Do you own a WordPress website? Have you ever seen it completely down? Well, in case your WordPress website is down, there are certain things you have to check before you can actually fix it.
First of all, you have to understand what could be the cause of your website being down.
Well, WordPress websites are not really static websites and since you are the one in control to customize your CSS file, add plugin, configure them, it might so happen that you could accidentally stop your WordPress website from working properly.
Although most of the themes that you work with are developed by skilled developers and mostly the plugins you use are safe and secure to use, but at times if you fiddle with a few core files or install some cheap theme or use insecure plugins, your WordPress website might crash.
This is where your actual challenge is. Since you have no idea why your website is down, it is really difficult to find out why your website went down.
To find that out you will have to follow a few steps which can definitely help you in fixing your site.
Is your website really down?
Check whether your website is truly down.
At times, you might face a situation where the website is not really down; it’s you or the person reporting having some issues to load the website on a particular browser.
To ensure that the problem is really on your server side and the website is down for every single user, you have to run a simple check.
There are multiple websites which provide you the facility to verify whether a particular website is really down or not.
All you need to do is put your URL on one of those websites and you will have the report that you need.
In case your website is not really down and it’s fine on the server side, you don’t have to do anything.
But in case there is actually a problem with your website, the report will provide you with the details about the technical issues that might be the reason of the problem.
Hosting or server issues?
In this step you have to check whether your website is down due to your hosting server problems.
It’s one of the common reasons why a website might become unavailable.
There are multiple reasons why your hosting server might be down.
In case, server software or server security updates are being installed, or the server provider is making some changes, your server might face a down time.
But in this kind of case, you get to know in advance about the time of server updation or maintenance.
In some cases hosting servers need to replace their storage and get a back up ready to work with.
But this takes time and this might cause your website to be down for some time.
Another reason might be security breach at the server level.
In case the hosting provider detects any kind of intrusion, it might take all its available servers offline for a while until they find the mole or the back door in their system.
These reasons are mainly those which might cause your website be taken down intentionally from the server end for a good purpose as well.
But in case your servers are all good, then you have to keep on searching for the reason why your WordPress website might be down.
Is it your domain?
In case your hosting server is not really down, maybe there is a problem with your domain.
It might so happen that someone hijacked your domain.
Normally hijackers illegally gain access to your domain name and then they can either keep it offline or start redirecting the domain name to other websites.
Normally, if you take precautions you will never lose your domain.
But if you forget to keep your id / password safe or your domain provider has security breach or in case your domain expired and before you could renew someone else bought it, you might face the problem of your domain being hijacked.
The best way to know whether you control your domain or not is to login to your domain provider account.
In case you see any problem with the domain name registration or the domain has already expired, you have to contact your service provider.
They might ask for your account details or domain purchase proof which should be easy for you to provide and gain access to your domain once again.
In such a situation where you this does not solve your problem, you might have to contact with ICANN and provide with the information that will prove your domain ownership.
But before you do so, make sure that you actually do not have access to your domain anymore because someone has truly hijacked your domain.
Hosting plan limitations
Another reason why your website might have suffered a down time is because of the hosting plan limitations.
As you can understand, most of the affordable hosting plans are shared hosting plans.
Therefore, it is a fact that you are actually using a part a server resource rather than having some dedicated resources for your website.
No matter how costly your shared hosting plan might be, it will still have some resource limitations. You have to know it before hand and you will have to deal with it as well.
Every hosting plan has a limitation of data a single website is allowed to transfer to the visitors at any point of time.
That means if your website has huge number of visitors, your website bandwidth will be fairly consumed.
Even if your bandwidth limitations are not over yet, in case there are too many website requests at a single point of time, your website might crash.
This is another limited parameter that you have to deal with.
When you register for a particular hosting plan, you will be allotted a certain amount of disk space and you will have to use that specific disk space only for your work.
In case your uploaded files go beyond the threshold, the hosting provider might shut down your website for a certain period of time.
In case you have indeed exhausted your hosting limitations, you are bound to get an alert from the hosting provider via email or SMS.
If you wish to increase the limitations, you will have to go for a better or a dedicated hosting plan or in case you are having other issues, then you will
have to solve the other way around.
Themes, and plugins
When it comes to WordPress websites, themes and plugins become its integral part.
Themes serve the purpose of its layout, how it will look, and mostly it’s designing, whereas the plugins stand responsible for the internal functionality and the CMS on your website.
But due to the fact that WordPress is ever-evolving, themes and plugins tend to lose their compatibility at regular intervals.
There are several reasons why this might happen and according to that you
have to fix the problem as well.
In case the theme and the plugin you are using is not developed by you, it is up to the developers that will have to keep on doing the good work to keep the themes and the plugins updated according to the new WordPress update.
In case you are using a theme or a plugin that is not longer supported by its developers, after a certain period of time you might face issues with the compatibility and hence your website will be closed too.
In case you are using a theme or a plugin that is not developed by any trustworthy developer or organization, your website might be facing potential security threat.
In some cases it is up to the users like you to update the current plugin and theme to the latest one so as to stay in tune with the updated WordPress platform.
Unless you do so, you might have to face issues at a later stage, but this kind of issues can be fixed by just updating your current plugin or theme.
In this kind of situation you have to either find a trustworthy organization to develop your plugins and themes or you can trust the WordPress store and use the recommended plugins and themes to stay on the safe side.
Is there a security breach?
Although using a suspicious third party plugin or a theme might cause your site to be at risk of potential cyber intrusion but other than that there are other security related issues as well which you might have to deal with.
Installing any security plugin from any trustworthy provider is a good habit.
These plugins are built to scan your WordPress website to find any kind of malicious code and protect your site from cyber attacks and hackers as well.
Choice of username and password for your dashboard is also a key issue. If you have a habit of choosing easy passwords or usernames, then you are leaving your dashboard vulnerable.
Any hacker with proper intellect and skills will be able to invade your dashboard and you are officially hacked.
This kind of dashboard can easily be invaded by brute-force algorithm.
In case multiple people have access to your WordPress website, it is important that they login to the dashboard only through secure internet and their own PC or laptop only.
Using public Wi-Fi, leaving login details on paper, etc. can certainly make a hacker interested in your website.
To protect your website from this kind of situation, the first thing you need to do is install a security plugin which will block any non-authenticated login on the dashboard.
Apart from that you need to give access to limited number of people.
If that’s not possible, well, at least enable two-step authentication process for every person who has a username and password to your dashboard.
The solution can be a simple one!
In case none of the above solutions solve your problem, then you need to think it a bit differently.
You need to check for the simplest of the changes that you have made or someone else with the access might have made.
There are actually minor changes that can cause your site to stop working which is why checking every bit of small information might come handy.
Database connectivity is amongst the problems that you might face. At times, WordPress sites can go down due to connectivity errors with the database on your server.
To fix this type of error, login to your cPanel, go to your PhpMyAdmin page, find the database you are looking to connect, and check if the connections created for the website is running properly or not.
When you update WordPress, make sure that all the files are in order. Unless all the crucial files are found WordPress CMS, your website might stay down for a while.
The best practice will be to take a full backup before you can make any kind of update or upgrade.
In case the update is not installed properly, just restore the back up and try another time from scratch.
While customizing WordPress designs, you need to add HTML, CSS, and other script codes that will do the trick for you.
But in case there are some critical errors in those codes, your website might not open properly.
Other than that, in case your website has a wrong configuration, it might cause your website to stop working.
So, what you need to do is check the error type first. There are different error codes for different types of errors and normally these errors are caused due to different reasons.
Once you narrow it down, it will be easier for you to understand the problem and therefore fixing it will be easy.