WordPress site down? Try these top tips to get it back up
Apart from maybe a global catastrophe, surely there’s nothing worse than trying to log in to your WordPress website, only to find that you have been denied access. Having your WordPress site down can be very frustrating, and if you use it for e-commerce then it is about financial losses, too. Still, unlike global catastrophe, this needn’t be the end of the world. When you’re faced with an unresponsive website there are a few things that you can check on that might help to get you up and running again. So, here are some simple things to take a look at before you call out the National Guard.
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 that 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 whether everybody else in the world is seeing that the website is down. You can check this by using one of the many online services out there, such as DNSChecker. These type of services are designed to take more of ‘world’s eye view.’ If you give it a go and see a notification about absence of the site that means that your DNS has not updated, probably because it takes between 6 and 72 hours if you changed recently.
If you know that that isn’t the problem, then simply try Ctrl+F5 in Windows (and Cmd+R on a Mac) to try and reload the page. This lets you ignore your cash 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 the other thing you can try is a tool like SiteUptime or UptimeRobot, which regularly pings your website like sonar to check that it’s still functioning okay.
Is your domain still your domain?
This is a question worth asking because when you buy a domain name, you’re really just renting it for a fixed period of time. If you forget to renew it with the registrar, then you may have lost it and consequently it won’t be connected to your website any more. So, it won’t be case of “WordPress site down”, more like “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 your’re still associated with that URL.
Is WordPress 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, which means that 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 then they will probably have sent you an email about it, so that’s worth checking.
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 might be broken and undergoing repairs, or you might have exceeded your bandwidth limits and been throttled. Just keep refreshing the page and if it’s something that’s temporary then it should not last long.
If you’re using a cheap host then this might be a good time to review your use of their services, such as they are. Cheaper providers don’t offer such a comprehensive support service or robust infrastructure as the bigger players in the market. Best to go for one that guarantees close to hundred percent uptime and also one 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 these days, and even when they’re asleep they can send bots to do their work dirty work for them. That means that your security also has to be awake at night and day, so you absolutely must have an extremely strong password for your admin area won’t fall to an automated attack. Your host will (or should) have security features in place to repel DoS attacks, but they will still require you to cooperate with them and share information while something like this is going on.
If you suspect that hackers might have succeeded in gaining entry to your website, then run Sucuri Sitecheck for the full details.
Hopefully the tips that we’ve given you here have helped you to avoid the inconvenience and stress of knowing that your website is down. But if all else fails then 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!
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