Surely there’s nothing that ruins a workday more than trying to log into WordPress, but finding your access was denied. Having your WordPress site down is not just frustrating, but if it’s e-commerce, you may suffer financial losses too. Still, facing an unresponsive website is not the end of the world. There are a few things you can check that may help get you up and running again.
Check Your Connections
No, we don’t mean the people in your address book. This is about wired or wireless connection. If your website is down it’s worth checking whether your physical or wireless internet connections are okay. Loose cables can leave you feeling embarrassed after two days of looking in vain for a software problem that isn’t there.
WordPress Site Down For Me or Everyone Else?
It’s worth checking to see if this is just a local problem that’s unique to you. Or if everybody else in the world sees that their website is down too. You can check this by using one of many services like DNSChecker. These type of services take more of a ‘world’s eye view.’ If you see a notification about your site being absent, that means your DNS is not updated. Probably because it takes between 6 and 72 hours to update if you’ve changed something recently.
If you know that’s not the problem, then simply try Ctrl+F5 in Windows (and Cmd+R on a Mac) to reload the page. This lets you ignore your cache and get it fresh from the source: the server. If that doesn’t work, then fire up your VPN or proxy service.
By disguising your IP you can give yourself a ‘view from a different angle.’ If the site shows up, then you probably have a network issue at your end. If your website is down, you can also try a tool like SiteUptime or UptimeRobot. This regularly pings your website like sonar to check that it’s still functioning okay.
Is Your Domain Still Your Domain?
This question’s worth asking because when you buy a domain name, you’re really just renting it for a time period. If you forget to renew it with the registrar, then you may have lost it. Consequently it won’t be connected to your website anymore. So, instead of “WordPress site down”, it would be more a case of “WordPress site’s nametag fell off.”
Whether you picked up a registration from third-party or as part of a package that your web host offered, check to see if it still belongs to you. You can also go to Whois to see if you’re still associated with that URL.
Is WordPress Down or is My WordPress Site Down?
There are times when auto-updates can take your WordPress site down. If you suspect that might be the case with you then try one of these approaches:
- Incomplete WordPress update: Sometimes you might get a scheduled maintenance error straight after a WordPress update. You try and load a page and it doesn’t work.
- This can happen when there’s timeout just before it comes out of maintenance mode. WordPress creates a .maintenance file as part of the update process, and if it’s still hanging around then you might get errors, so delete it.
- Safe Mode: Try turning off Safe Mode in the httpd.config file, then restart Apache.
- File permissions: the correct file permissions are essential for the auto-update to work correctly. WordPress uses the wp-content/upgrade directory ( inside website’s document root ) to store the temporary file that it makes while it’s going through installation and this has to be writable. So, make it writable and, try the auto-update again.
- Manual Update: if you see “Fatal Error,” choose a manual update.
It could also be that PHP memory has run out or the server has timed out. Hence, you need to do some WordPress troubleshooting to fix it.
Are You All Paid Up?
Another thing that can keep your WordPress site down is money! Most hosting providers don’t work for free, so have you paid them recently? If you’ve missed a payment for whatever reason, they would have probably emailed you about it – so check your inbox!
Your Server is Down
If the server is down, then your website is down. And you won’t always get a message about it. It may be broken and undergoing repairs, or you might have exceeded your bandwidth limits and been throttled. Just keep refreshing the page as it may be something temporary.
If you’re using a cheap host, then this might be a good time to review your services. Cheaper providers don’t offer such a comprehensive support service or robust infrastructure as the bigger market players. Best to go for one that guarantees close to 100% uptime and also offers WordPress managed hosting solutions. Whoever you go for will pay you to set up uptime monitoring. So you can keep a close eye on what you’re paying for.
Theme or Plugin Issues
Dubious themes and plugins can conflict with each other and the first you know of it is that your website is down. That’s why it’s best to shop from reputed theme retailers. It’s not worth trying to cut corners for some things. Of course, even reputable software can cause conflicts, but if their authors are reputable they will often tell you about known problems. So, check whether what they offer is compatible with your system before you buy from them.
Another thing that can bring WordPress sites down is hackers. Hackers are everywhere, and even when they’re asleep they can send bots to do their dirty work for them. That means your security also has to be awake night and day. So you absolutely must have an extremely strong password so your admin area won’t fall for an automated attack. Your host will (or should) have security features in place to repel DDOS attacks. But they still require you to cooperate with them and share info while something like this is going on.
If you suspect hackers may have succeeded in gaining entry to your website, run Sucuri Sitecheck for the full details. See how Sucuri have previously saved Val Vesa from hackers.
Time To Ask For Help?
Hopefully the tips we’ve given you here have helped you avoid the inconvenience and stress of having your website down. But if all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Either on one of the many WordPress forums that exist, or from a qualified professional. Best of luck!