WordPress is very easy to use, and it is a very stable platform, that is usually a joy to use. Of course, you probably also know that there is no piece of software that is absolutely flawless and perfect. While WordPress is extremely good, you may run across a bug or two from time to time. An error might occur, or some issue that you have never experienced before.

When that happens, you need to run WordPress Troubleshooting. Of course, this is also a very simple process if you know what you are doing.

If not, then you have come to the right place, as we are just about to explain it all into detail. So, whether you are simply educating yourself beforehand, or if you already have an issue for which you need a solution, follow this guide and you will know exactly what to do.

WordPress Troubleshooting -Most Common Errors

Before we begin with the process of WordPress Troubleshooting, let’s first discuss some of the most common issues that WP users tend to run across.

There are three most common problems that might happen to you, seemingly without any reason. Those include:

  • 404 Error
  • WSoD
  • Internal server errors

Let’s briefly check them out, and then we will be able to move on.

404 Error

WordPress 404 error

404 is an error that many are probably already well familiar with, if not from managing your own WordPress website, then from trying to access an old page or alike.

This is a Page-Not-Found error, which you can see quite often on the internet. However, if they happen to your website, you do not have to worry, as they are also very easy to fix.

They simply appear when someone tries to reach a URL that cannot be found on your website. There are many reasons why it might appear, too.

The link may be broken, or maybe the address was typed in incorrectly. Whatever the case, fixing the link that does not work is done in seconds — if you can find it.

WSoD

This is an example of the White Screen of Death

You may have heard about Blue Screen of Death (BSoD), which happens when your computer crashes, accompanied by a blue screen.

This is very annoying to a lot of people, and since WordPress has a bug that is just as annoying, it was dramatically named White Screen of Death, or WSoD.

Just like with BSoD, WSoD is also accompanied by a screen in the appropriate color, and this time, it is a white one.

It tends to happen when auto-upgrade runs into problems, or when there is a maintenance mode error. It can even happen when there are compatibility issues with themes and plugins.

All of this may cause it, so there are plenty of opportunities to run into this annoying bug. The worst part is that you won’t get a hint regarding what may have caused the issue.

Internal Server Errors

Internal Server Error
Example of Internal Server Error

The third of the most common bugs that tend to happen to a WordPress-based site are internal server errors. These are rather easy to identify, and when they occur, you get a massive message that simply reads “Internal Server Error.”

However, the part when you may encounter issues is during the WordPress troubleshooting itself, as there are numerous factors that can cause such an error.

Now that you know at least some of the issues that you may expect from your WordPress website, let’s get into the troubleshooting itself, and what steps you need to take in order to deal with it.

10 WordPress Troubleshooting Steps

To explain each step of the way in detail and ensure that you can do it even if you are a novice who had never encountered such problems before, we have come up with 10 different solutions that you should try out.

They are not particularly complex, so you should get the hang of it pretty quickly. Here is how you can try to solve your problems.

1) Backup your WordPress Website

The very first thing that you must do is create a complete backup of the entire website. You can do it manually or via a plugin, but no matter how you choose to do it, make sure that it is stored in a safe place.

If you do not have a plugin, now is the time to get it and start using it. Plugins are easy to use, and they will make a full backup for you, which can be incredibly helpful if anything happens to your site and you need to retrieve it.

However, you cannot add it if you do not have full access to the admin area of the site, in which case you will have to do it manually anyway.

2) Make Sure to Clear the Browser Cache

Another thing to do is to try clearing out your browser cache.

This may be all you need to do in order to fix some problem, as it often happens that the issue doesn’t lie with the website itself, but with your browser, instead. It may also reveal the problem that was previously hidden from you for the same reason.

As you may know, the browser sometimes gets confused and it simply loads a website from the browser cache, which has an older version of the website stored within.

That way, any changes you may have done in the meantime might not take effect.

Instead of going through with the WordPress troubleshooting right away, it might be worth clearing your browser cache in order to make sure that you are looking at your page’s latest version.

3) Clearing WordPress Cache

Apart from clearing your browser cache, you should also remember to do the same with your WordPress.

This is necessary for those who are using caching plugins for WordPress like WP Rocket, Autoptimize, WP Super Cache and so on as the same thing happens — you may be seeing an older version of the website.

You should also have this in mind when choosing your hosting provider, as some of them tend to use their own caching. They do it in order to increase the websites’ performance, but it may have unforeseen effects, such as you loading an older version of the site.

However, there is no real damage made here either, and simply clear your cache in order to get to the current version of the site.

5) Try Switching Your WP Theme

Another potential solution would be to replace your theme with the default one.

Just like plugins, WP themes might also cause issues for no obvious reasons. Something simply malfunctions, or there is a conflict with some other aspect of the website.

To switch theme just navigate to Appearance >> Themes and then activate the default template.

How to switch theme on WordPress

Switching themes is a good way to check whether or not the problem lies in that department, and it is a very easy fix.

4) Disable your Plugins

Now that you have your website backed up, and your browser and WordPress cache cleared, it is time to proceed by disabling your plugins.

Plugins are an essential part of WordPress, as they allow you to add all the features that you want to have, but WordPress does not offer by default. However, while they are very helpful, plugins may also be the source of your problems.

It is not uncommon for them to cause issues when interacting with one another, or your theme, or even the very WordPress core. So, if you have a sudden issue that you cannot explain, the easiest way of trying to solve it is to deactivate your plugins and see what happens.

Simply go to the Plugins section of the dashboard and choose which ones you wish to deactivate, activate, or update. You can deactivate them one by one or all at once.

WordPress troubleshooting deactivate plugins

The easiest way to do this is to deactivate them all, and then enable them back one by one and see whether or not an obvious suspect might emerge.

6) Is your Site’s URL Correct?

The next thing that you may want to check is whether your WordPress URL settings are as they should be.

This is also a common issue, as mentioned, and any change in the URL options may cause 404 errors or redirecting problems.

You can find the URL settings by choosing Settings and then General. There, you will find the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL).

WordPress troubleshooting - how to check url settings

Make sure that they are perfectly matched, and if they are not, then that’s where your problem lies.

7) Delete .htaccess file

Sometimes, your site’s .htaccess file might get corrupted for a variety of reasons. This is probably the problem you may have if you start getting the Internal Server Error of which we spoke earlier.

If this turns out to be the case, back up and delete the .htaccess file. The process is not difficult, but it does have its own series of steps.

First, you should connect to the website via an FTP client. You will find .htaccess file in the website’s root directory. However, you may have to set your FTP to show hidden items, as this is a hidden file.

Back it up simply by downloading it to your PC and then delete it from the server.

Next, attempt to log into your site, proceed to Settings, and then to Permalinks. Hit ‘Save Changes,’ and your permalinks will be refreshed, while the new .htaccess file will be created.

8) Refreshing Permalinks

Refreshing permalinks can be a separate step that might fix some of the issues that may occur. They might malfunction if their structure is not properly updated, or if there are configuration issues.

If there is a problem with them, a 404 Error is likely to occur, which is why you should refresh them by following the same instructions as the ones described in the previous step.

Simply go to Settings and then to Permalinks, where you only have to click ‘Save Changes.’ There is no need actually to change anything, and the site will do everything itself.

How to save permalinks on WP

9) Inspect your Reading Page

One issue that tends to happen from time to time, especially when it comes to new websites, is that the site doesn’t get indexed by search engines. If this happens, you should check the Reading Page, which you can find in the Settings, under the label ‘Reading.’

Once you enter the page, you should scroll down until you see ‘Search Engine Visibility.’ The box next to it that says ‘Discourage search engine from indexing this site‘ should be unchecked. If it is checked, click on it to disable this function, and that should be it.

WordPress troubleshooting - Inspecting the reading page

This option is there for people who are still working on their sites and are not ready to launch them yet. However, it may accidentally be left checked even after the site is ready to go live, which is a sure way to make sure that no one ever finds your website organically.

10) Scan for Malicious Infections

Of course, there are also instances when your site may not have malfunctioned on its own. Instead, it may have been targeted by hackers.

Hackers are a common problem these days, and the most brutal attacks can cause incredible amounts of damage. However, this is probably not something that is likely to happen to most sites.

Still, it is possible that your site has malware or a backdoor installed, which could lead to a number of different problems, and it might endanger you and your site’s visitors’ data.

If there is even the slightest reason to suspect that you might have a malware problem, you should scan it immediately.

One great service for doing this is called Sucuri, and many consider it to be the best website security monitoring service for WordPress.

Conclusion

With that, we will end our list of 10 solutions to the most common WordPress problem that you might experience. As mentioned, the most common issues are relatively easy to fix, and the hardest part is figuring out what went wrong.

Of course, there is a possibility that the problem you are experiencing is something more complex, and in that case, you should contact the WordPress community on some of the many forums dedicated to this software and its use.

The community can be very helpful if you explain your problems, but they will appreciate it if you try out the most obvious solutions first, including the ones mentioned above. Hopefully, whatever you might be experiencing, one of the steps that we have described will be able to help you out.

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