In its thirteen years of its existence, WordPress has enabled countless people to start their own websites, careers, and businesses online. That’s a pretty impressive feat and a testament to the platform’s abilities. However, nobody is perfect, not even our favorite content management system.
In fact, there are a number of common WordPress problems that most users are likely to encounter at least once. The good news is that with its vast user base and supportive community, someone has probably already been in the same situation and provided a solution.
we’re going to be looking at 5 common WordPress issues and their easy-to-follow fixes.
- 1 1. Internal Server Error
- 2 2. Headers already sent. Meh
- 3 3. The White Screen of Death
- 4 4. Password reset not working. How screwed am I?
- 5 5. Missing icons after a migration
- 6 Bonus Fix: Custom Post Type 404 Errors
1. Internal Server Error
Argh!!! I’ve been hacked, the world has ended, my host has been blown up, Trump is President! All very serious possibilities but not likely to be the cause of this particular error.
More often than not it’s a corrupted .htaccess file. The first thing you’ll want to do is ftp in to your site root and rename your current .htaccess file to something like .htaccess_broke. When you reload your site, WordPress will search for a .htaccess file and when it doesn’t find one it’ll create one. This will most likely fix the error. Take a huge sigh of relief and update your permalinks. You’re saved.
Plugins & Themes
If you get this error after installing a plugin or theme then go in via ftp and delete the culprit to get access to your site back. If you installed a bunch of plugins at the same time and want to check if it is a conflict before you start deleting everything then rename the plugin folder in the wp-content folder and see if it fixes your site.
If you’re still in Server Error turmoil then try replacing your wp-includes & wp-admin folders with a freshly downloaded copy (actually download the new copy, don’t use ones laying around on your computer because these could be the issue).
IF you are still having no luck and you’re doing your best not to introduce your computer to your fist, CALL YOUR HOST! Nine times out of ten they’ll fix this in seconds and coax you back off the ledge for good measure.
2. Headers already sent. Meh
Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent (output started at …
Boo! WT actual F?! Its annoying but no biggy if its the most common culprit. Check your wp-config.php file and remove any spaces before the opening <?php and after the closing ?> – That fix it? Oh good 🙂 If not it’s an issue with premature output. That’s a different ball game but there’s an ace article on stackoverflow about it.
3. The White Screen of Death
The ‘White Screen of Death‘ (WSoD) is a well-documented WordPress error which can stem from a number of different causes, and is every bit as annoying as its blue-colored Windows cousin. What makes this error so troublesome is the complete lack of any error messages when it occurs, which can make it a nightmare to troubleshoot.
Yep, the most likely culprit is your cache. Clear the cache in your browser and also any caching plugins you’re using. Remember that security plugins like WordFence also have caching features so make sure you get ’em all.
No, no. No, no no no. No, no no no. No, no there’s no limit! Oh wait.. Yes there is.
If it’s not the cache then its probably your php memory limit. Open up the old wp-config file again and look for something like …
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M' );
Change the 64 or whatever else is there to something more workable like 128. Also you can define a different php limit for the admin area only by adding …
define( 'WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );
This will not always work. Your host may be overriding these settings so iit’sworth giving them a call and calmly asking “what gives?!”
Check Your Logs
In this scenario, the WordPress debug mode is your magnifying glass – it will enable you to look at detailed error logs, which should help you pinpoint the source of the error. (And even if the previous steps did solve your little White Screen of Death problem, knowing how to turn on the debug mode can come in pretty handy.)
In order to do so, let’s fire the FTP manager back up and return to the content folder, located in public_html. Then, open the wp-config.php file once again and add the following lines of code within the main PHP tags:
define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true); define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true); define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, false);
4. Password reset not working. How screwed am I?
Not very, as long as you’ve got access to cpanel / FTP. Add the following to the very top of your functions.php after the opening <?php tag.
$user_id = 1; $password = 'Pa55word!'; wp_set_password( $password, $user_id );
The user ID refers to the number associated with the account in the WP database. You can check this number by going into the database using phpMyAdmin in your cPanel, finding Databases > Your_Database > wp_users > Browse.
The ID will be listed right there next to the username. Once you’re in, be sure to remove the code from the functions.php file.
5. Missing icons after a migration
It was an icon before you migrated or restored a backup and now it looks like you’re trying to invite aliens to stay. That can’t be right.
Clear it, purge it, kill it with fire. Do whatever you need to do to make sure it isn’t the issue.
Some migration tools, particularly the free ones, tend to miss the url change in one or two places which causes havoc. Head to /wp-admin/options.php and do a search for the old URL and update as necessary. DONT change any of the serialized data and do a full back-up before editing anything.
You can also install the velvet blues plugin and search for old url issues.
Bonus Fix: Custom Post Type 404 Errors
You may experience problems with 404 errors and custom post types. Try the following steps:
- Make sure that none of your Custom Post Types and single pages have the same name. If they do, rename the single page, including the slug.
- Log in to your WordPress Administration Screens, navigate to Settings > Permalinks. Select the default permalinks. Save. Then reselect your preferred permalinks. This will flush the rewrite rules and should solve your problem.
Feel free to share your WP issues while working on wordpress by dropping a comment below.