Dealing with critical errors on any system can be a source of considerable frustration. However, if you’ve recently encountered the “There has been a critical error on your website” message on your WordPress site, there’s no need to panic. These critical errors often stem from conflicts within plugins, theme files, or PHP-related issues. Among the most common challenges WordPress administrators face, these errors can be resolved through various approaches.
In this, we’ll explore the steps you can take to quickly identify and fix the “There has been a critical error on your website” in WordPress, making sure your website is operational again. Also, we’ll go into the reasons behind this error and discuss preventive measures to avoid encountering critical errors in the future.
What is the critical error in WordPress?
The appearance of the “There has been a critical error on your website” message in WordPress indicates the occurrence of a severe PHP error during the execution of code on your site. This occurs when a PHP script halts its operation and cannot finish its designated process.
When you encounter this message, it is advisable to inspect your site admin email inbox for further instructions from WordPress regarding the error.
Essentially, this error signifies a failure in loading WordPress core files or the malfunctioning of additional plugin or theme functionalities. The root causes can range from resource limitations and code-related errors to potential malware infiltration.
Why does the critical WordPress error happen?
The occurrence of critical errors in WordPress can be attributed to various underlying issues. These problems often stem from the following sources:
Issues in the WordPress Core Files
Critical errors may arise when core WordPress files become corrupted or missing. This can happen during unsuccessful website updates or if core files are tampered with unauthorized.
Broken Theme Files or Plugin Malfunction
Corrupted files in WordPress themes or plugins can contribute to website errors. While reputable plugins and themes undergo thorough testing to minimize errors, conflicts between plugins and custom code can lead to critical error messages.
Custom code on a website might inadvertently introduce problems, especially if it contains unintentional syntax errors or unsafe characters in paths. It’s essential to review recent modifications in the website environment to identify and rectify syntax errors in the code.
Certain malware infections can result in critical errors within WordPress. Regularly scanning the website for malware and removing any malicious code is crucial to maintaining a secure environment.
PHP Memory Limits
Critical errors may occur when website owners attempt tasks like media uploads, indicating that PHP has reached its predefined limits while executing a specific script.
Outdated PHP Version
Websites using PHP versions lower than 7.4 may encounter critical errors. It’s imperative to upgrade to a more recent PHP version, especially if still relying on PHP 5. x, to prevent conflicts and ensure compatibility.
Incompatible PHP Version
Some websites utilize old, legacy, or custom code designed for older PHP versions. Upgrading to a newer and more secure PHP version can sometimes cause older websites to break due to compatibility issues.
How to fix the critical error message on WordPress
To identify the root cause of the critical error in WordPress and implement a solution, follow the steps outlined below:
1 – Check your admin email inbox for “Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue”
In case you have access to your administrative email, the initial action is to review your inbox.
Expect to find an email from WordPress containing vital details regarding the encountered issue. This particular email notification will bear the subject line “Your Site Is Experiencing a Technical Issue” and will furnish specifics concerning any plugin conflicts or problems identified by WordPress.
Within this email notification, you will discover a convenient hyperlink that facilitates access to your WordPress website in recovery mode, a feature introduced in WordPress 5.2, designed to address the problem:
To enter recovery mode for your website:
- Click on the recovery mode link provided in the email.
- Log in using your credentials.
- Navigate to your WordPress dashboard.
Congratulations! You have successfully activated recovery mode. Here, you’ll find notifications detailing the critical error, its causes, and instructions on rectifying it. Often, this information can aid in pinpointing the conflicting plugin.
Resolve the issue by deactivating the problematic component and attempting to reinstall a clean, updated version of the plugin. Alternatively, consider installing a reputable alternative or reaching out to the plugin developers for assistance. Exiting recovery mode is possible at any time to verify if your WordPress website is functioning normally.
If access to the troubleshooting email is not possible or it fails to provide sufficient information for resolution, the next step involves enabling debugging for your site.
2 – Enable debugging in WordPress
WordPress websites come equipped with a useful diagnostic tool called WP_DEBUG, designed to facilitate the identification of root causes for website errors.
To initiate the troubleshooting process for your website, follow these steps to enable WP_DEBUG:
- Access your wp-config.php file: Log in to your FTP account and locate wp-config.php in the main directory of your WordPress installation.
- Locate WP_DEBUG: Navigate to the section in your wp-config file where WP_DEBUG is defined. If it’s currently disabled, the line will resemble this:
Activate WP_DEBUG: Update your wp-config file with the following code:
Enabling the parameter
defined ('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true) generates a debug.log file in the ./wp-content directory, providing a resource you can consult at your convenience.