There are a lot of error that you can encounter with WordPress, like internal server errors, database connection errors, and even ones that say “The site is experiencing technical difficulties.” A lot of times, the full error is:
“The site is experiencing technical difficulties. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions.”
What does this error mean?
If you’ve ever heard of the Blue Screen of Death with Windows, well WordPress has an equivalent, which is called the White Screen of Death. That seems scary. The error “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” is actually a similar version of the White Screen of Death. After WordPress 5.2, this is usually seen instead of the former White Screen of Death. Please do note that even though it may be scary, your site isn’t lost. It can be fixed.
How to Fix the WordPress Error “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” issue
A lot of times, the simple issue is to rollback the site. To do that, you need to have a backup of your site. Unfortunately, not everyone backs up their site, so if you’re reading this, and one of those people who don’t have a backup available, then this troubleshooting tutorial is for you.
In order to fix the issue, you have to find out where the issue went wrong. You do this by troubleshooting whether it was a theme or plugin conflict.
Theme Conflict Troubleshoot
To perform this, you just activate a default theme, like Twenty Nineteen. Unfortunately, because your site is showing an error, you will need to perform the troubleshoot with either your web host’s file manager (like cPanel’s Filemanager), or use FTP or sFTP (it’s like secure version of FTP.) It’s important to note that in switching themes, you won’t lose your chosen theme’s settings. To do this, you rename your active theme’s folder by adding DISABLE or OFF to the end of the folder’s name. For example, if you’re using Twenty Eighteen and the folder is ‘twentyeighteen’, you would name it ‘twentyeighteenDISABLE’ or ‘twentyeighteenOLD’ . Go back to the front of your site and refresh.
The goal is to see if the error goes away. If it doesn’t, it’s not a theme issue. Make sure to rename the folder back to its original name when you’re done troubleshooting.
Plugin Conflict Troubleshoot
If it’s not the theme, it might be a plugin issue. In a way, troubleshooting is similar. However, it’s much easier to rename the plugin folder to ‘pluginsOFF’. Visit the site, and log-in. This will turn off all of the plugins. Please note that it won’t remove the original settings of those plugins, as they will be there when you reactivate them later on.
Once the plugins are off, go back and rename the folder back to ‘plugins’. Go to your WordPress admin area and reactivate each, one-by-one, until you get the screen that says “The site is experiencing technical difficulties”. The plugin that you just reactivated, is the problem.
(Change plugins folder name via cPanel)
(Change plugins folder name using FTP – Filezilla)
Once you’ve found the problem, you most likely want to rollback the theme or plugin that caused it. You can do this a couple ways.
- Download the original plugin files directly from the WordPress plugin directory, and replace the plugin via Filemanager with your web host (or cPanel), or through FTP or sFTP.
- Use WP Rollback plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-rollback/ to roll the plugin back to the previous version.
If you use WP Rollback, it will give you several versions to choose from. It will tell you what version you have. Below, you can follow the images to get an idea of how to use WP Rollback.
Step 1: Choose the plugin to rollback. Click ‘Rollback’ if it is available in the plugins listed in your WordPress admin.
Step 2: Choose the version you want to rollback to.
Step 3: Read the warnings. It might be better to test, before rollback. Only rollback if you’re sure.
You will want to hold off to update when the developer does another release of the plugin or theme.