The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Troubleshooting

WordPress is one of the most beloved CMS platforms, but errors do occur. If your WordPress site is down, read this WordPress troubleshooting advice.

WordPress is the most popular platform in the history of the internet, however once in a while, there are bound to be crashes and problems.

Let’s do some WordPress troubleshooting! In this article, we’ll address the dreaded “white screen of death” and learn to increase the upload size of the media library. Don’t worry, it’s just technology, nothing to be afraid of!

WordPress Troubleshooting

There are some WordPress troubleshooting plugins and security plugins, but you’re eventually going to have to learn how to do it yourself. The most common way to access your WordPress site is through the Hypertext Transfer Protocol [HTTP]. The HTTP protocol is what web browsers use to access web servers.

When you fire up Chrome and go to your WordPress site, it’s over the HTTP protocol that you do this. If your site is up and running, you can modify your WordPress plugin and theme files directly from the admin area. You should NEVER modify the WordPress core files.

This method isn’t recommended since there is no error catching. Once you save a file, if you make a typo that causes PHP to break, you’ll break the site and your error will get trapped in the code.

Then you won’t be able to log in to make further changes! If there is a reason that you can’t access the site through a web browser, you face a serious problem. There are two general alternative methods for accessing a WordPress site other than through a browser.

File transfer protocol – or FTP – allows you to move files back and forth between your personal computer and your web server. FTP is a common way that webmasters access their sites. It’s the preferred method for shared hosting setups.

Secure Shell – or SSH- allows you to directly access the command line on a remote server. When you access a server through the shell, you can enter commands directly into the operating system. SSH is the preferred method to access a server for webmasters and sysadmins.

With either of these techniques, you can access your web server. SSH is the more powerful method. SSH is the preferred method to troubleshoot WordPress sites.

With FTP access, you can only move files back and forth. You could move a file that executed an SSH command, however, this might be disabled depending on how the server is set up. If you are using a hosting company, you may have to request SSH access.

The White Screen of Death

When old Windows computers would crash, the screen would often turn blue. This is known as the blue screen of death. In WordPress, a similar phenomenon is called the white screen of death.

The white screen of death occurs when a PHP error is thrown and the server doesn’t know what to do with the current request. On a development machine, an error might be displayed as output to the browser request. But on most production sites error messages are suppressed.

This error occurs when you make a change to the theme or plugin. Therefore, undoing the change you just made might solve the problem! The first question to ask yourself is, “What did I just do?”

One option is to simply disable all of your plugins and themes. A simple way to do that is to rename your wp-content directory. You could do this with basic FTP or SSH commands.

How To Increase Upload Size

By default, the max upload size into the WordPress media library is 2 MB. Most webmasters will want to increase that right away. It’s a pretty simple process once you know what to do.

There are three things you have to consider when you are trying to increase the upload size for WordPress. The first option is the wp-config.php. The other aspect is the PHP settings on your server, in the htaccess file, and the php.ini file.

You may need to adjust all these settings if you want to change the WordPress max upload size. In a shared hosting environment, you’ll have to contact your hosting admin to adjust the PHP settings.

WordPress is a PHP program. Therefore if there is an upload_max setting in PHP it will affect where press. On a shared hosting setup, you may not be able to adjust the setting and may have to speak to your hosting provider.

You can check the PHP settings by creating a file in your WordPress root directory that looks like this:


Save it as “info.php” and put it at the top of your WordPress install [the directory with wp-config.php]. Access it by going to

If you can’t even access the file, the problem you’re facing isn’t a WordPress one. Your web server or PHP install isn’t working. This file should output detailed information about your PHP installation.

Access the file with a browser, and all your PHP setting information will be displayed. Search for post_max_size and upload_max_filesize. These are the settings you’re looking for.

Both of these values should be set to whatever number you want. In order to change these values, you will have to contact your host in a shared hosting environment. If you have access to the system files these values will be stored in the php.ini file. The location of this file will vary depending on your operating system.

Do a quick search on the internet for “increase WordPress upload size where is php.ini file on my operating system?” This problem has been addressed hundreds of times for every conceivable configuration. The file is often held in the same directory as your web server.

The next thing to check is the “htaccess” file. On most web servers, this configuration file explains how HTTP traffic should be handled in that directory. It is often a hidden file.

WordPress either created or modified your htaccess file when it was installed. This allows WordPress to handle permalinks. The file can also be a gateway to control the amount of memory allocated to forms when something is trying to be uploaded.

WordPress Problems Solved

WordPress is like an onion. It has many layers to peel, and sometimes the process can make you cry. But dry your electronic eyes, and get down to some serious WordPress troubleshooting on our blog! Check us out for the latest tips and tricks for your favorite CMS.