How to Fix the Error Establishing Database Connection in WordPress?

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WordPress is an outstanding content management system recognized by millions of websites for its user-friendly interface and customizability. But like any other CMS platform, WordPress websites are not immune to encountering hiccups along the way. One such roadblock that can leave WordPress developers scratching their heads is the dreaded “WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection.”

You have worked hard to create and launch your WordPress website. But it’s not opening as intended, and the users are seeing the message “WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection”. That can be frustrating for your website users. Moreover, it doesn’t let you render and customize the website since the data can’t be retrieved. But don’t worry; like so many other common WordPress errors, this one can be resolved quite easily. 

We have compiled this blog to help you understand what a WordPress error establishing a database connection is, what causes it, and how you can fix it.

What is a WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection?

WordPress relies heavily on its database to store various types of information related to the website. That includes the content, settings, user data, and more. A “WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection” is a common issue that occurs when a WordPress site is unable to connect to its underlying database server.

This connection between WordPress and the database server may be disrupted or not be established at all sometimes. In such a case, the website won’t be able to retrieve the necessary data to function properly, leading to this error message.

This common WordPress error indicates that the website is currently inaccessible since it can’t retrieve data from the database, which can be a bit alarming for the owners. But as we mentioned earlier, a WordPress development company or you yourself can resolve this database error quite easily. 

However, before fixing it, you have to understand what causes the “WordPress Error Establishing a Database Connection”. 

What Causes Error Establishing Database Connection in WordPress Websites?

This WordPress Database server error can be caused by a variety of factors. From simple configuration issues to more complex server-related problems, here are some common causes of this WordPress site error:

Incorrect Database Credentials: A common cause is incorrect database credentials (database name, username, password, host) in the wp-config.php. If any of these credentials are incorrect, WordPress cannot establish a connection to the database.

Database Server Unreachable: If the database server is down or experiencing high traffic or technical problems, WordPress won’t be able to establish a connection. This could be due to network server maintenance, issues, or problems with the host’s infrastructure. Make sure you select the best hosting service for your WordPress website

Corrupted Database: A corrupted database can prevent WordPress from connecting to it. Various factors, including server crashes, incomplete updates, or data inconsistencies, can cause corruption.

Insufficient Database Privileges: Sometimes, the database user associated with WordPress may not have the necessary privileges to access and manipulate the required database tables. In that case, this WordPress error occurs as the connection can’t be established.

Server Resource Issues: If the site hosting server experiences resource limitations or traffic issues, it can impact the database server’s performance and lead to connection errors.

Plugin or Theme Conflict: Certain plugins or themes might interact with the database in a way that disrupts the connection. Deactivating recently added plugins or reverting to a default theme can help identify such conflicts.

File System Errors: Critical files and elements in the WordPress file & directory structure might be missing, corrupted, or improperly configured. These files are essential for establishing a connection with the database.

Excessive Database Queries: Poorly optimized queries or excessive database queries in themes or plugins can overload the server and result in a database connection error.

Memory Limit Issues: If WordPress exhausts its allocated memory limit while trying to establish the connection, it might lead to this database error.

Web Hosting Restrictions: Some web hosting providers have restrictions on the number of concurrent database connections. If this limit is exceeded, it can result in connection issues.

DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service attacks can overwhelm the server, affecting its ability to serve database connections.

Server Misconfigurations: Misconfigurations in server settings, firewall rules, or security measures can interfere with the database connection.

After you have identified the correct cause of the error establishing a database connection in the WordPress site, you can set the correct course of resolution.

Six Ways to Fix the WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection

There may be a database connection error in a WordPress website due to a variety of causes. But whatever the reason, there are a few ways to fix this common WordPress error:

1. Check & Re-enter the Database Login Credentials

Let’s say the issue is that you have entered incorrect database login credentials in the ‘wp-config.php’ file. That must be preventing WordPress from connecting to the database resulting in the “WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection”. In fact, it’s the most common reason behind this error message. 

Here’s how you can resolve this:

Step 1: Access the Hosting Control Panel or FTP Client (like FileZilla, Cyberduck, Transmit, etc.) to connect to your website’s server.

Step 2: Locate the root directory of your WordPress installation, where you’ll find the ‘wp-config.php file’. This file contains crucial configuration settings for your WordPress website.

Step 3: Open the wp-config.php and edit it through a built-in or third-party code editor (Visual Code Studio).

Step 4:  Verify the four important elements of your wp-config.php file:

// ** Database settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The database name for WordPress */
define( 'DB_NAME', 'database_name_here' );
/** Database username */
define( 'DB_USER', 'username_here' );
/** Database password */
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here' );
/** Database hostname */
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');
  • Database Name: database_name_here
  • Database Username: username_here
  • Database Password: password_here
  • Database Hostname: localhost

Step 5: If you’re unsure about your database credentials, log in to your hosting control panel and find the database details. They should provide you with the correct values to enter.

Step 6: If the credentials entered in the ‘wp-config.php’ file don’t match the correct ones from the hosting panel, replace and update them.

Step 7: After updating the credentials, save ‘wp-config.php’ and upload it back to the server, replacing the old version.

Step 8: Finally, clear cache and cookies and visit your website again to see if the error still exists. 

Correcting and re-entering the database login credentials ensures that WordPress can establish a valid connection to the database. Your website should now load without the WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection message. This method will especially be helpful if you have just migrated your WordPress website to another host.

2. Ensure the Website Domain is Pointing to the Current Host Provider

When you migrate your WordPress website to a new hosting service, all the website files are moved to the new host server. But if the domain isn’t pointing to the new host (the one hosting your database), it will result in an error establishing a database connection in the WordPress website.

Let’s see how you can take care of this WordPress database error:

Step 1: Access the cPanel of the company where you registered your domain (domain registrar). That is where you manage your domain settings. These settings are usually labeled as “DNS Management,” “Nameservers,” or something similar.

Step 2: After locating the DNS settings, confirm that your domain is using the correct nameservers provided by your current hosting provider. These nameservers are responsible for directing visitors to your website’s hosting server.

Step 3: If you’ve recently migrated your website to a new hosting provider, you might need to update the nameservers to match the current hosting. It ensures the correct server handles requests for your website’s domain. 

Step 4: After making changes to your nameservers, allow some time for DNS propagation. This process can take several hours to propagate changes across the internet.

Step 5: Clear your browser’s cache and cookies to ensure you’re not seeing a cached error message.

After this, visit your website to check if the “Error Establishing Database Connection” issue has been resolved. If domain misconfigurations were causing this issue, this step-by-step process would likely resolve the database connection error.

Keep in mind that DNS changes might take some time to propagate globally, so be patient after making adjustments. Plus, for assistance with this method, we recommend you contact your WordPress hosting provider. 

3. Repair Corrupt WordPress Database

A corrupt database can disrupt the normal operation of your WordPress website. That includes its ability to establish a connection to the database server.

This step-by-step process will help repair the corrupt WordPress database and resolve the issue effectively:

Step 1: Locate and access the wp-config.php file in the WordPress root directory through your hosting control panel or an FTP client. Before going any further, the WordPress experts create a backup copy to ensure there is a way back in case of an issue.

Step 2: Open the ‘wp-config.php’ file for editing in a code editor of your choice.

Step 3: Add this line of code above the “That’s all, stop editing!” line.

define('WP_ALLOW_REPAIR', true);

Step 4: Save and upload the modified ‘wp-config.php’ file back to your website server, replacing the old version.

Step 5: Now, open your website browser and visit the following URL: (Replace “yoursite” with your website’s domain name)

In the repair tool, you’ll be presented with two options: “Repair and Optimize Database” and “Repair Database”. We recommend you opt for the latter because it not only repairs but also optimizes the database for better performance. This repair process may take a few minutes, so be patient.

Step 6: After the repair process is complete, remove the code excerpt you added to the wp-config.php file in Step 3. Then, save and upload this file back to the website’s server. 

Revisit your website to see if the “Error Establishing Database Connection” has been resolved or if it still exists. This method can be a little tricky for some since a core WordPress file is edited and repaired to resolve the error. So you may get in touch with a WordPress development company. Their experts have the skills and experience to deal with this WordPress error.

4. Fix Corrupt WordPress Files

Corrupted WordPress core files (including the plugins, themes, and more) can disrupt your website’s functionality. That includes its ability to connect to the database server, resulting in the error.

Here’s how you can alleviate this WordPress error:

Step 1: Before making any changes, make sure to create a backup of your website files and database. It ensures you have a safe point of return in case something goes wrong.

Step 2: Now, the first step to resolving this issue is to identify which corrupt file might be causing it. Commonly affected files include core WordPress files and essential theme or plugin files.

Step 3: Next, download a fresh copy of every potentially corrupted plugin, theme, or other file. The plugins and the theme can be downloaded through the official WordPress repository. 

Step 4: Then, the WordPress development experts can access the newly downloaded files through either the hosting cPanel or the FTP client. 

Step 5: Now comes the critical step. Navigate to the directory of your WordPress website where the corrupt file is located. Let’s say the corrupt file is a plugin. Then, install the WordPress plugin with a fresh file and replace it with the corrupt one. 

Overriding the old file will help remove the potentially corrupt elements of the file. That includes the ones that could lead to database connection issues. This method helps restore the integrity of your website’s core files and improves its overall stability.

5. Check if Your WordPress Database Server is Down

One of the most common reasons behind the WordPress error establishing a database connection is issues with the Database server. If the database server itself is down or experiencing high traffic or technical problems, WordPress won’t be able to establish a connection to the database.

Let’s see how you can cope with it.

Step 1: A database server can host multiple websites (whether it’s your multiple websites or other websites). So you have to check if other websites are also encountering the same error. This can help determine if the problem is specific to your website or if it’s affecting multiple sites.

Step 2: Next, you have to reach out to your hosting provider’s support team to ask them for an investigation into this matter. So they can provide you with adequate information on the status of the database server. 

Step 3: WordPress hosting services offer scheduled maintenance for their servers. So check your hosting cPanel and other communication channels regularly for any notifications about ongoing maintenance or server downtime.

Step 4: Sometimes, hosting providers also post updates about server status or maintenance on their social media accounts or service status pages. So you can get better insights into errors establishing a database connection or any other type of common WordPress error. 

Step 5: Keep an eye on the updates provided by your hosting provider. You’ll be informed when the database server is back online and the connection can be restored.

It’s important to stay patient and well-informed during this process, as the resolution time can vary based on the cause of the downtime.

6. Update the WordPress Installation

Outdated WordPress core, themes, or plugins are always an issue for the website. It can lead to compatibility problems that affect the database connection and overall site performance.

So follow this process to alleviate this WordPress error:

Step 1: Before making any updates, create a backup of your website files and database. This ensures you have a safe point to revert to if any issues arise during the update process.

Step 2: Then log into the WordPress admin dashboard. If there’s a notification for an update with the WordPress core, click on the button to start the process. 

You may also go to “Updates” in the Dashboard section and click the “Update Now” button to update and install the latest version of WordPress.

Step 3: In the “Updates” section, you can also check for updates with your themes and plugins. Select all available updates and click the “Update Plugins” or “Update Themes” button.

Step 4: After updating, visit your website to ensure it functions correctly.

If you stool encounter issues, it’s possible that a theme or plugin is not compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Deactivate the themes and plugins one by one to identify the problematic ones.

We recommend you update a theme or plugin even if you don’t use it very often.

Finally, for any of the above-mentioned methods, make sure to clear the browser cache and test the website again to verify that the “WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection” has been resolved.

Not everyone is adept with the coding skills and experience to take care of the WordPress error establishing a database connection. So, we recommend you connect with a WordPress service provider. We have extensive WordPress website maintenance packages to ensure your website works effectively after development.

FAQs Related to WordPress Error Establishing Database Connection

Why does the "Error Establishing Database Connection" occur?
The error can be due to various reasons, such as incorrect database credentials, a corrupt database, issues with the database server, web hosting problems, theme or plugin conflicts, and more.
Can I fix this error without technical expertise?
Some methods, such as checking credentials and ensuring domain settings, can be managed by users with basic technical skills. However, more complex solutions, like repairing a corrupt database, might require a higher level of technical knowledge. If unsure, it's recommended to seek help from a WordPress website development company or the hosting provider.
How can I prevent the "Error Establishing Database Connection" in the future?
To prevent this error, keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins updated, and regularly back up your website. You can also optimize your database, choose a reliable hosting provider, and follow best practices for website maintenance.


Errors are quite common in any website, whether it’s made with WordPress or another CMS. Among the most common ones is WordPress Error Establishing a Database Connection. It means the website is unable to connect to the underlying database server.

You can take care of this error in six ways:

  • Check and re-enter the database login credentials.
  • Ensure the website domain is pointing to the current host provider.
  • Repair a corrupt WordPress database.
  • Fix corrupt WordPress files.
  • Check if the WordPress database server is down.
  • Update the WordPress installation.

Following these methods in the way mentioned above will help resolve this error more effectively. But if you are finding it difficult to fix this issue or any other, we recommend you contact our experts today!

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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