WordPress is the best platform for blogging and podcasting. And with so many parts, something could break. Here is how to fix the most common problems you may face with WordPress.

The common WordPress troubleshooting steps

Review the “11 WordPress Troubleshooting Tips” (#226, /wptroubleshooting) I have previously shared:

  1. Backup
  2. Consider hiring help
  3. Trace the problem logically and linearly
  4. Test with “incognito” and other browsers
  5. Revert changes
  6. Deactivate WordPress plugins
  7. Try a default WordPress theme
  8. Optimize performance (and clear the caches)
  9. Ask your web host
  10. Tighten security
  11. Hire help

The most commonly successful steps are to clear (or disable) caching or deactivate plugins.

Review the official “Common WordPress Errors” resources

Most of the common problems you'll face are already addressed by the WordPress team:

  • The White Screen of Death—You visit your front-end or back-end and the screen is blank and white
  • Internal Server Error—Also called “error 500”
  • Error Establishing Database Connection
  • Failed Auto-Upgrade
  • Connection Timed Out—Stuff takes a really long time to load and may eventually give up
  • Maintenance Mode Following Upgrade
  • You Make Changes and Nothing Happens
  • Pretty Permalinks 404 and Images not Working—Also called “page not found”
  • Custom Post Type 404 Errors—Also called “page not found”
  • Specific Error Messages

Numbers appended to URLs or a slug/URL is already taken

A “slug” is a section of a URL usually after the domain and usually between slashes. For example, TheAudacitytoPodcast.com/this-is-a-slug/. WordPress makes a slug for most content (pages, posts, products, pretty links, and custom post types) and taxonomy (tags, categories, and some other taxonomy for custom post types).

With few exceptions, these slugs must be unique. Thus, if you have two items with the same name, WordPress will usually append a number to the slug to prevent duplicates.

This is also why you may have trouble making a /podcast URL with PowerPress installed, but there's a workaround.

To avoid duplicate slugs, you may need to check your pages, posts, categories, tags, and other plugins to delete or rename anything already using the same slug (for example, I recommend you make your category slug “podcast-episodes” or “audio-podcast” instead of “podcast”).

Some URL-creating plugins, such as Pretty Link, may be more sensitive to pre-existing slugs. In fact, I discovered and reported a bug in a version of one such plugin where it would not allow a new slug to end with anything the same as another slug (for example, you can't make “/mypodcastfeed” because “/feed” was already used).

Stuff doesn't update

In addition to WordPress's own recommendation for clearing your browser cache (under “You Make Changes and Nothing Happens”), you may need to clear or disable your website cache, as well. Remember that there may be multiple layers to clear or disable, such as WordPress cache, server cache, and external/CDN cache (like CloudFlare).

Thank you for the podcast reviews!

  • 5 stars in iTunes by Sleep with Silk from USA on June 7, 2016: “… His information has assisted us greatly to improve our “Sleep with Silk” podcasts. Daniel's tips have allowed us to create better podcasts to help our stressed and sleepless listeners to relax and fall asleep easier to nature sounds, calming voices, background noise, and binaural beats. He is also enthusiastic and engaging – so he won't put you to sleep like our podcasts will! …”

Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher!

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  • Thank you for your patience while I was absent with illness and a death in my extended family.
  • Support The Messengers, an upcoming podcast documentary.

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the shownotes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome)

Connect with me


This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Ravi Jayagopal
7 years ago

Hi Daniel, fantastic episode today! Really enjoyed the Podcast Movement snippets, and the information was fantastic. Especially the tip about a long intro. Made me reconsider my own intro, even though it’s not 3-5 minutes long like the person in the interview. Then I came to your site to look up the information for the webinar, spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to get to the show notes, closed the window, then came back a bit later to see if maybe I can send you a question, and then saw the “Comments” link, and then clicked on it. And fully typed the question, only to realize, that I was already at the bottom of the shownotes page. So it was very hard to find your shownotes for the episode, even for a highly motivated fan. Just thought you may want to know, as there may be others as clueless as me 🙂 and you may be losing precious attention. Here’s what I see on your home page: http://screencast.com/t/uvFt5FiFDXU . Cheers!

– Ravi Jayagopal
Podcast Host, http://SubscribeMe.fm

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