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How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

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Are you seeing the ‘Error establishing a database connection’ notice in WordPress?

This is a fatal error that makes your site inaccessible to users. It happens when WordPress is unable to make a connection to the database. Since multiple factors can affect this connection, the error can be a bit difficult to troubleshoot for beginners.

In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the ‘Error establishing a database connection’ on your WordPress site, step by step.

Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

What Causes the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress?

A database is software that makes it easy to store, organize, and retrieve data from other software.

As a content management system, WordPress uses a database to store all your content and other website data. It then connects to the database each time someone visits your website.

WordPress needs the following information for connecting to the database:

  • Your database name
  • Database username and password
  • Database server

This information is stored in your WordPress configuration file, which is called wp-config.php.

If any of this information is incorrect, then WordPress will fail to connect to your database server, and you will see the ‘Error establishing a database connection’ error.

Database connection error in WordPress

It is one of the most common WordPress errors. Apart from incorrect credentials, this error can also appear if the database server is down or the database files are corrupt.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to fix the ‘Error establishing database connection’ issue in WordPress with step-by-step troubleshooting.

1. Check Your WordPress Database Credentials

The most common reason for the database connection error is incorrect credentials. If you have recently moved your WordPress site to a new host, then this is likely the problem.

Your WordPress database credentials are stored in the wp-config.php file. It is the WordPress configuration file that contains important settings, including database information.

If you have not edited a wp-config.php file before, then take a look at our beginner’s guide on how to edit the wp-config.php file for more instructions.

You will be looking for the following lines in the wp-config.php file:

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( 'DB_NAME', 'database_name_here' );
/** MySQL database username */
define( 'DB_USER', 'username_here' );
/** MySQL database password */
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here' );
/** MySQL hostname */
define( 'DB_HOST', 'localhost' );

Here, you must make sure that the information for the database name, username, password, and database host is correct.

You can confirm this information from your WordPress hosting account dashboard. For this tutorial, we will be using Bluehost, but the process will be similar for other hosting panels as well.

Upon logging in, click on the ‘Website’ tab in the left column and then switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab. Then, scroll down to the ‘Database’ section and click the ‘Manage’ button next to it.

Click the Manage button next to the Database section

This will open the MySQL Databases page in cPanel in a new window.

Here, you can find your database name and username in the ‘Current Database’ section. Keep in mind to copy and paste these details into a notepad so you can add them to the wp-config file.

Find your database name and username in the Current Databases section

Next, scroll down to the ‘Current Users’ section, where you can click on the ‘Change Password’ link next to your database name.

This will take you to a new screen, where you can change the database password according to your liking.

Change your database password

Once you have confirmed all your database details, you can change that information in your wp-config.php file if needed.

After that, try visiting your website again to see if the database connection error has gone.

If you can still see the error, then this means that something else is wrong.

2. Check Your Database Host Information

If you are confident that your database name, username, and password information are accurate, then you will want to make sure you are using the correct database host information.

Most WordPress hosting companies use localhost as your database host. However, some managed WordPress hosting companies use separate servers to host databases. In that case, your database host information will not be localhost.

This means that you will need to contact your WordPress hosting company to confirm these details.

3. Repair WordPress Database

Now you may be getting a different error in the wp-admin dashboard like ‘One or more database tables are unavailable’ or ‘The database may need to be repaired’. In that case, you need to repair your database.

You can do this by adding the following line in your wp-config.php file. Make sure to add it just before the ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging’ line:

define('WP_ALLOW_REPAIR', true);

Once you have done that, you can see the settings by visiting this page: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php. Just make sure to replace yoursite.com with your own domain name.

Here, you must click the ‘Repair Database’ button to start the process.

Repair WordPress database

Note: The user does not need to be logged in to access the database repair page. Once you are done repairing and optimizing your database, make sure to remove this line to code from your wp-config.php.

However, if you don’t want to add any code to your site, then you can also repair your database from your hosting account’s cPanel.

Go ahead and visit your hosting account, where you must open the ‘Websites’ page from the left column. Then, switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab and click the ‘Manage’ button in the Database section.

Click the Manage button next to the Database section

This will open cPanel in a new tab. Here, scroll down to the ‘Modify Databases’ section and choose your database’s name from the ‘Repair Database’ dropdown menu.

Once you do that, simply click the ‘Repair Database’ button to start the process.

Click the Repair database button

The hosting panel will now automatically repair your database for you.

Once the process is complete, you will also see a success message.

Database repair success message

You can now visit your WordPress site to see if the error has been resolved or not.

4. Check If Your Database Server Is Down

If everything seems to be correct, and WordPress still cannot connect to the database, then your database server (MySQL server) may be down.

This could happen due to heavy traffic on a server. Your host server just cannot handle the load (especially when you are on shared hosting).

Due to this, your site will get slow, and may even output the error for some users. In this case, you should get on the phone call or live chat with your hosting provider and ask them if your MySQL server is responsive.

Additionally, if you have other websites running on the same server, then you can check those sites to confirm that your SQL server is down.

If you do not have any other site on the same hosting account, then simply go to your hosting dashboard and switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab.

After that, click the ‘Manage’ button next to the phpMyAdmin section.

Click the Manage button next to the PHPMyAdmin option

This will open phpMyAdmin in a new window, where you must click the ‘Database’ option at the top.

After that, click on your database’s name to access its settings. If you can do that, then it is time for you to check if your database user has sufficient permissions.

Connect PHPMyAdmin with your database

To do this, you need to create a new file called testconnection.php and paste the following code into it:

<?php
$link = mysqli_connect('localhost', 'username', 'password');
if (!$link) {
die('Could not connect: ' . mysqli_error());
}
echo 'Connected successfully';
mysqli_close($link);
?>

Upon pasting the code, make sure to replace the username and password with your own. You can now upload this file to your website and access it via a web browser.

If the script connected successfully, then it means that your user has sufficient permissions, and something else is causing the error.

Now, you must go back to your wp-config file and scan it to ensure that all the details are accurate and without any typos.

Additional Solutions That Have Worked for Users

If the above-mentioned troubleshooting tips fail to fix the database connection error on your website, then you may try these additional steps.

As reported by our users, these steps have helped some of them resolve the database connection error on their websites.

1. Update the WordPress Site URL

You can try updating the WordPress site URL using phpMyAdmin in cPanel.

Simply access phpMyAdmin from your hosting account dashboard and select your WordPress database from the list.

After that switch to the SQL menu on the top and enter the following MySQL query:

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value='YOUR_SITE_URL' WHERE option_name='siteurl'

It should look like this:

Change site URL

Don’t forget to provide your own site URL and change wp_options to your own table name, as you may have changed the WordPress table prefix.

2. Rebooting Web Server

Users on dedicated servers, local servers, and virtual private servers (VPS) can try rebooting their servers.

This will restart your web and database server, which may fix some temporary glitches causing the error.

3. Ask For Help

If everything else fails, then you may need to contact your web hosting company. All good WordPress hosting companies will help you troubleshoot the problem, point you in the right direction, or even fix it for you.

You can also hire WordPress developers using a platform like WPBeginner Pro Services to help you fix this issue for reasonable rates. We have a dedicated team of expert developers that you can trust to resolve any of your WordPress issues.

WPBeginner Pro Services

Plus, you can use the service for your site maintenance, hacked site repair, speed optimization, website rebuilding, and SEO optimization.

We hope this article helped you fix the ‘Error establishing a database connection’ issue in WordPress. You may also want to see our WordPress troubleshooting guide for tips on resolving WordPress issues on your own, or our expert picks of the best tools for WordPress freelancers and developers.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

663 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Hajjalah says

    I used to get this error more often when I was logged into my admin dashboard for a longer period but this article helped me solve the issue. I just updated the WordPress Site URL. Thanks for the useful guide.

  3. Dennis Muthomi says

    I actually encountered this database connection error just recently when working on a staged WordPress site before going live.
    I had just moved a WordPress site from local to a vps. The video tutorial at timestamp 2:53; helped me solve the error :-)

  4. Jiří Vaněk says

    May I ask what the problem is, if I migrate the database to a new one, edit wp-config.php for the new connection, but wordpress does not connect? In the end, I had to delete the old wp-config and create new ones from the installation package. The only thing I found out was that the key stored in wp-config is probably a problem. Am I encrypting somehow connected to the DB and does it have to be removed from the wp-config file during the migration?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to ensure you have a user on that new database with the correct information that you have in your wp-config for the most common cause for that issue.

      Admin

    • WPBeginner Support says

      The steps in this guide should still be able to assist you and we would recommend reaching out to the support for the demo you are importing and they can look into what could be the root of the problem you are running into.

      Admin

  5. Henrik R. says

    I need to change the password for the MySQL database for security reasons.
    Isn’t there a way to login to the WP dashboard and tell WP about the new password, instead of having to change the wp-config.php file?

  6. LN says

    First I would like to say thanks for this guide!
    I am having an issue “Error establishing a database connection“ I have checked the wp-config.php and all the database information is correct. I wanted to try step 4 in this guide but I don’t really understand how. I logged in to phpMyAdmin, but not sure what the next step is. Do you have a video for that? I am not a developer just a new WP beginner.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to go to your hosting provider’s dashboard or reach out to your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  7. Daniel says

    I almost have given up after having one issue after the other, till i read this. I had this feeling that “this is it” this is the solution I have been looking for. tried it and it worked perfectly, thanks a lot.

  8. Hrutik vijay kumthekar says

    I’m getting this error when entered the URL of my site:

    There has been a critical error on your website.

  9. jennifer mulder says

    I am getting this error
    Warning: mysqli_real_connect(): (HY000/2002): Connection refused in /home/f5853789/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1635
    Connection refused

    what do I do

    • WPBeginner Support says

      That is a different error, you would want to reach out to your hosting provider for assistance with that specific error.

      Admin

  10. Tejas Misra says

    I am a beginner to WordPress, and I am using MAMP to install WordPress but I’m still getting this error. My credentials are correct, and none of the steps shown above appeared to work. The database is repaired too. I don’t know what to do.

  11. sain says

    Hi, I have just moved my WordPress site to a new hosting provider via ftp when this error popped up. Is there anything I’m to update after a migration? Thanks

  12. KWS Adams says

    Adding this line “””define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);”” helped me get my site back after 14 hours of being down. Thought it was my hosts problem. Thanks for the info.

  13. Zubair Rahman says

    How to increase the connection limit in the MySQL database? My website is intermittently giving database error as it is exceeding the max connection limit allocated on the server.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would need to reach out to your hosting provider for changing that and they would be able to assist.

      Admin

  14. Nimra afridi says

    I have installed a wordpress . i also make post but sometime it shows me that ”please install wordpress”. Why it showing me that?
    Thank you.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      There are a few possible reasons, you may want to reach out to your hosting provider to ensure there are no hiccups on their end.

      Admin

  15. alex says

    my website is hosted on aws and i accessed the MYSQL folder via filezila but i couldn’t find the file that contains database username , password and hostname. is there any specific name of that file?

  16. Deborah N. says

    Thanks. Adding the repair code to my wp config file worked. I appreciate the article. It was straight forward and easy to follow.

  17. bloggeryanke says

    your article was helpful i had changed my database password so it wasnt connecting to my blog properly but all thanks to your article the issue has been fixed

  18. Joe Marzi says

    Thank you for sharing such a nice blog.
    It will help the beginners of WordPress who are facing the problem regarding Error Establishing in the database connection. Apart from that, It gives a step by step solution so, every reader can easily solve the problem.

  19. Irwin says

    I got this error after forcefully shutting my computer. After trying all these suggested methods and failing, I rebooted my computer and the database error was fixed.
    You should give it a try too if things go south.

  20. Nick Aninsley says

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. Actually, had installed WordPress, it shows me “Error Establishing A Database Connection” and I don’t know what to do. Then I have searched on Google and I found your this article and really it is
    very helpful for me and also many people who have no idea about this things. and my site were facing many other problems and only one of them has been solved. Thank for article.

  21. Emily says

    I can’t back up my site or do any of what you suggest, because I cannot get into the administrative section of my blog. I can view it, as a viewer, but I have no access to anything more. I also cannot find anyway to contact people from wordpress! Help!?!!

  22. Waqas Gulzar says

    Guys,

    I have fixed it now for my website

    It was due to insufficient PHP memory
    I have updated my php.ini to increase the PHP memory

  23. ken says

    I’m on BlueHost and just upgraded to WP 5.2 and got the dreaded error message:

    “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.”

    I tried with PHP 5.6, 7.0 & 7.1 – all give the same response. Any ideas what I can try? My site is completely blocked by the error.

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