How to Fix “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” in WordPress
Experiencing errors in WordPress could be frustrating especially when it comes to internal server issues, database connectivity, significantly when the site is experiencing technical difficulties.
You are most likely having trouble resolving WordPress issues, like instead of seeing a blue screen display, you get stuck with a white screen that says “The site is experiencing technical difficulties. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions.”. Then, you really are experiencing a WordPress error.
This error can be induced when plugins are not compatible with WordPress core files or themes, or vice versa. Other than that, it is highly recognized that this error is mainly caused by PHP.
To be fair, it is not something to be scared about or be frustrated with. These kinds of cases are just minimal WordPress errors that can resolve with a very quick-fix solution and you can continue using WordPress back from its original state as if it never happened.
For your convenience, here's a breakdown of steps you could follow to solve your WordPress technical issues. However, it is highly recommended to fully backup your WordPress account.
Fix The site is experiencing technical difficulties” in WordPress
1. Plugin Conflict
If you have experienced technical difficulties, it is often that plugins are not compatible with the version of WordPress that has been installed or has clashed with each other. This could cause a lot of problems. You don't need to worry because it is just like the other bugs in this CMS, which are easy to workaround.
In order to test whether or not your plugins trigger a problem, you may need to deactivate the plugins and switch them on one by one to locate a plugin that causes trouble. If so, here are easy steps to follow:
- Link to your web server using an FTP client or hosting panel
- Go to the wp-content / plugins
- Right-click on the plugins to rename it to something else. For instance, pluginsOFF. (Renaming plugins wouldn't reset the settings, and it can be reactivated whenever you wish to)
Change the name of the folder back to the plugins and go back to the WordPress Dashboard and click the Plugins option. Enable your plugins one by one until you see that the site is experiencing technical difficulties again. If that happened, delete the plugin that caused it. Here are other options you could also try:
- You may also download the plugin from the official WordPress website and add it to the plugins folder.
- You can just download the WP Rollback plugin and then use the previous version of the enabled plugin.
Once the WP Rollback plugin has been activated, go to the WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Installed Plugins and click Rollback below to pick the previous version of the plugin.
2. Theme Conflict
In order for you to find out whether the theme is causing an error, just simply rename your folder name and then re-visit your website.
First of all, you have to enable the default WordPress theme for you (ex. Twenty Nineteen). You may find yourself having problems activating another theme when you can’t even access the dashboard itself. In this case, you need to connect to the webserver through the FTP client or straight from the hosting panel, then move to the wp-content / themes and rename your disabled theme and add DISABLE or OFF to the end (ex. publisherOFF).
Note: Changing the name of the folder won't affect the settings and content.
The only aim of this approach is to see whether or not the error clears up. If it doesn't, it means that your theme doesn't trigger any problems. Ensure you rename the theme folder back to its original name.
Mostly the default themes involve WordPress issues. If it happens that you are using the default theme, it is recommended to change your theme. If not using the default theme, might as well remove it from WordPress. Here are the names of the default themes:
- twenty nineteen
- twenty seventeen
- twenty sixteen
3. Update PHP Version
Many other hosting providers are known to use the older PHP version by default. However, WordPress 5.0 and above require the latest version of PHP. Still, the latest version of PHP is perhaps more reliable and PHP update is known to be the only solution that solves this error.
Follow the steps provided below to update the PHP version:
- Sign in to your hosting panel (cPanel)
- Go to Select PHP Version
- Choose PHP version 7.0 or above
You can also have a look at the best hosting list at Hostingstep.com with data backed approach.
4. Enable the Debug Mode
The fastest way to fix technical difficulties is by enabling the debug mode in WordPress, but first, you are required to have access to the webserver.
Link to your FTP client hosting site, or straight through your cPanel account. Whichever, go to the WordPress directory to find the wp-config.php file. This file will be in the root directory and contains a primary configuration for WordPress.
Then, add the following code to file right above the “/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */”.
- define(‘WP_DEBUG', true);
- define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
- define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
Now saved and refreshed the website.
Return back to the root directory and explore to the wp-content folder. Search for a debug.log file, then download the file and access it with an editor like Notepad++ and check for a note saying “PHP Fatal Error.” The error must look like this:
PHP Fatal Error: Cannot redeclare bp_members_screen_display_profile() (previously declared in /…/buddypress/bp-members/screens/profile.php:22) in /…/buddypress/bp-members/screens/profile.php on line 32
The debug.log file will show you the precise location in which this error has occurred. You may use this approach to figure out whether it's a plugin, theme, or WordPress core that causes the site to encounter a technical error.
After resolving technical difficulties, please ensure you turn off the debug mode by deleting the code applied to the wp-config.php file.
All the approaches presented above such as Plugin Conflict, Theme Conflict, Updating PHP Version, and Enabling the Debug Mode is often the reason why you are having technical difficulties and should be fixed right away with what is causing it in itself. Make sure to follow the recommended methods precisely as what it says.