How To Fix: “WordPress: There Has Been a Critical Error on this Website”

dividuals and businesses to create sharp, functional sites for everything from e-commerce stores to blogs. However, one aspect of running a successful website is handling any technical issues, such as critical errors. 

Updated: November 4, 2022
How To Fix WordPress There Has Been a Critical Error on this Website

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Building and managing a website has never been easier, thanks to WordPress. This free, open-source software allows individuals and businesses to create sharp, functional sites for everything from e-commerce stores to blogs. However, one aspect of running a successful website is handling any technical issues, such as critical errors. 

Fortunately, WordPress makes it relatively easy to stay on top of errors, and you don’t need extensive programming knowledge to fix them.

Let’s dive into the world of critical errors and how to take care of them in WordPress. 

    What Does a Critical Error on WordPress Mean?

    As the name suggests, a critical error is a significant problem within your WordPress site.

    The issue is severe enough that WordPress can’t load all of its scripts or files until it gets resolved.

    In early versions of the platform, a critical error resulted in a “white screen of death” that prevented users from doing anything until they fixed the problem.

    Fortunately, updated WordPress sites will get a link to the debugging guide and an email with more detailed information about the error. 

    How Do I Fix a Critical Error on My WordPress Site?

    If you received an email after the error, fixing it should be pretty easy. The email should have more details about what caused the error message and how you can fix it.

    Typically, critical errors are caused by faulty themes, plugins, or a lack of memory. In those cases, deleting or updating the offending programming will usually get your site back on track. 

    Critical error emails also contain a link to access your website in recovery mode so you can fix the issue quickly.

    After logging in, you’ll see the error with a link to the specific page where you can take care of the problem.

    For example, if a plugin is the culprit, you’ll go to the plugin page, where you can deactivate it. From there, you can either adjust the code that’s causing the site to crash or you can replace the plugin with something better. 

    If you didn’t receive an email with detailed instructions, you’ll need to identify and fix the problem manually. This process can be time-consuming, but it’s your only option if you can’t access your site in recovery mode. Here are the basic steps to follow: 

    First, use an FTP client to log onto your website. These clients won’t give you an admin screen like the one you’re used to, so there might be a bit of a learning curve. 

    Because plugins are usually the cause of critical errors, you should go to wp-content and find your plugins folder. Renaming this folder prevents WordPress from accessing it, so you’re essentially deactivating all of your plugins at once.

    If you can log into your site after doing this, you know a plugin created the error message. 

    If WordPress is working again, you can simply rename the folder back to “plugins” and then activate each plugin one by one. If the critical error happens again after activating a plugin, you know you need to update or replace it. 

    Alternatively, WordPress themes can cause critical errors.

    If you suspect a theme is the culprit, you should download the latest default theme from WordPress. Then, using your FTP client, go back to wp-content and look up the themes folder. Copy your themes to your computer so you have backups, just in case.

    Afterward, delete all the themes and upload the latest default version. If you can access your site after this, you can reintroduce themes and see which one causes the error. 

    Finally, if a plugin or theme isn’t the culprit, you should reinstall WordPress from scratch. In this case, you’ll download the latest version and overwrite the existing file folders with the new ones.

    Again, you’ll have to do this by using an FTP client and swapping the files in there. Be sure to choose “overwrite” and “always use this action.” 

    While reinstalling WordPress can seem extreme, it may be the only way to get your site back up and running.

    Then, you can slowly reintroduce themes, plugins, and other tools and see if you get the same error message again. 

    How Do I Remove “There Has Been a Critical Error” on My Website?

    If you fix the critical error, the message will no longer pop up for you or any site visitors. If it’s still occurring, there’s still a problem within the code, meaning you have to identify and fix it.

    If you’ve tried replacing plugins and themes, you’ll likely have to reinstall WordPress to get your site back online. 

    How Do I View WordPress Error Logs?

    An error log is a document that records when errors happen within the site. This log is useful because it can tell you specifically what happened so you can fix it immediately.

    If you’ve had to reset your site from scratch, you know how valuable an error log can be. 

    Unfortunately, the only way to create and access these logs is to turn on the debug feature in WordPress. By default, debugging is turned off, so you have to turn it on manually.

    The simplest way to do this is with a plugin, but you can alter your site’s code to achieve the same result. We don’t recommend altering the code unless you know what you’re doing.

    Otherwise, you could input the data incorrectly, leading to even more problems. 

    How Do I Clear the Cache in WordPress?

    A cache is where website information gets stored temporarily so the site pages will load faster. You may notice that after visiting a site once, it doesn’t take as long to load on subsequent visits.

    For WordPress, there are several ways you can cache your site’s information. 

    First, your hosting service may cache everything for you so the site loads as quickly as possible when users visit. Second, you can use a caching plugin like WP Rocket.

    Finally, your browser (i.e., Google Chrome) caches information automatically to improve your web experience. 

    Depending on the cache, there are different steps to clearing it. For example, clearing your browser cache means accessing your browsing history data and clearing all cached files.

    If your hosting service has a cache, you’ll need to empty it via your hosting account dashboard.

    Finally, if you’re using a caching plugin, you’ll need to clear it through there. 

    What Happens if I Clear the WordPress Cache?

    Although caches often make a site run faster and more efficiently, they can also store corrupted and outdated files. For example, you may not see updated versions of your site because your computer is pulling information from an old cache.

    So, clearing the cache can eliminate this problem and ensure you and your visitors see the most up-to-date version of your web pages. 

    Usually, clearing the cache works well as an initial form of troubleshooting. In some cases, you might be able to remove a critical error message this way. 

    What Does “Flush Cache” Mean in WordPress?

    The term “flush cache” is another way of saying that you’re clearing it of all stored data.

    How Do I Clear My WordPress Cache Without Plugins?

    If you’re not using a cache plugin, you’ll need to access the caches on your hosting service and web browser. If you’re also using a firewall plugin, you’ll have to clear the cache there, too. Overall, when clearing caches, make sure to do them all to avoid any potential problems down the road. 

    How Do I Debug WordPress?

    The best way to debug WordPress is to use a debugging plugin. However, if you’re somewhat tech-savvy and feel comfortable going into your site’s code, you can enable WPDP error reporting.

    In this case, you need to look for the global object $wpdp and find the variable $show_errors. Then, set this setting to “true.”

    After doing this, the site will start creating error logs. But, this option only works for database connection errors. 

    How Do I Increase My WordPress Memory Limit?

    Sometimes, a critical error occurs because a plugin is using too much data. So, raising your WordPress memory limit can alleviate the problem and allow plugins to operate more freely.

    However, raising the limit too high can cause plugins to run amok, slowing your site down and leading to a dissatisfying user experience. 

    To increase your memory limit, use an FTP client and go to wp-config.php. Then, insert a line of code (define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’ ); before the final line.

    128 megabytes should be enough, but you can change the number to 256 if you feel it’s too low.

    Any higher than 256 and you run the risk of slowing your site down too much. 

    How Do I Update PHP in WordPress? 

    PHP is the programming language used in WordPress, so it affects everything within the site and how well it runs. The only way to adjust the PHP setting is through your hosting service.

    Since your web host dictates which version you’re using, you can’t take care of this through your WordPress admin. 

    That said, you can see which version you’re running by going to Tools – Site Health – Info.

    From there, scroll down to the “server” tab and look at the PHP version. It needs to be 7.4 or higher, but the latest version of WordPress is 8.1.9, so the higher the number, the better. 

    The specific steps to update PHP depend on your host.

    If you’re unsure how to make this change, ask your hosting provider for further information. 

    How Do I Reinstall WordPress?

    As we discussed earlier, the best way to reinstall WordPress is to download the latest version and replace the files in your FTP client.

    Simply point the client to the new set of files you downloaded, and that should take care of everything. 

    How Do I Find My WordPress Admin Email? 

    Your admin email is the one you used to sign up for your WordPress account. You can also look it up by going to Settings – General – “Administration Email Address.”

    There, you can see which email is currently used for the site and update it if necessary. Since this is the email where critical error instructions will go, you want to make sure it’s correct. 

    How Do I Backup a WordPress Site?

    The best way to back up your WordPress site is via a plugin. Keep in mind that you need to back up both your site files (i.e., themes and images) and your database.

    You should backup your database often, but you may not need to back up your files as frequently.

    Ideally, you can keep backups of both on your local computer or in a cloud storage service.

    If everything stays on the same server, you can’t reinstall your site if the server goes down. 

    How Do I Roll Back to a Previous WordPress Version?

    Sometimes, outdated plugins and themes don’t sync with newer versions of WordPress, causing a critical error.WP Downgrade is a plugin that can roll your site back to a previous version of WordPress.

    Doing this can remove any issues and allow your site to run smoothly.

    Keep in mind, though, that as WordPress upgrades to newer versions, your site will slowly become obsolete and harder to manage.

    Eventually, you’ll need to move to a newer version. 

    Where is the Config File in WordPress?

    You can access this file via an FTP client. This file is in the root folder of your website, which may be on your local computer or on a remote server.

    FTP clients allow you to access your root folders, making it easier to find the wp-config.php file. 

    How Do I Contact WordPress Support?

    WordPress offers multiple support options, including forums, FAQs, live chat, and email support tickets.

    You can access all of these features via the admin dashboard. However, you may need to have a premium version of WordPress to access some options like live chat

    Make Better Content For Your WordPress Site With Rock Content

    WordPress sites are perfect for blogging and content marketing, but are you getting the most out of your site?

    Rock Content can not only help you understand your site’s capabilities but also generate high-quality content that will drive traffic to your pages. Contact us today to find out more. 


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