How to Fix “The site is experiencing technical difficulties.” Error in WordPress

Updated on May 17, 2023

Some frustrating issues with WordPress can cause your site to crash, but they don't provide much information on what is causing the problem. One such issue is the The site is experiencing technical difficulties error message.

Although this error message gives little information, it is usually easy to fix. You can quickly resolve the issue by following a few simple troubleshooting steps.

In this article, we'll discuss the appearance of this WordPress error and its causes. Then, we'll guide you through several steps to fix it if it happens on your site. Let's start!

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What is the “The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties” WordPress Error

The WordPress error message The site is experiencing technical difficulties, or There has been a critical error on your website, is a fatal error that makes your website unavailable both on the front and back end. The message appears on both the front and back end of your site, with the newer version being similar to the old one with a slight difference in wording. The error may also come with an email from WordPress with information about the cause of the error, but most of the time, the message will appear with no explanation. A conflict between plugins or themes usually causes this error. WordPress is open-source, and many developers with different coding backgrounds and styles create extensions for users.

Unfortunately, this can result in compatibility issues between plugins and themes from different developers. When conflicting codes from two different tools are installed on a WordPress site, various problems can arise, including one or both plugins not functioning correctly or even leading to a fatal error like the "The site is experiencing technical difficulties" message.

Fixing the "The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties" Error in WordPress

If you have experience in resolving plugin conflicts, then handling the The site is experiencing technical difficulties error should be straightforward. If not, don't worry. This article provides detailed instructions and what to do if the issue persists.

Firstly, check Your Email for a Fatal Error Notification. As mentioned earlier, WordPress may email the site administrator with information about the error's cause. This email will contain important information to help you troubleshoot the error faster, including:

  • The name of the conflicting plugin or theme;
  • A link to put your site into recovery mode.

If you haven't received an email with instructions on how to resolve the The site is experiencing technical difficulties error, fixing the issue will require some trial and error. This could take longer if your website has many plugins or themes. If you're the site administrator and have received an email, it's best to follow its instructions before attempting to troubleshoot the problem without it. If the email is missing or you're not the administrator, you can still resolve the issue using FTP by following the steps outlined below.

Resolving a Conflict in Recovery Mode

If you do have an email afterall you can click on the recovery mode link in it and log in to the backend using your WordPress credentials. The site's administrator can also send the recovery mode link to another user for troubleshooting purposes. Remember that the fatal error will remain for other users and visitors while you're in recovery mode.

The plugins or themes causing the error will be paused, and a banner notification will identify them. Click on the link to the Plugins or Themes screen to see the extensions involved in the conflict. Under each plugin or theme's name, click on Deactivate. Then, select Exit Recovery Mode in the admin bar. Once the problematic plugins or themes are disabled, your site should be accessible to everyone again. To verify this, you should double-check. After doing so, you have several options:

  • Remove the extension(s) if they are not essential for your site's operation;
  • Delete the conflicting plugin or replace the theme;
  • Contact the developer of the plugin or theme and request them to make changes to the code to resolve the conflict, then update and reactivate the modified version;
  • Resolve the conflict by editing the code yourself, then reactivate the plugin.

If the plugin is widely used, working with the developer may be more straightforward. Still, you should always test any changes or new plugins on a staging site before applying them to your live site.

Resolving a Conflict via FTP

If you do not have access to WordPress recovery mode, you can still resolve the plugin conflict using an FTP client and your FTP login credentials. Here's how:

  • Connect to your website's server using your FTP client and FTP credentials;
  • Navigate to the wp-content folder and then to the plugins folder;
  • Identify the problematic plugin folder and rename it to something like plugin-name-deactivated;
  • Access your site's backend again, and the plugin will be deactivated. You can follow the steps outlined in the previous section to resolve the issue with the plugin itself.

If you're unsure which plugin is causing the fatal error, rename the first one in the list, refresh your site, and check if the error has been fixed. Repeat this process until the error is resolved, then you'll know which plugin was causing the conflict. The same process can be applied to themes, which can be found in the themes folder inside wp-content. We have an excellent tutorial about what FTP is and how to use it with our hosting services.

Ensure That You are Running a Supported Version of PHP

If troubleshooting for a plugin or theme conflict didn't resolve the issue on your site, the next step is to check if your site is using a supported version of PHP. WordPress no longer supports versions older than 5.6.20 since WordPress version 5.0 and PHP developers do not support versions older than 7.4. Using the latest PHP version is recommended for better security and performance.

We have a pair of excellent guides on how you can change a website's PHP version via cPanel.

  1. Changing the PHP version for just one website;
  2. Changing the PHP version for the entire cPanel.

After the update, check if the error is resolved.

Seek Assistance from Your Hosting Company

If none of the previous steps have worked to resolve the "This site is experiencing technical difficulties" error in WordPress, it's time to reach out for help. The problem may be related to the server and require intervention from your hosting provider.

Therefore, please contact your host using the method they have provided. If you are a FastComet customer, you can expect quick and attentive support from our team of experts anytime. Simply open a new ticket, and we will be happy to assist!

Final Considerations

Receiving the This site is experiencing technical difficulties error in WordPress can be a frustrating experience, especially when the alert is vague and provides no apparent cause for the problem.

However, the steps we outlined above should be sufficient in resolving the error. They are easy to do and should not take too much of your time. As vague as this error is, its solutions are, fortunately, not nearly as vague.

We hope you find this article useful. Discover more about FastCloud - the top-rated Hosting Solutions for personal and small business websites in four consecutive years by the HostAdvice Community!

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