The WordPress error, “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” is also known as the WordPress white screen of death.
Although this may seem scary, there’s no need to worry. This is an easy fix if you follow the steps below.
In this article, we will talk about WordPress technical difficulties, what are they, and how to fix them.
- WordPress Technical Difficulties
- Why Your Website Experiencing Technical Difficulties
- How to Fix ‘The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties’ WordPress Error
- Plugin and Themes Rollback
WordPress Technical Difficulties
Before the 5.2 version of WordPress, the white screen of death (WSOD) was a screen that provided feedback about technical difficulties with the website.
The WordPress fatal error may still be displayed even after updating WordPress to version 5.2 or higher but it’s less likely.
It used to say “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” as you can see in the image below.
Whether you see the technical difficulties message or just a white screen, the problem is the same and the ways to fix it are also the same.
Why Is Your Website Experiencing Technical Difficulties?
WordPress is a very complex CMS (content management system) platform with numerous files of various types.
In certain cases, one wrong character in enough to disrupt the function of a single plugin or theme, causing it to crash, which could in turn prevent the website from loading properly or even loading at all.
With each additional plugin or theme that you install on your WordPress website, the probability of something going wrong increases. Sometimes certain plugins clash with other plugins or even with the themes. This too can cause technical difficulties, including the white screen of death.
Here are the main reasons why you might see ‘The site is experiencing technical difficulties’ message or just a plain white screen:
- You just updated a plugin and there is a problem with the new version of the plugin.
- You just updated a theme and there is a problem with the new version of the theme.
- You entered a new function into the
functions.phpfile of your theme, which clashed with the existing code, leading to this error.
Whatever your case may be, in the section below you will learn to troubleshoot and fix the fatal error.
How to Fix ‘The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties’ WordPress Error
We already know that the error is caused by a theme or a plugin.
Therefore, we have to find the name of this defective theme or plugin and deactivate it. Because the WordPress fatal error shuts down our system, we cannot access our WordPress dashboard to deactivate it from there.
Therefore, we need to reach our website files through FTP software or cPanel.
Access your website through cPanel
To access the cPanel of your website, you’ll need to contact your hosting company, or search for ‘WordPress cPanel HOSTING’ in Google.
Please replace HOSTING with the name of your hosting company like ‘Hostgator’ so the search query will be ‘WordPress cPanel Hostgator’.
In the list below you will find instructions on how to access the cPanel for the most popular hosting companies:
In most cases, all you have to do is log into your hosting account and find the link to launch your cPanel.
Then, just look for and open the File Manager option.
Deactivate the theme
Inside the File Manager screen, look for your website name from the left sidebar and click on it.
There, you’ll need to navigate into your themes folder and deactivate your active theme.
Navigate to the wp-content folder and then into the themes folder.
There, you’ll find a list of all the themes that are installed on your WordPress website. Each theme is in its own folder.
To deactivate a theme, you’ll need to add “DISABLE” to the theme folder name.
For example, if you’re using the Hello Elementor theme, right-click on the hello-elementor folder and choose ‘Rename’.
Then, just add DISABLE to the theme name. Then click on the ‘Rename File’ button.
Now, the folder name should look like: hello-elementorDISABLE.
Now, reload your website to see if ‘The site is experiencing technical difficulties’ error message has disappeared.
If you don’t see the fatal error or the plain white screen of death, the issue had been fixed. You also know that the error came from the theme you had just deactivated.
If updating the theme caused the problem, later in this article, I will show you how to revert and download the older version (the version that worked and still works quite well with your website).
If you are still getting an error or a white screen, the problem is still there, but not in this theme. We have to search for it among the plugins.
Before we can tackle the plugins, go ahead and revert the theme folder name to its original name by deleting the DISABLE text.
Deactivate the plugins
Just as we did above with the themes, we will need to do the same with the plugins.
However, in this case, we will assign the DISABLE word to the plugins’ folder itself to deactivate all the plugins at once and then reactivate them one by one from inside your WordPress dashboard.
From inside your Themes folder click on the Up One Level button to navigate back to the wp-content folder.
There, you’ll need to rename the plugins folder to pluginsDISABLE just like we did above.
Now, reload your WordPress website and make sure you don’t see ‘The Site Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties’ error message or the white screen of death.
If you don’t see the fatal error, great! One of the plugins caused the problem.
All we have left to do now is to find the specific plugin or plugins that caused the error and revert it to its previous version.
First, navigate to your plugins screen from inside your WordPress dashboard by going to Plugins -> Installed Plugins.
Because we added the DISABLE text to the plugins folder, you won’t see any installed plugins.
Now, remove the DISABLE text from the plugins’ folder. That will bring all the plugins back to your WordPress website but will keep them inactive.
Because we added and then removed the DISABLE text from the plugins’ folder, all the plugins on your website are now deactivated.
Now, activate the plugins one by one, or a few by few, to find out which plugin caused the error message.
Note: I recommend you to start reactivating the latest plugin that you recently updated. Most likely, that’s the one that caused the error.
For example, if the fatal error happened after updating the Elementor plugin, reactivate the Elementor plugin first to see if the error message or the white screen is back.
If you see the technical difficulties error again, you just found the plugin that caused it.
You’ll need to fix the error or the white screen again by adding and removing the DISABLE text to and from the plugins’ folder once again to be able to access your WordPress dashboard.
Now, keep the perpetrator plugin inactive and reactivate all the other desired plugins.
If you still want to use the plugin or theme that caused the problem, you’ll need to revert to an older version of the plugin or theme.
Plugin and Themes Rollback
Thankfully, we found the theme or the plugin that cause the fatal error or the white screen of death.
If we still want to use the plugin or the theme that caused the issue, we will need to revert an older version that worked fine before our update.
Step #1: Search and click on your desired plugin or theme (in our example, it will be Elementor) from the WordPress plugin repository.
Step #2: Click on the Advanced View link.
Step #3: Scroll down, choose and download an older version from the drop-down menu.
Step #1: Search and click on the desired theme from the WordPress theme repository.
Step #2: Right-click on the Download button and click on ‘Copy Link Address’.
Step #3: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Development Log link from the bottom right side.
In the next screen, you’ll see all the available versions that you can choose from.
Step #4: Paste the link (from step #2) in your browser window and change the version number to your desired version.
For example, the link we copied from the download button on step 2 will download the latest version of the Hello Elementor theme:
We can change the version number inside the URL to any other version that we want from the Development Log page. If we want to download version
2.2.1 we will change the link to:
Both the plugins and themes will be downloaded to your local machine as a ZIP file. All we have left to do is to upload the file using our website cPanel.
Upload the Plugin or Theme Through the cPanel
Back in the hosting website cPanel, we will need to upload the rollbacked plugin or theme zip file.
Navigate to the Plugins folder if you would like to upload a plugin or to the Themes folder if you would like to upload a theme.
Then, click on the Upload button at the top.
In the next screen, chose the plugin or theme zip file that we just downloaded a couple of steps ago.
After you finished uploading the file, right-click on it and click on ‘Extract’.
The cPanel will extract the zip file and will overwrite the damaged files with the working files.
That’s it! You made it!
If everything worked out properly, reload your website and make sure ‘The site is experiencing technical difficulties’ WordPress error or the white screen is gone.
WordPress technical errors can be frustrating and their cause can be a real mystery for a while.
The previous version of WordPress used to inform us with feedback regarding the issue but this is less common now.
As I have shown you in this article, solving these difficulties can be quite easy if we follow the right steps methodically.
Make sure to watch the video at the top of this article for clarification if you run into problems.
Please comment down below if you need any additional help, or if you have any specific questions. We will gladly help you!