If you have been using WordPress for a while, you might have come across a message that ‘There has been a critical error on this website. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions’, followed by a link to debugging in the WordPress guide.
This message is referred to as the WordPress critical error.
The good news is that you can easily fix it. So, in this post, we will discuss what causes the error and how to fix it. Let’s get started!
What is a WordPress critical error?
The error suggests that WordPress has been stopped from loading all the scripts it needs to work properly. If you are using WordPress 5.2 or higher, this error comes as a generic message ‘There has been a critical error on this website. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions’ with a link to the WordPress debugging guide.
The error will also send an email to your WordPress admin email address containing details about the error and a link so you, the Admin, can access the WordPress Dashboard in recovery mode.
What causes WordPress critical error?
A malfunctioning plugin, script, or any malfunctioning code can cause a critical error in WordPress. So, for example, if you have added new code snippets to your website, they might trigger a critical error. Basically, the error can be caused by anything that prevents WP from functioning properly, resulting in WordPress being unable to load files unless you resolve this issue.
Fixing the WP critical error
There are two approaches you can use to solve this issue.
The first one is through the debugging email. If your website has a critical error, you will, most likely, receive an email notification about this issue. So, the first step is to check your Inbox and look for an email with the subject ‘Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue’.
The second step is to click the link that allows you to access your site in recovery mode, so you can dig deeper and find the root cause of the issue. After that, all you need to do is log in to your website. Once you are in the WordPress Dashboard, you will be able to see a notification informing you about the critical error, what the cause is, and a link you should click to start fixing it. Here are our recommendations to help you solve different critical issues on your website:
- If the WordPress critical error is caused by a plugin, you will be able to see the misbehaving plugin and the code issue. Be sure to deactivate the plugin and reach out to plugin support developers. If you want to, you can switch to using another similar plugin.
- If the error is caused by a theme you are using, you can simply change your WordPress theme; delete it, and install a fresh version of the same theme.
Once you have solved the issue, click the Exit Recovery Mode button at the top of your WP Dashboard.
If, however, you didn’t receive any email regarding the issue and can access your WordPress Dashboard, please follow these steps.
- To deactivate plugins that you suspect to be the cause of the issue, connect to your WordPress website using an FTP client. Once you are connected, navigate to the /wp-content/ folder, and look for the ‘plugins’ folder and rename it to whatever name you like. This step is essential, as WordPress looks for the ‘plugins’ folder to load the activated plugins on your website; if it cannot find the folder, it cannot activate the plugins and sets them as deactivated.
- Switch to a default theme. To do this step, first, go to WordPress.org themes directory and download a default theme. Once you download the theme, unzip the folder. Next, connect to your website using an FTP client and install the theme. Before you upload the new theme, be sure to download all theme folders as backup, and once you do it, delete them. At this moment, if the theme has caused the WordPress critical error, it should disappear, and you should be able to access your site.
- Reinstall WordPress. Reinstalling WP is similar to reinstalling a WP theme (the steps we mentioned above). The difference is that you have to find the root folder of your website. Once you find it, select the WordPress folder you downloaded on your computer and upload them to your website. An FTP client will ask if you want to overwrite these files or skip them. Select the ‘Overwrite’ option and click the OK button to continue. Once finished, visit your website to see if this action resolves the issue.
We hope this post helped you understand what WordPress critical error is and how you can fix it.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your WP site, feel free to send us an email一we are more than happy to help.