Although WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world, with more than 500 million active installations, many problems can arise when using it. Nothing is more frustrating for a new WordPress user than running into these common problems. If you have not had to deal with any of these issues, you will at some point.
From getting trapped in maintenance mode to nothing showing up at all, here are the top 5 problems new WordPress gets stuck on and how to fix them. Some of these steps require FTP access, others may require Cpanel access, and some knowledge of code editing will be helpful. I believe these are pretty straightforward fixes and can be handled by most tech-savvy folks.
WordPress issues solved!
1) Your site shows “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance, check back in a few minutes”
This issue can present itself when your update process has either failed or has been interrupted. If you have FTP access to your web server, this is a very easy fix. Just log in to the root level of WordPress installation and locate the file titled .maintenance and delete it. When you return to your website, it should be back to normal; if it still isn’t working, try some of these other fixes.
2) White screen of death
You go to your website, and nothing is there, just an empty white screen. This one can be a little trickier to pinpoint. The best place to start is by heading back into your FTP client and disabling your plugins, and trying your website again. I like to disable all the plugins at once by renaming the plugins folder, I just add a dash to the front of the file name. It makes switching back and forth easy. If this brought your website back, you would need to enable your plugins one by one to figure out which is causing the conflict.
If that did not resolve your white screen, try reverting back to the default WordPress theme; at the time of this post, it is Twenty Twenty-Two. You can do this by renaming your currently running theme. WordPress will automatically look for Twenty Twenty-Two and enable it. No Twenty Twenty-Two theme? Just drop it in your themes folder, and WordPress will recognize it.
If you are still experiencing the white screen, you can try to increase your WP memory limit (see number 5 below), but you might as well take a look at your logs for anything unusual.
3) Word Press login loop
4) 403 Forbidden Error You don’t have permission to access this server
This is another error that can usually be resolved by disabling plugins like in step 2. If that does not work, you may need to refresh your .htaccess file. You can do this by navigating to your WordPress “Settings –> Permalinks”, then scroll down and click save; it’s that simple. Still not solved? Check out some of the resources on this page.
5) Memory Limit Error
The easiest way to fix this error is to increase your PHP memory limit, however, if you are running into this problem after raising your PHP memory limit, you can do this by adjusting a single line in your wp-config file. It is located at the root level of your WordPress installation. The line below is the one you will want to edit.
Extra WordPress Tips!
6) Need to change the admin email, but no access to the old one
From Cpanel, navigate to PHPMyAdmin, select your SQL database, navigate to options, and from there, you can instantly change the admin email for your website. As you will notice, you can also adjust other options like site title, description, etc. A word of caution, take notes and be prepared to reverse any of your edits.
Still not fixed?
Whether you can’t seem to fix the issue or are not comfortable enough to try, it might be time to let a professional diagnose your issue. Most WordPress issues that seem serious are actually quite easy to fix and shouldn’t cost more than whatever the hourly minimum is.
With a background in design for the music industry, I bring a fresh approach to corporate and construction-related web projects.
I also write short, easy-to-digest articles on search engine and website performance-related topics.
My goal is to help clients better understand what SEOs do for them.
Michael Winchester is a website developer and search engine consultant in Southern California.
Michael Winchester Design | (562)283-5688