This Site is Experiencing Technical Difficulties
WordPress introduced a fatal error protection feature in WordPress 5.2. The error “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” is actually a similar version of the White Screen of Death. After WordPress 5.2, this is usually seen instead of the former White Screen of Death.
For full details, WordPress then sends an email notification on your WordPress admin email address. This email message contains a link to access the backend and attempt to fix the error. If you don’t have access to the admin email or can’t get WordPress emails then it becomes harder to find out what error is occurring.
Why This Site is Experiencing Technical Difficulties
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:
- Plugin Conflict – You just updated a plugin and there is a problem with the new version of the plugin.
- Theme Conflict – 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.php” file of your theme, which clashed with the existing code, leading to this error.
Fixing This Site is Experiencing Technical Difficulties
We already know that the error is caused by a theme or a plugin. Therefore, we have to find out which 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.
You need to activate a default theme, like “Twenty Twenty-One”. Unfortunately, because your site is showing an error, you will need to perform the troubleshoot with either your web host’s file manager, or use FTP or sFTP. It’s important to note that in switching themes, you won’t lose your chosen theme’s settings. To do this, you rename your active theme’s folder by adding “DISABLE” or “OFF” to the end of the folder’s name. For example, if you’re using Twenty Twenty and the folder is “twentytwenty”, you would name it “twentytwentyDISABLE” or “twentytwentyOLD” . Go back to the front of your site and refresh.
The goal is to see if the error goes away. If it doesn’t, it’s not a theme issue. Make sure to rename the folder back to its original name when you’re done.
If it’s not the theme, it might be a plugin issue. Similar ways, but much easier to rename the plugin folder to “pluginsOFF”. Visit the site, and log-in. This will turn off all of the plugins. Once the plugins are off, go back and rename the folder back to “plugins”. Go to your WordPress admin area and reactivate each, one-by-one, until you get the screen that says “The site is experiencing technical difficulties”. The plugin that you just reactivated, is the problem.
Once you’ve found the problem, you most likely want to rollback the theme or plugin that caused it. You can do this a couple ways.
- Download the original plugin files directly from the WordPress plugin directory, and replace the plugin via Filemanager with your web host, or through FTP or sFTP.
- Use WP Rollback plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-rollback/ to roll the plugin back to the previous version.
If you use “WP Rollback”, it will give you several versions to choose from. It will tell you what version you have. You will want to hold off to update when the developer does another release of the plugin or theme.
Go to your CPanel file manager or you can use FTP client to browse your file manager. Search for the “wp-config.php” file in the file manager. After finding the file, right-click on it and click on “Edit”.
The “wp-config.php” file will open, find the
( 'WP_DEBUG' , false);
Change the “false” to “true” and press on the Save Changes button on the top right.
Then go to your website and refresh the error page. Now you will see a different error but this time it will show some more details about the error. You can see which plugin has the error and because of which you get “The site is experiencing technical difficulties” error on your site.
Now go back back to the file manager, find and open the “wp-content” folder. Then you will find the “plugins” folder. Open the “plugins” folder and then find the plugin that was causing the error, rename it to any name.
Now go back to your site and refresh it. You will see that the issue is no longer there. And you can access your admin area. Go back to the “wp-config.php” file and re-edit again from “true” to “false” and save it.
The previous version of WordPress used to inform us with feedback regarding the issue but the latest version 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.