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

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

Are you currently seeing “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” in your WordPress site?

Maybe you just updated a theme or plugin and then, boom, things go bad. This error message stares you in the face and you wonder what you did wrong. Well, it may not be your fault.

WordPress sometimes develops errors of different kinds. And “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” error is just one of them. Shortly, you’ll get to know what causes this WordPress error and how to fix it.


What does “The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties” Error mean

“The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties.” is a fatal error in WordPress. This means you cannot access your site from the backend and frontend.

Anyone who visits your website at this time will have this as a welcoming message.

“The site is experiencing technical difficulties”.

And when you try to log into your site’s backend, you’ll see this:

“The site is experiencing technical difficulties. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions.”

While this can be fixed, it may be troubling at first. After all, you could lose visitors, and clients too.

So, what causes this error? In most cases, it is a result of a plugin or theme conflict. When you install two plugins with conflicting code, it could more often than not, cause this error.

How to fix it

Follow these steps to fix the problem.

Check Your Email for Notification from WordPress

As a site admin, your error message reads thus:

“The site is experiencing technical difficulties. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions”.

Here is the first thing to do – check your email inbox (or spam). You may have received a message from WordPress notifying you of the possible cause of the error.

Also included in the mail is a link to set your website for recovery.

The information provided in the email guides you on the next steps to take.

Trying to fix this error without checking your inbox will rob you of valuable time, especially if you installed a lot of plugins. You’ll have to do a lot of trial and errors before figuring out the cause of the error.

Now that you know the cause of the error, move to the next step.

Resolve the  plugin or theme conflict – The site is experiencing technical difficulties

If you received a mail from WordPress concerning this issue, you’ll find a recovery mode link within the mail. Click to open it.

You will be directed to your website’s backend. Enter your WordPress credentials in the required fields and click ‘Log In’.

recovery mode

The recovery mode link helps you fix the error without much trouble. Simply click on ‘Go to Plugin Screen

When that page opens, deactivate the conflicting plugin/theme. Then select ‘Exit Recovery Mode’.

Now your site will become available to both backend and frontend users.

If the conflicting plugin/theme isn’t so important, you should consider deleting it. On the other hand, if it is an important one, you can contact the developer for help.

What if you can’t access the WordPress recovery mode link? There is surely a way out.

Find the source of the problem via FTP

This stage is only necessary if you didn’t receive a support mail about site is experiencing technical difficulties.

To do this, download an FTP client app (FileZilla is a good option). Install it on your computer. Next, open File >> Site manager.

How to use FTP

Click ‘New site’.

using FTP

Then, configure these fields.

  • Protocol: set this to FTP
  • Host: fill in your domain name here
  • Logon type: set this to ‘normal’
  • User: this is your user name (contact your hosting provider for this detail)
  • Password: fill in your password (contact your hosting provider for this)

You can leave the ‘port’ field blank. Then, click ‘Connect’.

When connected, navigate to your WordPress root directory, usually in the public_html folder. And then go to wp-content >> plugins.

deactivating plugins using FTP

Since we do not know which plugin is the troublesome one, we’ll test each one. To do this:

  • Right-click on the first plugin, and hit “rename”.

renaming each WordPress plugin the site is experiencing technical difficulties

Then, change the name of the plugin to something else, e.g. pluginname_deactivated. We just added “_deactivated” as a suffix. This action deactivates this plugin on your WordPress site.

Deactivating each plugin the site is experiencing technical difficulties

  • Now return to your website and refresh it. If the problem is fixed, then we can say that plugin was the conflicting one. If not, repeat the same process for other plugins.

Whenever the problem is fixed, note that the last plugin you deactivated was the culprit.

Note: if you have so many plugins installed, you can rename the plugin folder (instead of renaming the plugins one after the other) this will automatically deactivate all plugins.


Go back to your WordPress dashboard and reactivate each plugin, until you get ‘the site is experiencing technical difficulties’ error message. The plugin you just reactivated is the culprit.

If it’s not a plugin, then it’s a theme conflict. Deactivate your theme (like you did with the plugins).

After finding the conflicting plugin/theme, you may either deactivate it or restore the plugin/theme to a previous version.

To restore to a previous version, make sure to install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.

Next, locate the plugin or theme you want to restore and click ‘Rollback’.

The plugin gives you several version options to choose from. Select your preferred version.

Note: Ensure that your website has a recent backup.

If this process does not solve ‘This site is experiencing technical difficulties” error, don’t worry. Try the next step.

Ensure That You’re Running a Supported PHP Version

Check if your site is using a supported version of PHP.

PHP versions that are older than 5.6 no longer receive support from WordPress.

Even if you are running the PHP 5.6. Version, you may still experience this error message. To avoid this, upgrade to PHP 7.0 version.

Enable WordPress’ Debug Mode

If “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” error message still persists, you can troubleshoot by using WordPress debug mode. This would reveal all PHP errors on your site.

To enable this feature, locate your wp-config.php file via FTP. Then, add the following line of code just before this statement: “That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing.”:

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );

Save the file and refresh your site.

Check your fatal error messages and find out the cause of the problem.  It could be a WordPress core issue, a theme, or a plugin.

Side note: don’t forget to delete the code line you added to your wp-config.php code. Or change it to define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false); and save the file.

Leaving your website in debug mode could make sensitive information available to anyone.

The site is experiencing technical difficulties – Conclusion

In this guide, we covered the steps to fix “this site is experiencing technical difficulties” error. We hope you have been able to fix this on your site.

If you still get this error on your site, then you may need extra help. You can request our service and a WP expert will get to work immediately to fix your issue.

 This post was written by Mesheal Fegor

Mesheal Fegor is a Web/WordPress Developer and technical writer. His WordPress help articles have been featured on Kinsta and other sites. Mesheal holds a master's degree in computer science. His writing focuses on technical WordPress issues, ranging from core WordPress problems, to issues with WooCommerce, and more.

Last edited by: FixRunner Team