Why is My WordPress Website Down?

There could be various reasons for your WordPress website being down, including server issues, plugin conflicts, or coding errors. It's essential to troubleshoot and identify the root cause to rectify the situation.

If your WordPress website keeps going down, are you unsure of what to do?

Your business may suffer if your website is unavailable or offline. Visitors who are unable to access your content have a poor user experience, and you might even lose clients and sales opportunities.

The most crucial actions you should take if your WordPress website keeps crashing are covered in this article.

Why Does Your WordPress Website Keep Going Down?

Users will be unable to access your WordPress website when it is unavailable due to an error message.

You can easily fix it to fix the problem if one of the common WordPress errors is causing your website to go down.

Nevertheless, you will need to look into it more if the problem persists or if your website is not displaying an error.

A custom code error, an expired domain, unreliable hosting, security concerns, and other factors can all cause website outages.

Increased website traffic that surpasses the resource limits of your WordPress hosting could be another cause of outages.

Whatever the cause, having a WordPress website that frequently crashes can be detrimental to your company. You might lose clients and see a decline in your conversion rates.

Make sure your website is actually down

Down for everyone or just me? When it comes to figuring out what’s wrong with your website, you should start with small steps and cut down on elements that usually have to do with your website going offline. Following this approach, for starters, you have to be 100% sure your website being down doesn’t have to do with a lack of internet connection from your end. So, to gather such information, you should visit one of the following online tools and add your domain to be checked:

  • Is this site down?

As they say, acknowledging you have a problem is the first step, right? Let’s now move to what are the most common causes of downtime for a given website.

Check if poor security is to blame

Poor security could be the culprit for your website being down, so to rule that out, check for error messages and server logs if you can log in to look for any unusual activity, such as a high number of requests and strange IP addresses. You can also look for any changes or updates that introduced vulnerabilities and revert your site to the latest backup. Run a scan with a plugin to do a full search for malware or vulnerabilities.

If you can’t access your site at all, contact your hosting provider for more information.

Check your WordPress configurations

Configurations on your WordPress site can affect the availability and performance of your website via incorrect file permissions, memory limits, plugins, and themes that cause conflicts, server settings, and misconfigured DNS.

To avoid these issues, keep your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins up to date and regularly schedule maintenance and performance monitoring. You should also keep backups of your website.

What can cause downtime on your WordPress website?

When it comes to looking for what’s causing your website to be offline and/or unreachable, there are several subjects and scenarios that might take place. The most common are:

  1. An expired domain
  2. Unfinished/incomplete auto-updates
  3. Plugin/theme conflicts
  4. Server crashed
  5. Hosting issues
  6. Hack, DoS/DDoS attack, Malware

Let’s now review each of them and see what you could do to get your website back up and running.

Your domain expired

I know it’s almost a no-brainer, but we’re cautiously evaluating all the possibilities here. And that accounts for starting from the most basic aspect to investigate: your domain. In simple words, your domain name, i.e., http://example.com, is the specific address to which users are able to reach your website. If you purchased the domain some time ago then it is possible that its registration to you has expired.

To be 100% sure your domain registration is still running, you’re faced with two possibilities: search for your domain registrar email related to your purchase or shoot a quick WHOIS check and get that info in seconds by going to who.is and write down your domain.

Unfinished/incomplete WordPress auto-updates

Together with other important information about your specific domain name, you should see when it’ll expire.

In these cases, your website isn’t technically down; you just can’t access it. Specifically, it will display some worrying messages such as “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Please check back in a minute.” or “Fatal error: Call to undefined function is_network_admin() in /home/website/public_html/wp-admin/admin-header.php on line 16”WordPress is a powerful tool to build websites, so much so that it now powers more than 1/4 of the entire internet. To maintain this power, WordPress and the range of themes and plugins that go along with it need regular updates. And when updates go wrong, things can get scary and messy. This is one of the most common WordPress errors. I don’t want to scare you off, but, not only manual updates (those you deliberately activate by clicking the “update” button), but also the WordPress auto-update feature might fail sometimes.

When you hit update or WordPress auto-updates, the first step is to put your site into a maintenance mode that makes it inaccessible to users. If you are seeing the former of the error messages above, then what has happened is that the process has failed before its completion and is being brought back out of maintenance mode. If you are seeing the latter, then something else went wrong during the update procedure, or your core WordPress files may have become corrupted for another reason.

a) If you’re seeing the maintenance error message, you should take care of your .maintenance file.

b) If you’re getting the “Fatal error..” message, it’ll be a matter of manually updating your WordPress install.

WordPress Plugin/theme conflicts

This isn’t really downtime either, technically speaking, yet it still tweaks you off. Most importantly, it makes your website unreachable, which is something you need to overcome. As is the case with the auto-update WordPress feature going wrong, it’s pretty common to end up with a non-fully functioning website because one of our plugin/theme updates brought in something we had no idea of. This happens because the update might be featuring some code, function, or script that conflicts with your current WordPress install, as some other plugins you’re using, or simply your current theme.

If that’s your case, you should log in via FTP to your website and do one of the following based on what your most recent update was:

a) if you’re experiencing issues after a plugin update, disable your plugins and see if your website starts working back normally.

b) if you’re experiencing issues after a theme update, disable your current theme and activate the WordPress default theme.

Your website is down because the server is crashing

If none of the previous scenarios apply to you and your website, it’s now time to look at its “home”, namely, the server where it’s hosted. And now ​that​ you’re probably looking for a solution to your website being down, chickens will come home to roost. Why? Because if you’re on a $1-5/month price tier shared hosting provider, you can’t expect they would provide you with a high uptime/downtime ratio for that price.

In that case, you should consider investing a little more in your hosting provider and opt for managed WordPress hosting or, if you’re a techie guy/gal, set up your own WordPress VPS.

But those aren’t you’re only options. Specifically, it’s worth looking if your website’s exceeding the allocated PHP memory and increasing it to see if the issue gets resolved.

Your hosting provider has issues

You may think, “my WordPress site is down; it must be a WordPress problem.” In reality, with cheap hosting solutions, your website might end up being hosted in a poorly configurated environment that leads to different negative outputs and more frequent issues happening even if you are doing everything right. My tip here is to set up an automatic uptime monitor tool and get in touch with your hosting provider as soon as you get a notification of downtime regarding your website.

Note: remember that words are important when opening up a ticket with any support, and if you offend them, curse, or just write all CAPS, your request might be delayed a bit. So, try to keep a professional approach and ask them to look at your issue with all information at your disposal.

Have you reached your hosting package limits?

If you didn’t think about your hosting limits before, now it’s a good time to take a look. Your hosting package limits can affect your WordPress site’s uptime, so make sure to take a look at your hosting’s”

  • Bandwidth limit: this is the amount of data that can be transferred between the server and visitors in a period of time. If you’ve had a lot of demand recently, you have surpassed your bandwidth limit.
  • Disk space limit: this is the storage allocated to your site on the server. If you’re storing heavy files like large images and videos, you may have exceeded your disk space limits.
  • CPU and RAM limits: these are resources to run your WordPress site and can cause the site to become slow or unresponsive.
  • Concurrent connection limit:  concurrent refers to simultaneous visitors visiting your site, so an uptick in traffic, especially simultaneous traffic, can result in downtime.
  • Database connection limit: WordPress sites rely on database connections for retrieving and displaying content, and if you exceed this limit, you’ll run into speed or uptime issues.

Consult what limitations your hosting plan has and consider upgrading to a better hosting service or package to keep downtime to a minimum.

6. Your website has been hacked or is under a DoS/DDoS attack

My point is, yep, people who want to break into your website or mess around with it are a well-known segment of the Web. Everybody has to deal with them, not only big players such as Blizzard here. What about your website, then? Well, if you’re not sure your website has been hacked, run a Sucuri site check and see what results you get. If your website has no malware affecting it, just go over these FAQs on WordPress Codex and try to gather more info about what’s causing it to go offline or run weirdly.

If you’re under a DoS/DDoS attack, things might change, and (again) the quality of your hosting provider plays a key role here, based on their architecture, infrastructure, or expertise that a more professional service is (usually) able to provide. So if your website is currently down or unreachable, you should contact your hosting provider as soon as you realize your situation and share with them all the information you have. How did you find it out? Are you able to log in? What other weird things did you notice happening? are good questions to start your conversation with your hosting provider.

Address The Above Issues if WordPress Site is Down

Downtime and outages are like getting older: it will happen to you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it forever. As with aging, you’re faced with plenty of possibilities in which you could slow that process down a bit, meaning you can lower the chance for your website to be offline and/or unreachable. How? Go through the list in this article and rule out your issues. Picking a good hosting company, improving your overall security on a regular basis, and backup the hell out of it as the three foundations of your approach.

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