The “error establishing a database connection” message is an especially frustrating WordPress error where your entire site gets replaced by a message that looks like this:
If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing this error right now. If not, you are in luck.
And even if you’re not staring at this message, learning how to fix the error establishing a database connection problem is still something that every WordPress user should know.
In this post, you’ll learn three things:
- What the “error establishing a database connection” message means
- Some of the most common reasons why this message appears
- How to fix this error in WordPress
What Does The “Error Establishing A Database Connection” Actually Mean?
If you’re not familiar with how WordPress works, there are two essential parts to a WordPress website:
- Your files – this includes the WordPress software, your themes, your plugins, your media uploads, etc.
- Your database – this is where the actual content of your posts and pages are stored (as well as lots of other important information).
Whenever a visitor lands on your WordPress site, the PHP files in WordPress reach out to your database to determine exactly what information to display.
Without a working connection to the database, the PHP-file part of your WordPress site can’t get the information it needs to render a working page. That’s why it displays the “error establishing a database connection” message instead.
What Causes The “Error Establishing A Database Connection” Message?
There are multiple potential reasons why you’re seeing this message.
Most of the time, these causes boil down to:
- A corrupt database
- Incorrect database configuration details in your wp-config.php file
- Corrupt WordPress core files
- Problems with your web host
Because you can’t be sure what’s causing the message for your specific situation, the best way to fix the problem is to take a diagnostic approach.
That is, you need to systematically follow a series of tests to isolate (and then fix) the problem.
Here’s what to do: