Crashed WordPress Site – 5 Possible Reasons & How To Prevent Them
A two-second delay is all it takes for a user to abandon a site. Now, imagine what a crashed (WordPress) site can do. Unfortunately, it can leave even the most loyal customers frustrated. A survey revealed that website downtime costs enterprise businesses more than $26.5 billion in lost revenue every year. And yet, website crashes are more common than you’d think.
While website crashes might seem unpredictable, it’s not hard to narrow down on the most
common causes. While it’s true that website modification is often a culprit, it’s not the only one. In this article, we share the most common causes of WordPress website crashes and what you can do
to fix them. Let’s get started.
Here are five common reasons for WordPress site crashes:
- Your website could be hacked
- Incompatibility issues after a major WordPress update
- DDoS attacks on your website
- Critical WordPress installation files or folders have been deleted
- Your website domain has expired
Let’s now discuss each of these reasons in detail.
1. Your website could be hacked
Thanks to WordPress’s popularity, it is also the hackers’ favorite. Hackers break into WordPress sites irrespective of their size because doing so helps them explore vulnerabilities that they can then
exploit in other sites.
Plus, many WordPress users make it easier for them to conduct hacks by using outdated versions of
the Core WordPress, plugins, and themes. Hackers regularly attack websites by installing rogue
plugins, flooding it with fake user requests or traffic, or stealing data causing Malware issues like
Hacked Redirects. All of these activities can easily overload your backend web servers causing your
website to eventually crash.
2. Incompatibility issues after a major WordPress update
Many times, a major WordPress version update on your website can lead to website crashes or even
the dreaded “white screen of death.”
The problem is not so much the WordPress version – but rather the incompatibility between the
WordPress version and older plugin/theme versions. For example, from the time of its launch, the WordPress version, “Gutenberg” was found to be incompatible with many popular WordPress
3. DDoS attacks on your website
Short for Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS attacks are increasingly targeting websites around the
globe. According to this industry report, the number of DDoS attacks in Q1 of 2020 increased by 80%
over Q1 of 2019. That’s not all. The attacks were technically more advanced and lasted for a higher
There are different types of WordPress DDoS attacks that aim to disrupt the regular web traffic
flowing to any website. These attacks send huge volumes of fake traffic to a site, overloading its
server causing the website to crash.
4. Critical WordPress installation files or folders have been
This is another common yet avoidable cause of website crashes. While performing website
maintenance work, your website administrator could accidentally delete some critical files or
folders. At other times, you could delete an essential plugin that may hamper the functioning of your
In some other instances, an automatic script with a code error could result in the accidental deletion
of files and folders.
5. Your website domain has expired
Website domain expiration is another common cause for website crashes that can be easily avoided.
Depending on the domain providers, most website domains are valid for between one to three
Post the expiration, domain owners need to renew their plan to continue using the website. Most
domain providers send multiple and timely reminders to their customers to make the renewal
payment and extend their plan.
However, despite reminders, most domain owners don’t renew on time as a result of which their
domains get suspended. A suspended domain immediately results in website crash, as users are
unable to access the site. This could also affect your SEO efforts.
Thankfully, For WordPress sites, these common errors can be avoided easily by following a few
simple measures. In the rest of this article, we discuss four of the most efficient ways of preventing
WordPress site crashes.
WordPress Crashes – 4 Ways of Preventing Them
Now that we know about the common reasons WordPress site crashes, let’s see how we can prevent
them. These solutions are not very complex and can be performed by even novice users.
Here are the four ways of preventing WordPress crashes:
1. Install a WordPress security plugin
While there is no such thing as 100% immunity from hackers and malware, the best way to protect
your site is to regularly scan it, clean it, and keep bad traffic away from it.
There are various ways to scan your site for malware and other infections, but the most efficient way is to install WordPress security plugins like Sucuri or MalCare.
How can they prevent your website from being hacked or infected?
A security plugin like MalCare, for instance, uses a method of deep scanning that analyzes several
website behavior parameters to detect even the most discreet malware. It also comes with in-built
firewall protection – that can block fake requests generated by DDoS attacks & protect websites
from other hacks like WordPress SQL Injection.
Additionally, security plugins also provide automated malware removal and cleanup so you don’t have to rely on external technical support to clean your site.
2. Test your updates on a staging site
To prevent incompatibility issues that usually occur after a WordPress update, you can use website
staging. How does this work? It simply sets up a staging website that is an exact copy of your live site including its website files and database. This independent site gives you the freedom to test your
changes on it without affecting the live site.
Here’s how you can go about this –
- Create and configure your staging site. You can do this manually or using a plugin.
- Download and test your latest updates – Core WordPress, plugins/themes – on your staging site
- Once you are assured that the updates are not causing any issues, then, merge your updates and other changes – with your live site.
If you’re looking for an easy way to set up staging without doing so manually, you can opt for inbuilt
and automated staging that backup plugins like BlogVault offer. This way, you don’t need to invest
separately in staging plugins.
2. Restrict the number of file modifications
To prevent accidental deletion of your website files or folders, you need to restrict your file/folder
access only to trusted users. These would typically be WordPress administrators (or “admin” users)
with sufficient WordPress know-how so you avoid deletion errors.
An effective way is to restrict the number of website users with “admin” rights. WordPress allows
you to assign other user roles, such as editor and subscriber, with lower rights than admin users.
Effective user management ensures that even if users with lower privileges gain access to your
critical backend files, they will not be able to modify or delete them.
Security plugins like MalCare offer a feature that prevents hackers from editing Core files of your
WordPress site, called WordPress Hardening.
4. Set a reminder for your domain name renewal
Finally, always remember to renew your website domain name – so that your customers can always
find you. We recommend that you configure a digital calendar reminder for renewing your domain
Another way of avoiding domain name expiration is to access your domain account and enable
automatic renewal of your domain if the option is available. Remember to periodically update your
contact and credit card information if you have an automatic payment set up.
In today’s age of dwindling attention spans, website downtime can have long-lasting effects on your
website. A fool-proof way to recover from a website crash is restoring your site using its backups.
Make sure you take periodic backups of your site so you can use the latest version to restore your
site without losing further time. There are several ways to do so, but backup plugins are an efficient
and convenient way to ensure your backup processes are regular and automated, and your backups accessible for easy restoration.
While website crashes are quite frequent, they can be easily prevented through some basic
measures that we have outlined in this article. We hope this was helpful. Are there any steps you
take to avoid crashes and secure your site? Is there anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the