WordPress Panic ButtonWordPress is simple to use, can be complex behind the scenes – there are so many variables that can cause issues – these are some of the most common.

Sooner or later, you're bound to run into this situation: you go to your site, prepared to make a post or update a widget and you know everything was fine when you last logged in yesterday – and yet you get some error: you see the install wordpress screen (aack!) or you see some odd php like error, but no site, or maybe you catch a database connection error…. now what?

First – don't go through the install process again – stop.

You need a backup. Make one, now.

  • Grab a new backup of the database and files. this step is especially important if you don't have a regular backup of things on your site. to do this, first grab the database: you'll do this via your hosting control panel – look for phpmyadmin and download all the tables in the database that your wordpress install uses.
  • then using your ftp client, backup all the files that make wordpress go. this will also include the uploads folder which includes all the stuff you've uploaded to use in posts on your site, like images, possible video, pdf files, etc.

In some cases, your hosting Control Panel will have a backup everything (all files and databases) you can use this too, the important thing is that you have a complete backup.

Now: take a deep breath and get ready to answer some questions about your site, and be honest.

What was the last thing you did on the site? were you installing a plugin, were you trying to upgrade wordpress, were you updating a theme, were you installing a theme? Be honest – I can't tell you how many sites i've worked on where they swear they hadn't done a thing – and it turns out that an upgrade process went wrong or a theme wasn't completely uploaded.

Were you upgrading wordpress? if yes, then did it finish as expected or did you get an error of some type part way through: if you didn't get a specific error, did you get a blank screen?

What you can try:  re-upload the same version of wordpress – manually via ftp. if you get another blank screen, these usually indicate a memory issue – you can verify this through use of your error_log files. If it's a memory error, it will show up there. What this means:  your hostng account isn't allocated enough memory to run whatever part of the upgrade process it was in when the error occurred. sometimes this can be manually corrected, in other cases, you may need to upgrade your hosting or try the upgrade when the server is less busy.

If you were installing a new theme – make sure all the files were uploaded to the right place. Themes go in the wp-content/themes/yourthemename folder or directory. If the files aren't all there, then reupload them – and try to activate the theme again. If that still doesn't work, delete the new theme and let the site go back to the default theme, then try it again. Some themes may not work with the newer versions of WordPress.

Sometimes a newly installed plugin won't play nice – if you can't get to wordpress admin to disable it – ftp in and delete that plugins directory and all files – wordpress will automatically deactivate any plugins it can't locate.

If you're still stuck, get help from your webmaster or give WordPress Angel a call. Good luck!