How to Fix the Critical Error in WordPress

Have you ever come face to face with a critical error in WordPress? If your answer is yes, you already know that there is nothing more terrifying them seeing a “There Has Been a Critical Error on Your Website” pop on your computer screen. Even getting locked out of your WordPress admin won’t cause you to panic as much as knowing that your whole website is down. But take a deep breath and relax as you have us to help. In this article, we’ll explain what critical error is, what causes it and how to fix it.

What is the critical error in WordPress?

No matter how good you are at website management, the critical error can still happen. It’s an error that prevents WordPress from loading all necessary scripts and thus, making your website go down.

A man sitting at a desk and trying to fix the critical error in WordPress
Seeing a critical error message can be a nightmare. However, there are ways to get rid of it quickly and have your website up and running again.

In the past, this error would result in a white screen of death or a fatal error message showing up on your screen. However, this wasn’t very helpful for anyone, especially beginners who would really struggle to resolve the problem on their own.

For that reason, WordPress 5.2 was released with an update. If a critical error happens, you’ll be able to see a generic message ‘There has been a critical error on this website. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions”. You’ll also receive a link that will take you to the WordPress debugging guide.

As the message says, you’ll receive an email to your WordPress site’s admin email address. In there, you’ll find more information about the error as well as a link to access your dashboard in the recovery mode.

How can you fix the critical error in WordPress?

Now it’s time to get your website up and running again. The resolution depends on whether you received the WordPress technical issue email notification or not. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared potential solutions for both cases.

However, before doing anything, make sure to backup your website. This is the part of the WordPress maintenance you should do on a daily basis.

How to fix the critical error with WordPress debugging email?

If you see an email titled ‘Your Site is Experiencing a Technical Issue’, you’ll be delighted to hear that fixing the critical error will be so much easier. Inside this email, you’ll find out what caused the critical errors and you’ll also get a special link that will give you access to your website in recovery mode. This way, you’ll be able to investigate and fix the issue.

A laptop with a WordPress page on the screen, notepad and a pen on one side and a cup of coffee on the other
If you received an email notifying you about a critical error on your website, fixing it should be very straightforward and easy.

Here is what you’ll need to do:

  • Click on the WordPress recovery mode link in the email you received.
  • You will be taken to your WordPress admin page.
  • Log in with your credentials to continue.
  • Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a notification about a critical error. You’ll also get information about what caused it with a link to the place where you can fix it.
  • The issue is usually with a specific plugin or your theme. In the worst case, you’ll have to delete and reinstall the feature that’s causing problems.
  • Once the issue has been addressed, click on Exit Recovery Mode and your website should be back to normal.

You’ll have to admit – it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

How to manually fix the critical error in WordPress?

In case you didn’t receive an email, you’ll need to troubleshoot and figure out what’s causing the issue on your own.

Deactivate all plugins

An issue with a specific plugin is often the cause of the critical error. In order to determine if there is a faulty plugin messing up your WordPress, you should deactivate it. However, as you don’t have access to the admin area due to the critical error, you can’t know which plugin to blame.

In this case, the best way to go is to deactivate all WordPress plugins and find out for sure if a faulty plugin is causing the problem. You can easily reactivate your plugins once you access your admin area again. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Connect to your WordPress website by using the File Manager app or FTP client.
  • Once you’re connected, navigate to a folder named /wp-content/.
  • Inside this folder, you’ll find one named “plugins”. Right-click on it and select rename the folder to anything you want.
  • As soon as you rename the folder, all plugins will be deactivated.
  • Visit your webpage and check if the critical error message is gone.
A page with different WordPress plugins
If a plugin is causing a critical error in WordPress, you can either get in touch with its developers and ask for support or install an alternative.

To load the activated plugins, WordPress looks for the “plugins” folder. Therefore, make sure to remember to rename the folder back to “plugins” after you’re done. That way, WordPress will be able to recognize it so you can proceed with enabling plugins one by one to determine which one is faulty.

Switch back to the default theme

Another common cause for the critical error to appear is an issue with a WordPress theme you’re using. To determine if this is the case on your end, switch your theme back to a default one.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, you’ll need to download a copy of Twenty Twenty-One theme.
  • You’ll again need to connect to your WordPress website by using the File Manager app or FTP client.
  • Look for the /wp-content/themes folder as that’s where you’ll find a list of all themes you’ve installed on your website.
  • Make sure to download all of them to your computer and have a backup.
  • The next step is to delete the /wp-content/themes folder from your website.
  • Upload the folder from the default theme you downloaded.
  • Visit your website and check if this removed the critical error message.

Reinstall WordPress

If nothing above helped you resolve the critical error, it’s possible that it was triggered by a corrupt core file or malware. The easiest way to fix this is to reinstall WordPress.

Simply download a new copy of WordPress to your computer. After unzipping the file to your computer, you’ll get a “WordPress” folder with all files you need to reinstall. It’s a pretty straightforward process.

The bottom line

We hope we were able to help you troubleshoot and fix the critical error in WordPress. Remember, the most important thing to do is to relax and stay calm. Even if you don’t have a backup of your website, the problem is resolvable. All you need is to follow our guide and arm yourself with a little bit of patience.

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