Most Frequent User Challenges and Solutions in WordPress Database Management

WordPress is a great platform, not only for hosting blogs, but also building entire websites. It is more dependable and comes with all the advantages of open-source software, including full customization and zero cost.

But just like anything else, WordPress is not perfect, and you will find an error every so often. Fortunately, thanks to a large and constantly working community of developers, most of these problems already have solutions. Read on to find some of the most common user challenges.

WordPress Common Issues

My WordPress gives the error message “Cannot modify header information – headers already sent”

This error message usually comes if you have a problem of stray characters, some of which may not be visible, such as spaces at the beginning if an opening tag or the end of a file closing tag. You should look at the error message to find out which specific filename causes the warning (usually found at the end of the message).

You can fix this problem in two ways: where you haven’t edited things lately, replace the file causing the error from your last properly-working backup. If you don’t have a working backup copy, you must download the error-causing file and open it using a text-editing program that won’t create hidden characters like Windows Notepad.

Avoid Word processing programs like MS Word, since it may insert hidden formatting characters into the file. Confirm that the file starts with <?and ends with ?>. Look out for hidden characters like spaces by placing the cursor after the ?> and deleting any spaces.

My WordPress database file backups are too large

It is extremely important to make regular backups of your WordPress databases, and not just regular, but frequent. For additional security, have three or four copies of the database file stored in different locations, peradventure you find your primary backup file corrupted for any reason. This will, however, be a problem if you have large backup files.

In many cases, database backup files that occupy a lot of space do so because they have plugins that store a lot of data. For instance, if you have plugins that collect statistics or block spam, they may generate huge amounts of data in a short time. This data you don’t have to store within your backup file.

Common WordPress database backup tools allow you to select specific tables that should be included in the backup file. Select only the tables that are vital to the working of your website/blog and leave out the tables which generate data, but not core data that affects the functioning of your site.

Image files especially take up large storage spaces. If you have images on your site that you no longer need, you can delete the old file images to free up some space.

My changes aren’t being saved in WordPress

This problem may be easy to fix sometimes. Simply force a reload of the page from your server by using web browser reload commands. The web browser has copies of webpages stored within its cache (memory area) on the computer. Subsequent visits to the site will allow the site to load faster. If you reload on your web browser, you may get a stored copy from the cache, which may not have your latest changes.

To force your web browser to load the page directly from the server:

  • In most browser, Hold down Ctrl/CMD + Shift then press “R”
  • In Internet Explorer, hold down the shift key and click the Refresh button

Note that the shortcuts may not work depending on your browser settings. Another useful method is to load your page from a proxy site like Guardster.com. Proxy sites don’t have caches and will therefore always load the latest versions stored on the server.

My WordPress STILL doesn’t seem to save my changes

If you still face the same problem after doing the above, the problem is most often user-generated rather than browser-generated. In rare cases, a WordPress plugin could have been downloaded, which changes the working of your web browser’s cache. If you think the problem is due to a plugin, you will have to look at its documentation to find out how the plugin clears the browser’s cache.

Other common issues which may make your WordPress look like it isn’t saving or loading your changes include inherent mistakes in the site’s coding and having an outdated WordPress version. You may have to look at your code line by line or hire someone to find any errors.

WordPress Common Solutions

I get an error message when I try to delete old pages or posts

This is a fairly common user problem and specific causes are rather difficult to narrow down. This is a sporadic problem, hence difficult to track. If you have this problem, it is likely that you have installed a plugin which interferes with your site’s delete function.

For now, there isn’t a list of plugins which do this available for you to check, so you’ll have to carry out your deletions the long way: deactivate all your plugins, delete what you want to delete and then reactivate the plugins.

My WordPress version doesn’t allow workable permalinks

Permalink problems are particularly difficult to resolve. I’ll list some of the most common permalink-related issues, but if these tips don’t work for you, you may been to comb through WordPress.org forums to find information relating to your specific problem.

If your WordPress is newly installed or recently upgraded, the software may have created your .htaccess file with errors, and this file controls permalink creation (you may notice an error message about the .htaccess file at the point of installation).

This may happen because certain web hosts prevent you or your WordPress from editing or accessing the .htaccess file, resulting in the permalink error. You can find out whether or not .htaccess file editing is permissible through your host’s control panel.

If this is your problem, contact the web host to find out which permissions they (or you) need to set in order to allow WordPress to access and edit your site’s .htaccess file.

And that’s it for today’s post on most common problems and solutions when it comes to managing your WordPress (database). If you’ve recently encountered others, please share them with me.

Thomas Sujain
Sujain Thomas is a data IT professional who works closely with DBA experts to provide her clients with fantastic services to solve their data problems. If you need data IT solutions, she is the person for the job. She enjoys writing on database administration services and other topics in the IT field.

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