How To Fix “wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory

Sep 1, 2023 | Web Development

If you’ve ever encountered the frustrating “wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory” message while trying to navigate through your WordPress site, fear not! This article is here to help you troubleshoot and resolve this issue. We’ll explore a range of possible solutions and provide step-by-step instructions to ensure that you can quickly get your website back up and running smoothly. Say goodbye to “Fatal Error Out Of Memory” and hello to hassle-free WordPress operations!

How To Fix wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory

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Common Causes of WordPress Fatal Error Out of Memory

WordPress websites can sometimes encounter a fatal error that occurs when the allocated memory is insufficient to handle the website’s demands. This can lead to the website crashing or displaying an error message. Several common causes contribute to this issue, including missing or incompatible PHP memory_limit settings, insufficient server memory, large plugins or themes, and inefficiently written code.

Missing or incompatible PHP memory_limit settings

The PHP memory_limit setting defines the maximum amount of memory that each PHP process can utilize. If this setting is missing or not configured properly, it can result in a fatal error out of memory. It is essential to ensure that the memory_limit in the PHP configuration is set sufficiently high to accommodate the website’s requirements.

Insufficient server memory

The server on which your WordPress website is hosted plays a crucial role in its performance. If the server does not have enough memory to handle the website’s requests, it can lead to fatal errors. It is vital to ensure that your hosting plan provides enough memory to avoid such issues. Upgrading your hosting plan can significantly improve your website’s performance and help prevent fatal errors.

Large plugins or themes

Some plugins and themes in WordPress can be resource-intensive, consuming significant memory. If you have installed plugins or themes that are large or poorly optimized, it can strain the memory capacity of your server. Deactivating or replacing such plugins or themes can assist in resolving fatal errors related to memory issues. It is advisable to carefully evaluate the size and performance of plugins or themes before installing them.

Inefficiently written code

Inefficiently written code can hog system resources and lead to memory-related fatal errors. If your WordPress website has custom code that is poorly optimized or contains memory leaks, it can put excessive strain on the server memory. Reviewing and optimizing your custom code can help resolve memory-related issues and enhance your website’s overall performance.

Identifying the Fatal Error

When encountering a fatal error out of memory, it is crucial to identify the root cause. By identifying the source of the issue, you can efficiently troubleshoot and resolve it. Several methods can help you pinpoint the exact cause of the fatal error.

Error messages

WordPress often displays error messages that provide valuable insights into the cause of fatal errors. When encountering a memory-related fatal error, carefully read the error message as it might indicate the specific plugin, theme, or code responsible for the issue. Note down the error message to refer to during the troubleshooting process.

Server logs

Server logs contain detailed information about the activities and errors occurring on your server. By examining the server logs, you can gain valuable insights into what triggered the fatal error. Look for error entries that correspond to the time of the error and gather information about the specific error code or message associated with the out of memory issue.

PHP error logs

PHP error logs capture errors that occur within PHP scripts. By accessing the PHP error logs, you can identify any memory-related errors that might be causing the fatal error. Look for entries indicating memory exhaustion or out of memory errors. These logs can provide useful information for troubleshooting and resolving the issue.


Enabling WP_DEBUG mode in your WordPress configuration can help you identify any errors or warnings generated by plugins, themes, or custom code. When WP_DEBUG mode is active, WordPress displays detailed error messages on your website, providing insights into the root cause of the fatal error. Analyzing these error messages can guide you towards the necessary steps to resolve the memory-related issue.

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Increasing PHP Memory Limit

Once you have identified that the fatal error out of memory is caused by insufficient PHP memory, you can increase the memory limit to prevent further occurrences. There are several methods you can use to increase the PHP memory limit.

Edit wp-config.php file

Locate the wp-config.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation. Open this file in a text editor and find the line that says “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.” Just above this line, insert the following code:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M'); 

This code increases the memory limit to 256 megabytes, but you can adjust the value as per your specific requirements. Save the changes and upload the modified wp-config.php file back to your server.

Edit .htaccess file

If you have access to the .htaccess file in the root directory of your WordPress installation, you can increase the PHP memory limit by adding the following code to it:

php_value memory_limit 256M 

Again, you can adjust the value as per your needs. Save the changes and upload the modified .htaccess file back to your server.

Edit php.ini file

If you have access to the php.ini file on your server, you can directly modify the PHP memory limit settings. Locate the php.ini file and open it in a text editor. Search for the line that begins with “memory_limit” and change its value to your desired memory limit, such as 256M. Save the changes to the php.ini file and restart your web server for the modifications to take effect.

Contact hosting provider

If you do not have direct access to modify the PHP memory limit settings, you can reach out to your hosting provider for assistance. They should be able to guide you on how to increase the PHP memory limit or make the necessary changes on your behalf. Hosting providers are experienced in managing server configurations and can assist you in resolving memory-related issues efficiently.

Optimizing Server Memory Usage

While increasing the PHP memory limit can alleviate memory-related fatal errors, optimizing your server’s memory usage can have a significant impact on your website’s performance and stability. Consider implementing the following techniques to optimize server memory usage.

Upgrade your hosting plan

If you consistently encounter out of memory errors, it may be time to upgrade your hosting plan to one that provides more resources. Moving to a higher-tier hosting plan can boost your server’s memory capacity, ensuring that your website has sufficient resources to handle its demands. Contact your hosting provider to discuss available options and choose a plan that best suits your requirements.

Contact hosting provider for assistance

If you are unsure about how to optimize your server’s memory usage, reach out to your hosting provider for guidance. They can analyze your server configuration and make specific recommendations to improve memory usage. Hosting providers often have experience in optimizing server resources and can assist you in resolving memory-related issues effectively.

Use a content delivery network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) can help offload some of the server’s memory-consuming tasks by distributing static resources, such as images and scripts, across a network of servers. This reduces the load on your server and improves overall performance. By utilizing a CDN, you can optimize your server memory usage and reduce the likelihood of encountering memory-related fatal errors.

Implement caching mechanisms

Caching mechanisms can significantly improve memory usage by storing frequently accessed data in temporary storage. WordPress offers various caching plugins that enable you to cache static content, database queries, and even entire pages. By implementing caching mechanisms, you can reduce the processing load on your server’s memory and enhance your website’s performance.

How To Fix wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory

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Identifying and Deactivating Large Plugins or Themes

Large plugins or themes can consume substantial memory, leading to memory-related fatal errors. Identifying these resource-intensive components and taking appropriate action can help resolve such issues.

Checking plugin or theme size

Before installing any plugin or theme, check its size to determine how much memory it may require. Larger plugins or themes tend to utilize more resources and can strain the memory capacity of your server. If possible, choose lightweight alternatives that offer similar functionality without consuming excessive memory.

Disabling plugins or themes

If you suspect that a specific plugin or theme is causing the memory-related fatal error, try disabling it temporarily and check if the issue persists. By selectively disabling plugins or themes, you can isolate the component responsible for the error. If the fatal error disappears after deactivating a plugin or theme, it indicates that the deactivated component was consuming excessive memory.

Using alternative plugins or themes

If you identify a plugin or theme as the cause of the memory-related fatal error, consider replacing it with an alternative that offers similar functionality. Look for plugins or themes that have been positively reviewed, optimized for performance, and are known to have a smaller memory footprint.

Updating plugins and themes

Outdated plugins or themes can have performance issues, including increased memory consumption. Ensure that you regularly update all plugins and themes to their latest versions. Developers often release updates that address memory leaks or improve resource usage. Keeping your plugins and themes up to date can help prevent memory-related fatal errors.

Optimizing Code Efficiency

Inefficiently written code can significantly impact server memory usage, leading to fatal errors. By optimizing your code and ensuring its efficiency, you can minimize memory consumption and enhance your website’s performance.

Reviewing custom code

If your WordPress website includes custom code, review it carefully to identify any potential inefficiencies. Look for areas where memory may be unnecessarily consumed or where optimization can be applied. Consider consulting with a developer or utilizing code profiling tools to analyze your custom code and identify any memory-related issues.

Using code profiling tools

Code profiling tools can assist in identifying memory-consuming sections of your WordPress website’s code. These tools provide detailed insights into memory usage, highlighting areas that may require optimization. By analyzing the results from code profiling tools, you can make informed decisions on how to improve code efficiency and reduce memory consumption.

Optimizing database queries

Inefficient database queries can consume unnecessary memory, leading to fatal errors. Review your WordPress website’s database queries and optimize them where possible. Consider utilizing indexed tables, optimizing queries with appropriate join conditions, and avoiding unnecessary data retrieval. Efficient database queries can significantly reduce memory consumption and enhance overall performance.

Minifying and compressing scripts

Minifying and compressing your website’s scripts can substantially reduce their memory footprint. Minification removes unnecessary characters, such as whitespace and comments, while compression reduces the file size. By applying these optimizations to your scripts, you can minimize memory usage and improve the overall speed and performance of your WordPress website.

How To Fix wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory

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Using Debugging Tools

When encountering memory-related fatal errors, enabling and utilizing debugging tools can aid in identifying and resolving the root cause.

Activating WP_DEBUG mode

WP_DEBUG mode is a built-in debugging feature in WordPress that displays detailed error messages. By enabling WP_DEBUG mode in your WordPress configuration, you can gain insights into plugin, theme, or code-related errors triggering the fatal error. WP_DEBUG mode can help pinpoint the specific component responsible for the memory-related issue and guide you towards resolving it.

Analyzing error logs

Logs provide valuable information about the occurrence of fatal errors. Analyzing the error logs can help identify repetitive errors, patterns, or specific plugins/themes that are causing memory-related fatal errors. Analyzing these logs can give you important clues to resolve the issue and optimize memory usage.

Using debugging plugins

WordPress offers various debugging plugins that can help identify and resolve memory-related fatal errors. These plugins provide detailed reports on memory usage, performance bottlenecks, and potential memory leaks. By utilizing debugging plugins, you can proactively identify and resolve memory-related issues before they result in fatal errors.

Configuring Caching Mechanisms

Caching mechanisms serve as effective tools in optimizing memory usage and improving your website’s response times. Proper configuration of caching mechanisms can significantly reduce the likelihood of memory-related fatal errors.

Installing a caching plugin

WordPress offers an array of caching plugins that can be easily installed and configured. These plugins enable you to cache static assets, database queries, and even entire pages. By installing a caching plugin that is compatible with your WordPress version, you can benefit from improved memory usage and enhanced performance.

Configuring caching options

Once you have installed a caching plugin, configure its caching options according to your website’s requirements. Determine which components should be cached, such as CSS, JavaScript, and database queries. Tailor the caching settings to your specific needs to strike a balance between memory usage and website performance.

Enabling browser caching

Enabling browser caching instructs user browsers to store static assets locally, reducing the need to fetch them repeatedly from the server. By configuring your caching plugin to leverage browser caching, you can reduce the server’s memory load and improve the overall user experience.

Utilizing object caching

Object caching caches database queries and other server-generated responses, reducing the need to recreate them for each request. By utilizing an object caching mechanism, such as a Memcached or Redis server, you can optimize memory usage and enhance your website’s performance. Configure your caching plugin to utilize object caching and fine-tune the settings to best suit your server’s memory capacity.

How To Fix wordpress Fatal Error Out Of Memory

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Applying Memory-Saving Techniques

In addition to optimizing server memory, plugins, and code, implementing memory-saving techniques can significantly improve your WordPress website’s performance and stability.

Optimizing image sizes

Images contribute to substantial memory consumption, especially if they are not appropriately optimized. Before uploading images to your WordPress website, resize and compress them to fit within the necessary dimensions. Additionally, consider using modern image formats, such as WebP, that offer superior compression without sacrificing image quality. By optimizing image sizes, you can reduce memory usage and improve page load times.

Lazy loading images

Lazy loading delays the loading of images until they are visible within the viewport, conserving memory and improving page speed. By implementing lazy loading techniques in your WordPress website, you can reduce the immediate memory load and improve overall performance. Numerous plugins are available that can easily enable lazy loading functionality.

Limiting post revisions

WordPress automatically saves revisions of your posts, which can consume valuable memory resources. Limiting the number of post revisions stored reduces the memory footprint. You can control the number of revisions saved by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file:

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3); 

Adjust the number to your desired limit, typically between 2 and 5 revisions, to optimize memory usage.

Using excerpts instead of full content

Displaying full content on archive pages and search results pages can increase memory consumption, especially if your website has a large number of posts. By utilizing excerpts instead of full content, you can reduce the memory load on your server. Configure your WordPress theme to display excerpts in these contexts to optimize memory usage.

Consulting with Experts

If you have exhausted all troubleshooting steps and are still encountering fatal errors out of memory, it may be beneficial to consult with experts who specialize in WordPress.

WordPress support forums

WordPress support forums provide a platform for users to seek assistance from the community. Post a detailed description of your memory-related fatal error and the steps you have taken so far. WordPress experts and experienced users can propose solutions, suggest additional troubleshooting steps, or provide guidance on next steps.

Hiring a WordPress developer

If your memory-related fatal error persists and you are unable to resolve it yourself, consider hiring a WordPress developer. A skilled developer can analyze your website’s code, plugins, and themes to identify and resolve memory-related issues. They can optimize your WordPress installation and assist in implementing best practices to prevent future fatal errors.

Seeking assistance from a managed WordPress hosting provider

Managed WordPress hosting providers specialize in troubleshooting and resolving issues specific to WordPress websites. If you are experiencing memory-related fatal errors, reaching out to a managed WordPress hosting provider can provide expert assistance. They can analyze your server configuration, optimize memory usage, and suggest specific actions to resolve the issue.

Considering a code review

If you suspect that inefficient custom code is causing memory-related fatal errors, consider seeking a professional code review. Code reviews involve experienced developers auditing your WordPress website’s codebase for potential issues, including memory leaks, inefficient code, and suboptimal practices. Based on the code review findings, you can take appropriate steps to optimize and enhance your code, preventing memory-related fatal errors.

In conclusion, encountering a fatal error out of memory in WordPress can be frustrating, but with proper troubleshooting and optimization techniques, it can be resolved. By addressing common causes such as missing or incompatible PHP memory_limit settings, insufficient server memory, large plugins or themes, and inefficiently written code, you can mitigate the occurrence of memory-related fatal errors. Applying strategies to identify the root cause, increasing PHP memory limit, optimizing server memory usage, identifying and deactivating resource-intensive plugins or themes, optimizing code efficiency, using debugging tools, configuring caching mechanisms, applying memory-saving techniques, and seeking expert assistance when needed, will help ensure your WordPress website runs smoothly and efficiently without encountering fatal errors out of memory.

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