The five most common WordPress issues and how to resolve them

by Eman Shome October 15, 2020
Five most common WordPress issues

Did you just run into yet another WordPress error?

We are here to the rescue.

Do not let yet another error create a hindrance in your website’s performance and cost you conversions.

In this post, we have included the most common WordPress errors with their viable solutions.

Every WordPress website owner must have faced one or all of these errors at least once while usually working on their website.

Let’s dive right in.

Error #1: WordPress White Screen of Death (WSOD)/ HTTP Error 500

With this error in action, all you can see on your screens is a ‘White Blank Page’ staring at you.

Affected Areas?

You can encounter this error in multiple places:

  • WordPress Dashboard/Admin Panel
  • Specific post(s)
  • Specific page(s)
  • Entire Site

How Does it Affect Performance?

  • It causes all operations to seize in the affected area.
  • The site becomes inaccessible, and the admin panel becomes locked.

What Triggers it?

The two most probable of the many causes of this error are:

  • Plugins/Themes Incompatibility
  • Memory Exhaustion

How Can I Solve This Error?

Cause #1: Plugins or Themes Incompatibility

Installation of poorly coded themes or plugins causes this error.

Corrupt plugins and themes extend their effects to many areas causing dysfunctionalities in WordPress websites.

So next time your WordPress gets stuck in the maintenance mode or something else goes wrong, you know who to blame and which fixing step to try first.

The Fix – Delete the Corrupt Plugin/Theme

  • Choose an FTP client and install it. (we would recommend FileZilla)
  • Disable all themes and plugins by renaming each.
  • Reactivate each plugin and theme one by one to find the culprit behind the error.
  • Delete the plugin/theme found corrupt.

Cause #2: Memory Exhaustion

Too much website traffic causes the conservative PHP memory limit of 64MB to get crossed.

The Fix – Increase PHP Memory Limit

Change the line of code in wp-config.php file from:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);


define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’)

Error #2: WordPress Connection Timed Out

This error appears with a yellow warning icon with a display notice:

“The server at (website name) is taking too long to respond.”

Areas of Occurrence?

You can encounter this error in:

Your Entire Website

How Does it Affect Performance?

The website becomes unresponsive.

What Triggers it?

Shared Hosting – when many websites are powered by a single server, the server runs out of resources.

It becomes overburdened due to either of these reasons:

  • A new theme is installed, which is hogging the server’s resources
  • Faulty Plugin
  • PHP memory exhaustion
  • PHP script maximum execution time exceeded

How Can I Solve This Error?

  • Get rid of any culprit theme or plugin
  • If this doesn’t do any good, give increasing the PHP memory limit a try
  • If it is not helping either, it is the PHP max_execution_time issue that needs to be addressed

Cause: PHP Script Maximum Execution Time Limit Exceeded

The maximum execution time for a PHP script by default is 30 seconds.

Your website load might be causing it to take longer than 30 seconds to run.

Fix I- Exceed the PHP Script Maximum Execution Time Limit

  • Access your .htaccess file
  • Increase the execution time from 30 to 60 or 120 seconds
  • Many other methods can be used to increase the time

Fix II – Optimize Your Website Speed

Your website might suffer from slowdowns and underperformance.

It may be because of bulking caused by more content or increased traffic.

  • Check your website’s speed using the online tools available
  • Now optimize your website based on the suggestions of the tool

Fix III – Upgrade Your Hosting Plan

In case the above fixes do not help you escape the dreaded error:

  • Upgrade your hosting plan
  • With the new plan, you must have reserved your own set of server’s resources

Error #3: 404 Page Not Found Error

The infamous 404-page error pops up the following message on the screen.

“The requested URL was not found on this server.”

Affected Areas?

You can encounter this error in:

  • Anyone of the WordPress website pages/posts
  • Other pages/posts perform okay

How Does it Affect the Performance?

  • Access to some posts is denied
  • The specific post keeps returning the 404 Error

What Triggers it?

Error 404 stems from:

  • Broken website’s permalinks
  • Changes in the .htaccess file

How Can I Solve This Error?

Cause #1: Broken Permalinks

A slight glitch in the permalinks settings can make things go wrong.

The Fix – Reset The Permalinks

Log in to WordPress -> Go to settings → permalinks and change the structure to plain

Cause #2: Changes Made in the .htaccess File

Some faulty plugins make changes to the .htaccess file.

This breaks the permalinks and interrupts in rewrite rules.

The Fix – Rename the .htaccess file

  • Access the .htaccess file through the cPanel or using the FTP client database
  • Rename the .htaccess file to .htaccess_old
  • Reset the permalinks

Error #4: Error ‘403 Forbidden’

The one also occurs commonly.

This error prompts you with a message like this:

403 Forbidden – You don’t have permission to access ‘/’ on this serve

Affected Areas?

You can encounter this error in:

  • A specific page
  • WP-admin
  • WordPress login page
  • While installing WordPress

How Does it Affect Performance?

Some pages become inaccessible due to restricted server permissions.

What Triggers it?

The 403 forbidden error stems from:

  • A faulty plugin
  • A corrupt/altered .htaccess file
  • File permissions error

How Can I Solve This Error?

Solve the misconfigured plugin and the corrupt/altered .htaccess file issue in the same way as previously mentioned in this post.

If you still get the same 403 forbidden error while trying to access a post, ‘Change File Permissions.’

Cause: File Permissions Error

Each file on your website has a set of permissions allotted to it. These permissions dictate which interactions are enabled for which group of users.

Example: Every WordPress folder should have a numeric folder permission setting of 0755 by default. Similarly, every WordPress file should have a numeric folder permission setting of 0644 by default.

If the setting is otherwise, it’s time to change it.

The Fix – Reset The File Permission Settings

  • Simply launch the FTP manager → WordPress root directory → , select main folders → file permissions → change settings to 0755 → save
  • WordPress root directory → select all files and folders → file permissions → change settings to 0644 → tick ‘apply to files only’ → save

Error #5: HTTP Error (Image Upload Issue)

HTTP error delivers the following error message:

Unable to create directory /wp-content/uploads/ Is its parent directory writable by the server?

Affected Areas?

You can encounter this error in a WordPress Post

How Does it Affect the Performance?

This particular error won’t let you upload an image from your library to a specific WordPress post.

What Triggers it?

The 403 forbidden error stems from:

Incorrect path in the ‘Stores Uploads in This Folder.’

How Can I Solve This Error?

If you have shifted to a new server, the absence of the wp-content/uploads folder causes this error.

Where does it go? It’s there, but not for WordPress. WordPress cannot identify the uploads folder’s path as it has the ‘old username’ of the ‘old server’ in it.

WordPress will only identify the path when it resonates with the updated ‘username’ for the ‘new server.’

The Fix – Add The New Path in the Upload Folder

Final Words

We hope you now know what exactly to do when any of these common WordPress errors frustrate you:

  • WordPress White Screen of Death (WSOD)/ HTTP Error 500
  • WordPress Connection Timed Out
  • 404 Page Not Found Error
  • Error ‘403 Forbidden’
  • HTTP Error (Image Upload Issue)