WordPress Site Keeps Going Down – Solutions

WordPress Site Keeps Going Down – Solutions

So your WordPress website keeps going offline on a regular basis and you don’t know what to do. Never fear! We’ve seen it all. If your site is going down consistently, there is a cause and we’re going to find it.

If your site goes down just once, take a look at our other post to troubleshoot that.

You may also want to view our page to make sure the site is actually down and it’s not just a local issue.

Most common reasons a WordPress site regularly goes offline

  1. Scheduled plugin or task issues
  2. Server resource limits
  3. Unrelated hosting issues
  4. Problems with caching plugins
  5. Malware or malicious attacks
  6. Too many plugins or queries
  7. Other plugin conflicts

So how do we troubleshoot this? I’ll show you what I would do to narrow this down. Ask yourself some questions:

Is there any pattern to when the site goes offline?

If there is, then that helps us narrow down what the problem is.

If the site is going offline at the same time every day

If, for example, your site goes offline every single day at midnight, then you are almost certainly dealing with some kind of scheduled task issue. I would first try disabling any plugins that perform scheduled tasks, such as backup plugins and other maintenance plugins. If that doesn’t solve the problems, I would reach out to your website host and see if they are running anything.

Often what you’ll find is that a backup plugin is maxing out the resources of your server, and possibly reaching memory limits. Here’s a great article on increasing that memory limit.

If there is a pattern but it’s somewhat inconsistent

If your site goes down intermittently, but almost always during the day and especially during peak hours, it’s very likely that your server is reaching its resource limits due to high traffic. Server logs should help you narrow this down. Reach out to your host to see how you can access them.

Note that the traffic may not even be yours. It might be to other sites on your shared server! There’s not much you can do about that, other than switching hosting.

Generally the solution to any of these problems is to upgrade your website hosting.

If there’s no pattern

Continue on to the other sections! There are many things it could be.

Are you receiving an error message of some kind when it goes down?

An error message will typically guide you directly to the problem, unless it just says 500 server error, which could be almost anything.

If you see a PHP fatal error, that will usually guide you right to what you need. Often it will give a path to the file that is causing problems. Usually this will be a plugin! Look for the name of a plugin in that file path. If you can’t reach the site’s backend, navigate to that plugin’s folder and rename it via FTP or the online file manager in your website hosting account. That should disable it! Leave it off, and see if the site comes back.

If the error message you see seems to be branded from your hosting company, it’s possible and likely that the issues are related to your hosting. You might want to reach out to them and have them take a look.

If the error says that you’ve reached a memory limit, you might want to try increasing the PHP memory limit!

Do you have any caching plugins installed?

If you have any caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket, or any others, you might want to try disabling them. Once they are disabled, leave them off and see if the site continues to go down. If it starts working, you’re all set! Try a different caching plugin or leave it off.

Malware or other malicious attacks

I would install the WordFence plugin and run a scan. If it finds evidence of malware throughout your site, hire a pro to take care of that for you. Removing malware can be difficult and time consuming! Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

There could also be a coordinated DDoS attack, which basically just floods your site with traffic until it crashes. WordFence should also alert you to this, and possibly even block the attackers.

Are you running a large number of plugins on your website?

“Large number” can vary from site to site. If you have cheap shared hosting, 15 or 20 plugins is probably pushing it. Especially if you’ve slowly added them yourself and aren’t a website developer. With higher-end hosting, you should be able to handle 40 or more plugins as long as they are good plugins.

If you have more than that, you may want to try disabling some or all of them, and seeing if you still have issues.

Likewise, if your website has a lot of complicated queries or is poorly coded, you code regularly bring it down that way. Try using a different theme, or contacting a pro to take a look for you.

None of these helped?

Hiring a professional WordPress expert is always going to be your best bet if you’re facing a complicated issue. We’re more than happy to take a look for you if you like! Just fill out the form below.

If none of those helped, the most likely problem is still plugin-related. You could always try disabling some or all of your plugins and seeing if that solves the problem. Checking your server logs is always helpful, too. Contact your host if you don’t know how to do that and see how you can enable and view error logs.

Good luck!


About Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is a website developer and designer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a passion for code and WordPress. He spends his days building WordPress websites for small businesses, developing new code with the online community, and living life.

8 Comments on “WordPress Site Keeps Going Down – Solutions”

  1. Let me short line my story: I have been working on a website which is exposed to DDOS attacks and BRUTE FORCE attacks, however, they stopped being so harsh once I have updated the plugin list to wordfence. Good job with that, I think! After this, I have been developing some here and there codes to the WP website just to make it more up to date. PHP on the website is not update, it is still an old version. After the weekend and major DDOS attacks and BRUTE FORCE as it is shown by the dashboard of wordfence, I have disabled some back-up plugins and managed to free up some space, did a back up – migration file with AIO WP Migration plugin and now my website is on and off, showing either a 500 error or just a wordpress script error, which I do not understand. Is there any way you could manage to have a look or just explain why all of a sudden? I will blame a bit the digital ocean servers. 🙂

      1. Ok, so after looking for the past 12 hours for a solution, it was a script error. After installing updraft plus (one of the plugins I did uninstall) , it seems to be working just fine. It might a coincidence? Might be but it does look more like this did something

        1. More than likely that plugin was working on a backup and maxing out the resources of your hosting (which can be quite limited on cheap hosting like that). Disabling it would solve that issue!

  2. My wordpress website goes down only when I am using its admin panel and sending multiple requests at the same time. It seems like I have limited resources but Godaddy does not agree or confirm the issue. I am clueless for a long time now. Can you help?

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