fatal error on websites
We all need hosting for our websites. Value is in what they offer.
You might first ask the price. But if your website is down, the price becomes irrelevant.
Down time is a disaster; the goal is to generate an income. Even if your business is brick and mortar, a website is crucial to inform potential customers of hours, products, and special sales. Doesn’t matter if a restaurant or tangible goods. With your website offline, people wonder if you are even open. Will they opt for someone that has their website up and running?
Once had a hosting company that was periodically offline. True, they were growing and short on staff to maintain their servers. But excuses don’t make happy customers. Once too often and we switched to SiteGround.
They are competitive in pricing. Which is no surprise. With more websites going live, the demand for hosting is huge. Many prices for even auto-responders have changed to compete with the needs of web owners.
Over the years of running websites, I have encountered ‘panic’ problems. Sometimes they had to be resolved through phone calls and dragging out the credit card to fix the issues. Not ideal, but a necessity when we can’t resolve the glitch.
Accessing my dashboard wasn’t a problem. When I viewed my website from the front end, it lacked most entries. I kept seeing this TOS at the top of the dashboard, but didn’t connect the meaning. After a call to the hosting company, they told me it was the Terms of Service page. This was a plugin. Plugins, when updated or even WordPress updating, can cause havoc with the website.
When you can access the dashboard, you have the option to deactivate each plugin. Then activate them one at a time until the problem one is identified. Do you need it or can you replace it with a different plugin?
Recent SiteGround Issue
Panic set in as I try to bring up my TwoFelines.com website. White screen staring at me, with the words Fatal Error. Four lines of what the error referenced. But how to decipher the information remained a mystery.
Looked up SiteGround’s phone number. It was Friday evening, and the message said to login and go to support. Not helpful. Found a second number… same message.
Thought refreshing the website was a solution. Horrors. Error was gone plus everything I worked on for ages. A bare website. Went to backup page and backed up from before the traffic dropped to zero. Didn’t fix it, but the Fatal Error screen returned. Good thing, as may be hidden behind that error, was my website waiting patiently to reappear.
Connecting with SiteGround
The problem of getting help was elusive. After searching on Google, I discovered they had a chat. Not visible when you login. Only solution was to enter SiteGround as a non-customer and start a live chat. Help! Was my plea. Told them my issue and asked how to get technical support. He told me to login to support… choose ‘Domain’ and scroll through the questions until I came to ‘Other’. Click on, when box opens, enter problem.
A chat opens up with someone that assured me he could definitely help. He asked me to first go into SiteGround dashboard. Open plugins and find WP Optimize. There were options for the plugin. One was ‘delete’, which I did. He backed up the website afterwards and everything was there.
Thank you a thousand times. 3 hours of scary feelings vanished. Relief and now I needed chocolate!
Now that I have been through the process… a 5 minute fix.
When I looked at the Fatal Error, it did refer to WP Optimize. Multiple times over the 4 or so lines on the screen. Next time it could be a different plugin. So recognizing it as a plugin, one can go to SiteGround dashboard for the problem website and delete or deactivate. Go to the backup for the website. And install.
What’s great, the backup is done daily. Improvement over the issues with my previous hosting company. They did it, charging me a fee. Backup was back 7 or more days. Not ideal if you happen to be entering lots of content daily. (Another good reason to backup your content in a Word document.)
The support team on SiteGround was super nice… once I finally figured out how to get help. The weekend wasn’t ideal, but the live chat worked out fine.
Conclusion on SiteGround
Once I figured their help method. It was easy to connect with assistance. I guess amongst their help questions you need to look for “Other” then type in the problem. Which gets you to the “Live Chat”.
The backups available are daily and that means wherever the error occurred, you can go just before it happened. But of course you have to remove the problem, causing the error first.
If you are ever faced with a glaring white screen with the words “Fatal Error”, try not to panic. Take a deep breath and analyze the problem. Try to recognize words that point to the error. Very possibly a plugin that wasn’t happy with the new updates. Recognizing the plugin by what the error reference spells out, then you can deactivate or delete. Other options, even renaming it… not sure how that works.
The plugins have jobs on your website. Search for another alternative when they cause problems.
Not knowing why the WP-Optimize plugin was causing such havoc for my one site. I deleted it from my other websites before they fell victim to the white screen nightmare.
Things happen, no way of predicting the next update will cause an issue. An easy quick fix, when you know where to look. And SiteGround daily backups can prevent a nightmare of losing days of entries.
Will stick with SiteGround as my hosting company.
I’m an affiliate for SiteGround and can recommend them because I am a customer.
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