Home » Uncategorized » How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

Most of the time WordPress runs like a well-oiled machine – causing very few problems. Every now and then, something strange happens. Sending you on a wild goose chase, desperate to figure out the cause of the problem and get you website back up and running.

Almost everyone understands the importance of the WordPress database. It contains everything that makes your website unique. Your content, images, meta descriptions, settings, user information, and more are all contained within your database.

That’s why there is one message that sends fear into the hearts of every website owner. Its the plain white screen with the ominous phrase across the top stating “Error establishing a database connection”.

Before you stop, drop and roll in a state of panic, take a deep breath and realize that we can usually fix this problem in just a few minutes. That’s exactly what we’re going to run through today.

First Things First: A Backup Primer

We’ll keep this short and sweet. There are always a few people out there who still haven’t jumped on board with the idea of creating regular backups.

What Does Error Establishing Database Connection Mean?

The heart of any WordPress website is the database. MySQL is the open source database responsible for storing virtually all of the critical information required by your website. To put it simply, without a database, you’ve got nothing but a blank white screen.

Anytime a visitor comes to your website, WordPress, which is built on PHP, is required to deliver the requested page to your visitor’s browser. In order to achieve this, WordPress communicates with your MySQL database and requests the required information. This includes absolutely everything that the end user sees on their screen.

How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

Most of the time WordPress runs like a well-oiled machine – causing very few problems. Every now and then, something strange happens. Sending you on a wild goose chase, desperate to figure out the cause of the problem and get you website back up and running.

Almost everyone understands the importance of the WordPress database. It contains everything that makes your website unique. Your content, images, meta descriptions, settings, user information, and more are all contained within your database.

That’s why there is one message that sends fear into the hearts of every website owner. Its the plain white screen with the ominous phrase across the top stating “Error establishing a database connection”.

Before you stop, drop and roll in a state of panic, take a deep breath and realize that we can usually fix this problem in just a few minutes. That’s exactly what we’re going to run through today.

First Things First: A Backup Primer

We’ll keep this short and sweet. There are always a few people out there who still haven’t jumped on board with the idea of creating regular backups.

Of course, this wouldn’t be you, would it?

If it is, the error establishing a database connection message is usually the ideal wake up call. The thought that the database could have a sudden problem usually scares people into the habit of creating regular backups.

So, if you haven’t already been doing so, today is the day that you’ll start creating regular backups of your WordPress site. Once we get your database back up and running, you can head over to this article to check out an easy way to get started.

Either way, as we get into the troubleshooting part of this post, it’s important to make sure you’ve created a fresh backup before you make any changes to your MySQL database or click on anything in phpMyAdmin. By “fresh backup”, I mean a completely new version. Don’t overwrite something that was created before the error message was generated.

What Does Error Establishing Database Connection Mean?

The heart of any WordPress website is the database. MySQL is the open source database responsible for storing virtually all of the critical information required by your website. To put it simply, without a database, you’ve got nothing but a blank white screen.

Anytime a visitor comes to your website, WordPress, which is built on PHP, is required to deliver the requested page to your visitor’s browser. In order to achieve this, WordPress communicates with your MySQL database and requests the required information. This includes absolutely everything that the end user sees on their screen.

So, if a visitor arrives on your homepage, WordPress will request from the database information that includes your current theme, the header and logo, any images or text, sidebar widgets, settings, footer content and more. It’s a long list.

But every now and then, something goes wrong. WordPress goes looking for information and – nothing. Silence. For whatever reason, WordPress is unable to connect or pull the required information from your database. When this happens it returns a blank white page and an error message “Error establishing a database connection”.

Once this happens, it’s up to you or your hosting company to find the root cause of the problem and fix the error.

Why Does This Error Happen?

It would be nice if the cause of the error was as clear as the error message itself. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Most of the time the problem can be resolved quickly with just a little digging. Other times, you may need to escalate the situation by getting in touch with your hosting company. As you’re working through these problems and solutions, remember, as with most things in WordPress, there are usually multiple ways of solving the same problem.

Your Database Is Corrupt

If you’ve gone through all of the steps above to no avail, double checking closely for any typos or missing information, the next possibility is that your database is corrupt.

A tell-tale sign of database corruption is when the front-end of your website seems to be working properly, but the back-end displays the error message or vice versa.

If this is the case, you’re probably on the right track. This potential fix is a little less tedious than checking all your database credentials, but it still requires a little work. There are two potential ways to get the job done:

There Is a Problem With the Server

The third and final possibility is that your error message is actually being caused by a problem with your server. If your website is hosted in a shared environment it is usually more likely that the problem is caused by an overloaded server.

With many shared hosting companies, there can be thousands of other websites hosted on the same server. If one of those users decides to abuse the server resources, whether intentionality or not, it’s possible that their actions can affect everyone else whose website is hosted on the same server.

Wrap Up

That pretty much covers the three most common reasons that you might experience the “Error establishing a database connection” message:

  1. Incorrect database credentials.
  2. A corrupt database or individual database table.
  3. A problem with the server.

In most cases, this error message is a problem that can be resolved in under 15 minutes. If you’re unsure about how to fix it or you are uncomfortable with the methods covered in this post, it’s probably better to contact your hosting company or turn to a WordPress support service. The last thing you want to do is cause more damage to your database.

Post Tag With : , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please wait...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to be notified when our article is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.