If you have been trying to use your WordPress website, but instead of the usual home page, you are seeing a “There has been a critical error on your website” message, then this article is for you! This error can occur in many different ways and happen for any number of reasons. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes this error to appear and how to fix it quickly.
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What Does “There Has Been a Critical Error on Your Website” Mean?
This error is typically caused by an issue with the WordPress core. The “There has been a critical error on your website” message will be displayed in place of whatever content intended to be shown when you visit your site, and most often results from something going wrong during the installation process or updating WordPress core software.
This can be caused by something as simple as a power outage, or more complicated like the server crashing.
If you have just updated code to a theme or a plugin that is incompatible with the WordPress core or has some PHP syntax errors, then this error can result from that update.
What can be done to fix it?
Since there are many reasons, we need to exclude one by one via trying and debugging.
Try disabling plugins in Admin
The first thing to try is logging out of your site and making sure you are still logged in as an administrator on the back-end admin panel. After logging into the backend, go to “Plugins” disable all of your plugins by using the trashcan icon next to them, and re-enable those you know are compatible with WordPress.
If this does not work, try logging out, clearing your browser cache and cookies, and logging back in as an administrator again.
In the case you still can’t log in to the Dashboard with an admin account, you can try disabling the plugin or theme via FTP.
It can be done by changing the name of a plugin. I often add an underscore to the problematic plugin folder. For example, I change “myplugin” to “_myplugin”. WordPress will not load it when a page is loaded.
Enable wp_debug to pinpoint PHP error
Under the root folder of your WordPress installation, there is a file called wp_config.php. It contains several important settings for your WordPress.
There are 2 settings that determine Debug mode and where to show the error log.
You can open it and allow debug mode.
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
This setting allows errors to be shown on WordPress pages instead of the “There Has Been a Critical Error on Your Website” message.
You can read what is wrong in the PHP code, fix it, and then re-upload the file.
If you don’t want to show errors on the WordPress pages, you can enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file with this line
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
Roll Back Your Site
If you encounter this error after an update, you can try to roll back your site by reverting the last update. This is not always a solution, but it’s worth trying before anything else!
Not everyone backs up their WordPress sites the same way, so to restore a website you have to know how your site is backed up.