I get WordPress errors like "Error establishing database connection" and "Currently unable to handle this request." Do I need to resize?

Posted May 20, 2019 550 views
WordPressUbuntu 18.04

Every now and then, while working in my WordPress dashboard, I will get an “Error establishing database connection” (at which point I have to reboot my droplet) or “Page isn’t working. Currently unable to handle this request.” This usually happens when I’m doing something like running a virus scan or editing a bunch of posts at once (by opening them all up in separate tabs and updating them simultaneously since doing them one by one is too slow). Does this mean I need to resize my kernel? I’m currently running on the $5/mo plan with 1GB of memory. I’m about to open an ecommerce store and I’m worried that the site will go down while customers are shopping.

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There are two possible culprits, one is that you are running out of max connections to the DB, but it seems unlikely because you highlighted just opening a couple of tabs can sometimes cause the problem.

The second issue which is more likely is that you maybe running out of resources. Depending on what plugins you have installed in Wordpress and how you are using them it can take up a lot of memory and resources, especially if you are running a long lasting process in parallel.

What you can do is login to your droplet while you are performing these various actions and check the output of the “top” command to see how your CPU and memory usage is performing.

Normally we would recommend using something larger than a $5 droplet for Wordpress only because it can be very CPU and memory intensive.