five common problems WordPress beginners are likely to encounter. Read on to find out how to diagnose them and get them fixed on your own.
White Screen of Death
You load your site and instead of your content loading, your site goes completely blank. Just plain white, even with several refreshing attempts you still can’t get anything to display.
What you have there is the dreaded White Screen of Death, commonly abbreviated as WSoD.
The problem is usually caused by a number of things, but at core it’s just your site failing to load up properly.
So how do you fix it?
i.) Disable Your Plugins
Faulty plugins are the most common suspects of the White Screen of Death. So the first step in troubleshooting the exact problem behind the WSoD is to disable all plugins and start activating them one by one until you’re able to track down the exact plugin causing the issue.
ii) Disable your theme
When your theme fails to load properly what follows is the White Screen of Death. So after you’re done ruling out your plugins as the possible cause, the next most logical thing to do is to also disable your theme.
The easiest way to do this is to sign into your cpanel and head straight to public html file, followed by WP content, and then themes. There you should be able to see your theme. Just delete and try reloading the site on a different tab. If the problem persist, head on to option 3.
iii) Activate Debug Mode
This can be found in your Cpanel and it’s the feature to use if you’ve ruled out plugins and theme as the possible cause of your WSoD issue. The feature will highlight some of the errors registered on site for you to fix.
iv.) Increase your memory limit
Your site may fail to load up simply because it has run out of memory. A simple way to fix it is to open up the php.ini file and raise your maximum memory.
The 404 Error
This is a common error among WordPress users.
The error signifies that the server couldn’t find the page you requested. This could be due to broken links or altered URLs.
Keep in mind that the error can still occur even when the page is available. When this occurs, then the problem is with the .htaccess file, which handles the hyperlink structure of your website.
So how do you fix it?
To fix this, try generating a new .htaccess file.
But in the off chance that this fails to work, just re-upload a new .htaccess (mind the full stop). In most cases, this should be able to get the problem ironed out, unless otherwise.
Database Connection Error
If upon opening your site you encounter an error stating “Error establishing a database connection,” then that can be interpreted to mean your site is encountering some problem connecting to your database.
So basically, the problem is with your wp-config.php file. Your database details might have been entered incorrectly, thus causing the conflict.
So how do you fix it?
Login into your Cpanel or FTP and locate the wp-config.php file. Take your time to go through the file, and correct your database name, host, username, and password.
The problem might also be caused by your web host. That happens when the host decides to limit your database, and when you’ve finally reached the set limit, you’ll automatically be slapped by the error message.
If this is the case, you might want to change your web host or contact your current host for an upgrade.
Connection Timed Out
This error occurs after you’ve tried to load your site several times. And that’s because your web server is experiencing hardship loading up, and it’s essentially giving up in the process.
The problem occurs mostly because your web servers doesn’t have the required amount of resources to function optimally. Very common to those using shared hosting, where several sites compete for the same limited resources. Or it could be that your site has exceeded the maximum bandwidth allowed.
In rare occasion though, the problem could occur as a result of a slow internet speed on your part.
So how do you fix it?
Simple, start by checking your internet speed. If other sites are loading properly, then the problem could with your website instead.
So yes, consider changing your web host or upgrade it for better services and server resources. A higher-tier hosting plan should help you avoid unnecessary downtimes and slowdowns. You want your site to perform optimally and with minimal strain. Then it behooves you to pick the server with the best resources possible, or upgrade it by moving it one level up until that option starts acting up as well.
A better approach would be to look at your web content. Do you have unnecessary plugins hogging up the bulk of your resources. Go through your list of plugins and delete any of them that’s of no use to you.
Your theme is not an exception in this. Check to find out if it’s the one dragging your site down.
Lastly, you might also want to raise your PHP memory limit to something higher than what you already have.
Your Sidebar Occurring Below your Content
This is a very common problem among web owners running their sites on WordPress. You load up your site only to find the side bar has moved from the usual left or right hand spot to hang underneath your web content.
How to Fix It
This occurs when you’ve made changes to the HTML or CSS code of your theme. The only way to change is to change your theme or to consider reverting some of the changes made to their original form. If this fails to work, then consider deleting the theme and upload it afresh or just get a different theme unless you were using a customized one.
It’s a Wrap
It’s important that you keep your WordPress site and every single one of the plugins you’re using updated. That’s the most important piece of advice you can get from anyone, more so if you’re concerned about the security of your website.
Do you still have questions about any of the highlighted errors? Or are you experiencing an entirely different issue from the ones listed? Call or email MediaOne today for a free consultation.