WordPress Custom Database Error Pages

WordPress Custom Error PageIf you’re running WordPress 2.3.2 or later, there is a new feature that allows you to to specify an error page for those times when your Database is not available. This often happens when there is a huge spike of traffic from Digg or some other social networking site, and it leaves visitors staring at an ugly WordPress database error message.

Well, no error page will take the place of having your actual site online, but you can at least try to make things a little better for your visitors, and I thought one way would be to give em’ a few videos to check out while the server was unavailable.

If you are running WordPress and want to create your own custom DB error page, here is all you need to do:

  1. Download this text file: db-error.txt
  2. Rename the document to db-error.php.
  3. Finally, FTP it to your server and place it directly in the /wp-content/ directory.

That’s it! Of course, if you know HTML you can feel free to modify it. I would suggest perhaps providing links to your MySpace, LinkedIn or other Web pages so that you can re-route your traffic to your other sites during an outage.

Now, if you want to see a sample of what you just created, you can check it out here: http://onemansblog.com/wp-content/db-error.php

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  1. Custom WordPress database error pages - Joost de Valk's SEO Blog

    [...] Quite a few blogs have already discussed this feature, and they all forgot one thing (that is not properly documented anywhere, so you can’t really blame them): their error pages don’t give an HTTP 500 Internal Server Error header, but a normal “200 OK” header. If you do nothing, the default WordPress error page does give an error 500, but the db-error.php page doesn’t. This means that should your database fail, and someone would open your front page at example.com, he would be served that error page with a 200 OK header. If that someone were a search engine, that’s what it would index… If the search engine encounters a 500 error, it will not index that page and just wait for your server to be fixed again. That means not making sure it sends a 500 header is a huge risk. [...]

  2. Ryan Williams

    Any idea if you can do something about similar errors like the comment posting error? For an example, simply try spamming a WordPress blog with comments (maybe this one). ;)

  3. Derek Wong

    Oh pretty interesting, I’ll have to do one of these. I just recently had that page come up when my database went down. I did think that it was pretty ugly but considering that I hardly see it, I didn’t think to modify it. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Steve Elliott

    Has anyone here managed to hit the mystical front page of Digg? What effect does it have on traffic – are we talking about a few hundred extra visitiors….or is it on a bigger scale than that?

    If large scale, then no doubt there will be people who try to exploit it and spoil the content, a bit like stumbles.

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