Monday, January 19, 2009

Poor message for WordPress database overload - "Error establishing a database connection"

I clicked on a story headline in Google News and after a pause got a white page with the following message:


Error establishing a database connection

This either means that the username and password information in your wp-config.php file is incorrect or we can't contact the database server at localhost. This could mean your host's database server is down.

  • Are you sure you have the correct username and password?
  • Are you sure that you have typed the correct hostname?
  • Are you sure that the database server is running?

If you're unsure what these terms mean you should probably contact your host. If you still need help you can always visit the WordPress Support Forums.

None of that information was helpful in any way (user name, password, hostname) and did not clue me in as to the likely problem: the database server was probably simply overloaded due to the volume of traffic coming from Google News and that the best response is simply to keep hitting Refresh. Hitting Refresh eventually displayed the actual news story (sixth time?), but usually displayed the error message again.

The link to the story, Peanut Butter Salmonella Recalls Include Little Debbie Snacks, is

The displayed link in Google News was:

Peanut Butter Salmonella Recalls Include Little Debbie Snacks - 45 minutes ago - all 4,333 articles ยป

In case you cannot access the story, here is the first paragraph:

Little Debbie snacks are the latest peanut butter-containing foods to be recalled  amid a nationwide salmonella outbreak.  The outbreak has been linked to a Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facility in Georgia which supplies peanut paste and peanut butter to 85 other food firms.  Little Debbie joined a growing list of companies that recalled snacks over the weekend.  Meanwhile, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid eating any foods that contain peanut butter.

Now, I'll get back to eating my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups before Homeland Security gets here and breaks down my door and confiscates them. I am assuming that Salmonella is already on the list of global terrorist organizations. To date, all attempts to negotiate with Salmonella have proven fruitless.

-- Jack Krupansky


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