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How to Fix the Error Establishing a Database Connection in WordPress

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

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

667 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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    • Mark Larson says

      You’re so helpful! All my writing was saved! Yes, I need to do a backup… I did one! Thanks so much, this is just the resource I needed. Luckily Google pulled it right up.

  2. Michael Simoni says

    I have a test wordpress installation on my home computer running on fedora. I moved/reinstalled the computer with a recent copy of fedora. I restored the database and the wordpress installation. Everything should have been fine except I had the “cannot connect to the database” error. I have had this wordpress installation for a long time. Turns out that when I moved to the new server I also got a new my.cnf. Now I checked it and made everything the same but for some reason i did not add the following line in /etc/my.cnf. Maybe i just wanted to see what would happen. hmmm…what does this button do…..
    # Default to using old password format for compatibility with mysql 3.x
    # clients (those using the mysqlclient10 compatibility package).
    old_passwords=1
    After I added that line, the database connection problem was fixed.
    So I need to drop that user and recreate it with the new password format.
    Note I also have
    skip-networking
    in /etc/my.cnf and….it works. That keeps mysql off the network, including 127.0.0.1. It’s just one less entry point for the mischief-makers.

  3. Matt says

    I had a database-connection-error on a client’s site and could access the database via PHPMyAdmin but running the testconnect.php file suggested above came up with a response unlisted in this article:

    “PHP Warning: mysql_connect(): No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it.”

    I got in touch with Fasthosts who my clients were with and it turned out that they had issues integrating PHP5.4 “and the only fix is to reset the MySQL database user password.”

    So if you’re in that boat, then you may be able to fix it by accessing the database via PHPMyAdmin and running the query:

    SET SESSION old_passwords = 0;
    SET PASSWORD = PASSWORD(‘databasepasswordgoeshere’);

    !! IMPORTANT NOTE !! : make sure you get ‘databasepasswordgoeshere’ correct otherwise you’ll be resetting your db password to something new rather than the same password and it could break your site even further!

  4. Terry says

    I must be really dumb! i understand a little of wordpress but this all sounds way out of my leage.

    I have tried to do exactly what you have said and this is what I get

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /customers/8/a/3/chigwelltkd.com/httpd.www/wordpress/wp-config.php:2) in /customers/8/a/3/chigwelltkd.com/httpd.www/wordpress/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2801
    Error establishing a database connection.

    I have no idea what to do next!!!

    Not only have i lost the site from the web but I know cannot get in to wordpress admin.

    IS THERE ANY HOPE!!!!!

  5. Rowan Weismiller says

    Thanks so much for writing this post, it saved me quite a bit of time and a lot of headaches. Cheers!

  6. SH says

    Solved my issue in less than 10mins cause of this article
    YOUR ARE DOPE…you mean business

    Thanks a mil!!!

  7. Sumi Ghosh says

    Hi,

    Recently i uploaded a theme to the wordpress site, i have also uploaded the local database. I have modified my wp-config file too. Still i am getting error database connection error. When i opened my wp-admin it redirecting to wp-login.

    Can i know what might be the problem?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We think its normal behavior for wordpress to redirect you to wp-login.php when you try to access wp-admin directory. Can you please explain further? have you checked your wp-config.php file? does it have your live site’s database information?

      Admin

  8. Aliesha says

    I had 4 sites give a 127.0.0.1 “Cannot connect to server” message & I also had no access to admin. I went through troubleshooting, & nothing helped. So, I contacted my web-hosting service, Bluehost, to inquire whether the MySQL server was responsive. The tech told me to login to my control panel’s File Manager, select “Show hidden files,” and then to go inside my root directory for each domain & rename my .htaccess file to .htaccess.old . He said he guessed that a plugin added code to my .htaccess file, causing my wp-admin to redirect to an IP address. It worked. :)

  9. Erik de Vries says

    Just got this error on my own website. wp-config.php was allright. PhpMyAdmin could load the database. When trying to open the wp_options table PhpMyAdmin said the table must be repaired. Using the repair function in PhpMyAdmin fixed the table, reporting one row had been removed (not saying which one). No clue as to what caused this.
    Thanks for the article, helped me debug the error.

  10. Ben says

    Just got this problem, checked db through host cPanel and admin user seems to have been removed from database assuming that is why wp cannot connect. Problem is my ftp also seems to have been knocked out so i am unable to apply any solutions! sub-domain seems to still be working. It’s difficult to imagine this as being anything other than malicious!

  11. Zimbrul says

    I just got this problem with one of my sites and fixing the database from wp-config.php did not work. I fixed it by upgrading to WordPress 3.6.1 in cPanel (Softaculous).

  12. Ike says

    Today, for some reason my site is facing the database connection issue.
    • Confirmed my database access is working via testconnection.php.
    • Changed the salt keys with new ones.
    • Defined the proper site URLs to ‘WP_HOME’ and ‘WP_SITEURL’
    • No issue with server slowness as my other websites in other root directories are working.

    I’m guessing it may be a plugin recently added?
    How do you properly uninstall a plugin if you can’t pull up both wordpress root and wp-admin directories in the browser?

    Thanks in advanced.

  13. Anudeep says

    Thanks a lot for such a good article!
    My problem was a bit different. I had this issue because of ‘clicky analytics’ plugin.
    I almost went mad as i didnt have any idea of what the problem could be. Finally after lot of trial and error i figured out that it was a plugin interference.

  14. Naman Agrawal says

    Huh! sir you deserve an award.
    It just worked for me. I was having this problem from last one month and you just served with this.
    Thank you very much :)

  15. Roeland Sanctorum says

    Problem occured when requesting new password and didn’t realise this was going to create a db problem. Fortunately I found your comments and guidelines. Problem solved in 3 minutes.
    Thanks again (now I’ve subscribed to your weekly email)

  16. Tamela says

    My problem happened when I moved the site to a new hosting. I’d altered the config file to match my new database, username & password. But nothing worked.

    Your tip about checking the WP-admin page did the trick. It told me something was wrong with the username. I went into c-panel and realized I hadn’t tied the user to the database. Two seconds later, all was good!

    You potentially saved me hours of testing the wrong things! Thanks!

  17. Stu Farrimond says

    I want to give you a big kiss.

    VERY useful.

    However, my issue seemed a little odd – and it might help someone else:

    This morning our domain produced error:

    Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 41943040 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 30720 bytes) in /home/gurumaga/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-list-table.php on line 384

    I tried to increase PHP memory allocation.

    Added to wp-settings (in root folder):
    define(‘WP_MAX_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);
    resulted in:
    ‘Error establishing a database connection’

    Removed line and added lower limit:
    define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);
    resulted in:
    ‘Error establishing a database connection’

    Removed all changes in wp-settings.php now as original.
    ‘Error establishing a database connection’ persisted (for 5 – 10 mins)

    Before reverting to the original error:
    Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 41943040 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 30720 bytes) in /home/gurumaga/public_html/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-list-table.php on line 384

    I increased the PHP memory limit to: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’); again
    Then ran the database repair as you advised.

    Although no database errors were identified, the site is now back up and running.

    Odd – I’m not sure if you or anyone else can make sense of it??

  18. Michael says

    Embarrassed… I tried everything in this blog and was double checking everything…
    It never occurred to me that I’d typo’ed when entering the password.

    Doh! So, here’s a +! for double checking the basics ;)

  19. Shaqinah says

    Hi, I made the mistake of changing the home url, initially it was http://shaneynayguns.com/wordpress and the site url was: http://shaneynayguns.com/wordpress too. I then changed the site url to http://shaneynayguns.com (thinking that that will make my site go live, as you can tell I’m an absolute idiot at this). Nothing happened, so genius here, changed the home url to shaneynayguns.com. That’s when things start to go awry: I couldn’t log in to wp-admin anymore and going to .com/wordpress redirects me to an error page. (shaneynayguns.com remain unchanged and directs to a landing page) I then went on to a forum and followed the exact instructions which were:
    1. go to phpmyadmin
    2. go to the correct database
    3. browse wp_option
    4. edit site url (I changed it to .com/wordpress)
    Apparently based on everyone’s comments, it worked for all of them… except me! shaneynayguns.com/wordpress now redirects to a page with “error establishing a database connection”! It’s driving me mental! I was hoping if any of you could help me with this. As is obvious, I have not a clue when it comes to web jargon so I would really appreciate a simplified solution. Yes I’m an idiot, and I terribly need help! (F.Y.I: I host on godaddy)
    Thanks in advance!

      • Anderson Tagata says

        Hey, this worked for me. My wordpress website is on Godaddy and i was trying to put inside of subdirectory. now it works. Just after this, show up some database upgrade screen then everything is fine. also, i took out these defines above and still working. thanks.

  20. Zac says

    Thanks heaps for your info guide, helped me fix my problem.
    To let you know my resolve, I could not see a typo in the wp-config.php but decided to delete my Database and linked Username. I then created new ones and manually updated the new data into the wp-config and boom straight in. One thing to note is the database and username were originally the same name, so not sure if that was an issue as its a new site.

  21. Seth says

    My website is down and I keep getting “Error establishing database connection” message.
    I checked my WP-Config.php page and it looks fine on the inside, but when I preview it, the page says this

    Warning: require_once(reddoorplayhouse.com/open/wp-settings.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /hermes/waloraweb096/b619/moo.reddoor1/wp-config.php on line 95

    Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required ‘reddoorplayhouse.com/open/wp-settings.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/local/lib/php-5.2.17/lib/php’) in /hermes/waloraweb096/b619/moo.reddoor1/wp-config.php on line 95

    What does that mean. And what can I do? Thanks for your help.

  22. Michael Tidwell says

    This is a frustrating problem that has been happening multiple times to a few of my sites over the past few weeks. I can fix it easily enough by replacing the Unique Keys and Salts in my wp-config.php file (grabbing new ones at: https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt), but then days later I have to replace them again… so while I can fix the symptom, I’m still trying to determine why this keeps happening at http://brioagency.com

  23. Andrew Stark says

    Hi

    Just thought I’d thank you for helping me fix a site.

    Changing localhost to the database IP address fixed my issue.

    Thanks

    Andrew

  24. Madhurie Singh says

    I had made copies of the files and saved them on the server.

    So when today the database connection error occured, I relaized, I had changed user, , pwd, database access but nothing worked.

    So renamed the current wp-config.php as wp-configold.php
    and copied the wp-config.php from the archive and pasted as wp-config.php.

    Voila it works.

  25. Michael Stelly says

    Forgot that the database is “local” to the application. I used the site URL by mistake. Switched DB_HOST to ‘localhost’ and all is golden.

    Thanks for the blog! +1

  26. Ben says

    You know sometimes you just find the perfect resource and it answers all your questions. I tip people for pouring me a cup of coffee. I wish it was super easy to just put a buck or two in the wpbeginner tip jar right now, but I guess a thanks will have to do.

    • Editorial Staff says

      Thanks Ben. Its always our pleasure to help. The best way to thank us is by spreading kind words about our site or by simply sharing this article on twitter, facebook, etc :)

      Admin

  27. jAMIE says

    WP Beginner is just awesome & so is Syed! I don’t know how many times my search results have let me to your site and each time, I’ve learned something really helpful, useful, & practical.

    This time, with my database connection error issue, I just had to clear my browser’s cache. FML Anyways, that was the advice that I got after contacting my host. It seems to have worked & hopefully that’s all it takes! How to prevent it from happening again is above me.

  28. Mibo says

    All I have to say: “THANK YOU!” :-) your post fixed my issues and spared me a couple of hours of work.

  29. Fre says

    For me the issue was solved by properly setting “siteurl” and “home” in wp_options table did the trick for me, I could log into my admin and change everything!

    One day I’ll buy you a cookie!!

  30. Julie Anderson says

    I have a big problem… i did not set the site up and do not have axxess to the php or any files. i was trying to add pages and the next time i visited the site there was the error. Do i need to get to the admin initiator etc, is there no other way into the site?

  31. Stephen Doxsee says

    I get this error intermittently. Perhaps I don’t have enough resources on my amazon ec2 free tier instance. I’ve had the problem 3 times in the last week but have been able to solve it each time by restarting the database server.
    Thanks for the post

    • Mana says

      Thank you so much, Udumbuke. This was exactly the step I forgot in moving my site to a new host. I’m so glad I can stop headaching over this! And great guide altogether on this site.

  32. Joyce Keller says

    This error happened to me because I wanted to back up my database and could not remember the password. I changed the password in GoDaddy – but this didn’t change it in the wp-config.php! Once I changed it in wp-config, everything worked okay again.

    THANK YOU FOR SUCH A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION!!! And a truly useful site. Kudos!

  33. JD says

    In step review of wp-config.php you have to consider the user name and password that is there in the file, the user may not exist in the database (mysql), the password has changed so check if there is the user. In case the user does not exist in the database create it, assign the password found in wp-config.php and provide permits for administration of the database (DBA).

    This happened to me to restore my wordpress.

    • Oliver Wieland says

      Thanks dude! Restored my database and all i needed to do then was reassign the correct user with the correct database in cpanel.

  34. Pat Walsh says

    Hi guys, thanks for this info.
    Helped me to fix a problem with a WordPress site I created.
    It had been happily running for over a month when it started having the “Error Establishing a Database Connection” error.

    Finally fixed it by changing DB_HOST to use the full host name rather than the ‘localhost’ that had been in there before.

    I don’t know why it worked initially and then stopped working. But its working now…
    Cheers,
    Pat Walsh

    • Forma says

      Having the same connection to DB problem, and after reading comments, I decided to change the wp.config file refrence to my actual host to localhost and for some reason that fixed it. So my solution was the opposite to the one above. Just a shot in the dark…

  35. arman says

    it is indeed helpful for me as i m facing this problem currently… thanks for this great article..

  36. Arifur Rahman says

    I’m getting this issue temporary at my site just for few seconds.
    how can I be free from this?
    Please help!

      • Arifur Rahman says

        Thank you,
        I already upgrade my hosting plan from basic to Pro.
        But still same as before.
        I using Adminimize, AG Custom Admin, Akismet, BuddyPress Template Pack, Display widgets, Fast Secure Contact Form, Google XML Sitemaps, Jetpack by WordPress.com, Page Views Count, Polldaddy Polls & Ratings, User Switching, Better WP Security, BuddyPress, Hotfix, W3 Total Cache, wordPress Importer and WordPress SEO.
        Which one is making problem??
        Have you any Idea?

  37. Eduardo Capanema says

    If you have all the info in the config file correct and is still having the problem, check to see if you have any spam prevention plugin active such as Fail2Ban. I found that it was causing the database problem. I believe it happens cause when you’re editing the wordpress via wp-admin, you make too many sequence requests to the apache it triggers the Fail2Ban service for www-data user. Try uninstalling Fail2Ban or any other spam controller. Then, restart both mysql server and apache to get hid of the Error message.

    I hope this helps.
    b

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