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40 Common WordPress Errors and How to Fix Them (2021)

Last Updated on May 14th, 2021

Published on March 26th, 2013

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Need a simple and effective fix to common WordPress errors?

You’ve launched your website, and everything is going great. Suddenly, one of your subscribers emails you: “The site crashed. What’s wrong with your website?”

Horrified, you navigate to your site only to find a WordPress error message.

Why is my WordPress not working?

Why does my WordPress site keep crashing?

How do I fix WordPress errors?

Troubleshoot WordPress Errors with Easy Fixes That Work

Although you may be wondering is WordPress down right now, I’ll assure you that with a couple quick fixes, you can solve your WordPress problems and get your site up and running again. Keep reading to learn more about common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

1. Error Establishing a Database Connection

A database stores the essential information used by a website to perform its functions, such as storing user profiles, media files, and webpages. However, if the database has an error during runtime, then this information may become unavailable, leading to errors, such as the Error Establshing a Database Connection error.

Possible error sources may include:

  • Syntax errors in the database code
  • Insertion of unrecognizable/uncompilable characters
  • Modifying administration-level database credentials incorrectly

 To resolve this error, you should take the following steps:

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  1. Double check that access credentials are entered correctly in the wp-config.php file
  2. Ensure that the database has no compilation errors
  3. Make sure that the database has no runtime errors

If steps 1-3 do not resolve the problem, then revert the database back to a previous version which worked without errors and update it step-by-step until the source of the WordPress problem is identified.

2. WordPress Database Is Corrupt

In this error, the database can no longer compile or run. Essentially, the server is unable to access or use the information in the database to display your website and/or service user requests.

This issue can be caused by injection of bad code into the database or by a compatibility issue between the server and the database.

Here are some ways to address this issue:

  1. Revert the database back to a previous version without the problem
  2. Fix the error by modifying the wp-config.php file to include “WP_ALLOW_REPAIR, true”
  3. Troubleshoot the error by installing a WordPress database plugin

3. WordPress Login Page Refreshing and Redirecting Issue

WordPress errors - Login Page Refreshing and Redirecting Issue

One of the most frustrating problems with WordPress that you can experience as a user is the login page refreshing and redirecting issue. Every time you enter your credentials, instead of being allowed into your account, the login page refreshes, asking you to re-enter your credentials again – an infinite loop.

This error is usually caused by:

  • Incorrect site or home page URLs
  • Errors in permalink settings
  • Incorrect redirects set-up in the .htaccess file

To resolve this issue, try these steps:

  1. check your site and home page URLs and permalink settings to ensure that they are correct
  2. review the redirect instructions in your .htaccess file
  3. cross reference your URLs and permalinks against what is shown in the .htaccess file to ensure that everything matches up.

4. Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance Error in WordPress

Performing maintenance updates is essential for WordPress websites to function properly. However, when your site is in maintenance mode, your users will be unable to access or use your site. If the update is interrupted (e.g., by a server crash), then your site may remain in maintenance mode indefinitely.

To resolve this issue:

  1. access the root folder of your website via SFTP
  2. delete the .maintenance file

Removing the file will bring your website out of maintenance mode. Don’t forget to manually update your site later on to avoid this issue resurfacing.

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5. Upload: Failed to Write File to Disk Error in WordPress

The upload failed to write file to disk error occurs when your server can’t write an uploaded file to memory (e.g., in a database). For example, the server may be unable to store an uploaded image in the WordPress media library.

Common causes of this error include:

  • insufficient write permissions for the server
  • lack of memory available for storing the file
  • the file or database is corrupted

To address this issue, try:

  1. Checking the server write permissions for the destination folder
  2. Verifying that you have sufficient memory on the disk or in your account
  3. Using WordPress troubleshooting to address any compiler or runtime errors

6. Mixed Content Error in WordPress

HTTPS is a breakthrough for online security, providing an additional layer of data protection for your site visitors. But, what happens when some pages and resources for your site are loaded only under a HTTP URL?

The Mixed Content Error!

This can affect your SEO rankings and turn off site visitors.

To remove the error:

  • identify which pages and resources are loading under the HTTP URL
  • Update these files to load under the HTTPS URL

You can fix this manually or install a plugin to help you out.

7. White Screen of Death

A blank, white screen now fills the space that your once colorful, interactive website used to cover. The gripping white silence describes the White Screen of Death WordPress error.

This error can occur for a variety of reasons:

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  • A faulty plugin
  • Old files in your cache
  • Insufficient memory

To troubleshoot, try to:

  1. Disable all non-essential applications such as plugins and your theme
  2. Turn on the WordPress debugging mode to start piecing together what happened
  3. Empty your cache to eliminate any old, corrupted files
  4. Increase your site memory

Don’t forget to reach out to your hosting provide for extra help, if needed.

8. 404 Error

The 404 error shows up when your site’s hyperlink structure is breaking down. Ever tried to load a page on your browser, just to find out that is wasn’t available? That’s the 404!

404 errors can occur if:

  • A page or resource is removed or deleted but links to it are still present
  • The resource never existed
  • The page is present, but the redirect link is malfunctioning

Quick solutions to these WordPress issues include:

  1. Re-uploading the page or resource
  2. Updating the hyperlink structure in the .htaccess file
  3. Emptying your cache and re-uploading the .htaccess file

9. Connection Timed Out Error

Ever had a surge in traffic to your site? Enjoying the popularity?

Well, before you get too excited, make sure that your servers are ready to handle all of the extra work. Otherwise, you site may be plagued with the infamous Connection Timed Out Error.

This error can happen when:

  • Another site on a shared hosting plan uses up too much server resources
  • Your host’s servers are down
  • Your servers can’t keep up with all of the site traffic

The answer:

  1. Increase your allocated memory
  2. Upgrade your hosting plan
  3. Move to a dedicated hosting solution

10. You’re Unable to Upload Images

Common WordPress Error - Unable to upload images

Your media library is a repository of the core visual resources which bring your site to life. But what happens if you can’t upload images there? Your site will need a face lift before long!

This can happen more often then you may realize. Any of the following can re-write your file permissions blocking your image uploads:

  • A plugin
  • Injected malicious code
  • Runtime errors

To solve the problem:

  • Hop onto your SFTP
  • Navigate to the wp-content directory
  • Right-click and select File Permissions
  • Update the value to 744 to give your server write permission

11. Unable to Access the Admin Area

Do you want to upload your next post, but can’t get on your site admin page? Being locked out of your dashboard is no fun and can throw a wrench into your site building plans.

Luckily, this WordPress problem is usually easy to diagnose. Either:

  • You forgot your login password
  • Your login password doesn’t work anymore
  • The password reset link isn’t working

If any of these sound like the problem, try these simple steps:

  1. Try the “Lost Password” option
  2. If step 1 doesn’t work, then login to your hosting control panel
  3. Navigate to your website and open phpMyAdmin
  4. Update the password information in the user table (e.g., wp_users) and login to your site

12. WordPress Failed to Auto-Update

Automatic updates are the dream. You can focus on content creation, while your backend code keeps everything running smoothly. But, if you notice that your site isn’t auto-updating, don’t wait for the White Screen of Death error to take action.

Once you receive warning messages, jump on your dashboard and update your website. If this doesn’t work, then manually update your site by:

  1. Downloading the most receive WordPress software version
  2. Logging in to SFTP
  3. Uploading the upgrade to your site

13. 400 Bad Request

Client errors often trigger 400 Bad Request errors. Essentially, your server has no idea what the user’s client application wants and provides an unspecific error to say that it can’t fulfill the request.

That’s where you come in as the site admin. These errors usually show up when there is:

  • A mistake in the URL
  • A browser error
  • Domain Name System mix-ups
  • File uploads are too big

To resolve this, check that:

  1. The URLs are correct and include only alphanumeric characters
  2. All caches have been cleared
  3. Your website is up to date

Once you’ve done all of this, then any remaining WordPress problems are likely caused by an error in the user’s browser. Ask them update it to get things fixed.

14. 504 Gateway Timeout

Your gateway is your lifeline for sending and receiving information from the internet. Proceed with caution when adding extra layers of complexity. The 504 Gateway Timeout shows up when there is a timing mismatch between your web server and a proxy server (i.e., a middle-man that helps you exchange data with an end client).

This can occur when:

  • There are time zone discrepancies between the servers
  • There are update compatibility issues
  • One or both servers are overloaded or is experiencing downtime

To solve these issues, try this WordPress fix:

  1. Update your web server and proxy server
  2. Check that both servers have sufficient memory bandwidth and bandwidth is not being hogged by others
  3. Ensure that your web server and proxy server are compatible
  4. Reach out to both your hosting provider and your proxy server provider to see if they can help you further in addressing this issue.

15. Secure Connection Error

Updating your website is essential to ensure that web content remains available to your site users and visitors. To update your site, your site will need to access WordPress.org. If this doesn’t happen, then you’re dead in the water!

What to do?

  1. Wait for a few hours and try again
  2. Use SSH to point your web server to WordPress.org
  3. Use SFTP to manually update your website

If all else fails, you can always contact your hosting provider for assistance in updating your site.

16. Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted for Security Reasons

Files are incredible things. They store information that is vital to the operation of computer systems. But, files can also be used to take over a website or inject malicious code into your site to compromise sensitive information.

To thwart these attempts, WordPress limits the file types which may be uploaded to a site. Typically, uploading executable files (e.g., *.exe files) is not permitted as they can be used for exploits, code injection, and other malicious operations.

As the administrator, you can choose what file types to allow to be uploaded to your site. To view and modify these permissions, take these simple steps:

  • Access wp-config.php
  • Add or remove allowed file types from the default settings
  • Empty your caches to propagate these changes on your website

17. Installation Failed: Could Not Create Directory

Core installation files are the life blood of your website. If these don’t get installed, then everything quickly grinds to a halt. Installation Failed: Could Not Create Directory is just one embodiment of this failure.

Installations fail when:

  • Your server lacks necessary write privileges
  • Installation files are missing
  • The server is running out of memory

To solve this problem:

  1. Check that the server has write privileges for the wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes directories
  2. Make sure that the installation files are complete
  3. Increase the website’s memory bandwidth

18. Error SSL Version or Cipher Mismatch (ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH)

SSL provides a critical security layer to your website, encrypting data and providing a secure transmission pathway for users to send and access sensitive information on your website. Any breakdown in this pathway can degrade the user experience and make user data vulnerable to interception and thief.

The ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH is an early stage warning that indicates that something might be going wrong with your site security. For example:

  • Your SSL certificate may be out of date
  • Your SSL certificate may have the wrong website name
  • Your SSL certificate may be corrupted

To debug this issue, try:

  1. Updating your SSL certificate
  2. Checking for a name mismatch
  3. Clearing your SSL slate

19. 500 Internal Server Error

One of the most confusing WordPress errors that you can experience is the 500 Internal Server Error. Here, you know that the problem is with the server, but you have no idea what is going wrong!

The problem could stem from any of:

  • Insufficient access permissions
  • Lack of available memory
  • A corrupted plugin
  • Missing core installation files

To solve this error, you’ll need to debug each possible cause individually.

  1. Put WordPress in debugging mode
  2. Check permissions in .htaccess
  3. Increase memory
  4. Disable all plugins
  5. Re-Upload the website installation files

20. WordPress Parse or Syntax Error

Do you like to code? Have you ever spent hours trying to debug a runtime error only to find out that it all stemmed from a missing semicolon?

If so, then you are well on your way to solving this WordPress bug. Instead of a complex memory limit issue, the WordPress Parse or Syntax Error stems from simple things like compiler errors (e.g., missing or extra semicolons or brackets).

To resolve this:

  1. check your functions.php file for syntax errors
  2. Look closely at code snippets and modifications that were recently added
  3. Back date your recent installed plugins and files to an older version if you can’t find the missing or extra code element

21. WordPress Fatal Error: Maximum Execution Time Exceeded

When you use an online file converter, a web server runs a script to change the file from the first file format to the second file type. The script includes loads of operations which take time to compete. If a script takes longer that the maximum execution time limit for your site, then the WordPress fatal error is triggered, and the script is stopped.

This protects you against malicious code hogging your server’s resources and taking over your website. But, the error can also be caused by another website on a shared server hogging all of the server’s resources, slowing everything on your website down.

To resolve the problem:

  1. Increase the maximum execution time limit for your site
  2. Upgrade to a dedicated webhosting plan
  3. Uninstall the offending plugin or script

22. WordPress Sidebar Below Content

What’s the only thing better than great web content?

Well, a great layout, of course!

The aesthetics of great online content is an art form in and of itself. Getting a website to look just how you want it is a source of pride for every administrator.

So, when your layout breaks, I know it can seem catastrophic. But don’t lose hope! The solution may be simpler than you think.

What to do?

  1. Check your style.css file for syntax errors
  2. Make sure that each <div> tag is closed
  3. Ensure that the float property is present in the sidebar and the main content

23. 503 Service Unavailable

Your website is up! Everything is rosy. But, why are users still complaining that they can get on the site?

This is a typical symptom of the 503 Service Unavailable error. Instead of an error in your website, the 503 error stems from your server itself. Here, your server is not working properly because of:

  • Unusually high traffic levels
  • Down time due to maintenance by your web host
  • A server crash

The best solution is to contact your web host to figure out what is going wrong with the server and to get your website hosted on another machine as soon as possible. Other things that you can try may include:

  1. Disable your proxy server
  2. Increase server bandwidth and memory
  3. Limiting calls to external APIs (e.g., Google, WordPress, etc.)

24. 502 Bad Gateway

Proxy servers and content distribution networks provide essential services, shielding your hosting server from distributed denial-of-service attacks and helping to provide localized resource access to client queries.

However, when a proxy server fails or malfunctions, your website and SEO rankings can suffer. The 502 Bad Gateway error occurs when a proxy server receives an invalid response from the hosting server.

Take immediate action to resolve this issue by:

  1. Reloading the page
  2. Clearing all caches
  3. Making sure that your website is up to date

If this doesn’t solve the problem, try contacting your web hosting provider and your proxy server provider for further assistance.

25. 501 Not Implemented

Servers have a tough job to perform. They have to receive, process, and respond to many types of requests quickly regardless of how fast these requests come in. Although servers can crash when too may requests are received, they can also generate errors when they don’t recognize the protocol used by a client-side device.

The 501 Not Implemented error occurs when the server cannot process a request because of a protocol mismatch.

Because this is a low-level issue, the best way to address this problem is to contact your web hosting provider with specific details about the client-side protocol used and any request details that you can find.

If the protocol and request should have been recognized by the server, then try the following debugging steps:

  1. Clear all caches
  2. Update your website
  3. Temporarily disable proxy servers

26. Memory Exhausted Error

Memory and bandwidth are the currency of web hosting. As your website grows and site traffic increases, your memory needs will grow as well. Keeping up requires that your regularly check your memory usage and increases it as your needs grow.

Sometimes your site may experience unexpected growth, leading to a Memory Exhausted Error: Your website needs more storage.

Luckily, this is simple to resolve. Just:

  1. Open your wp-config.php file
  2. Add “define (‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘XM’); to increase your memory to X megabytes

Don’t forget to reach out to your web hosting provider to upgrade your plan, if needed.

27. 429 Too Many Requests

Ever had a friend call your cell non-stop for an hour? Were you at a dinner party and felt too embarrassed to head over to the coat room and turn it off?

Well, servers have to respond to client browser queries quickly and repeatedly. But, when one client device starts to hog the server bandwidth, something has to be done to make sure that all clients get equal access to the server.

The 429 Too Many Request error does just that. If a client browser makes too many requests in a set period of time, they will get blocked for a while.

While this error protects the server from cyberattacks, sometimes it triggers by mistake. When this happens, you have a few options:

  1. Increase the request limit
  2. Change the URL of your login page
  3. Clear your caches, disable your plugins, and revert back to a default WordPress theme

28. The Add Media Button Isn’t Working

Common WordPress errors - Media button

The Add Media button is a core feature of WordPress websites and is used heavily by both the media library and the media uploader functionality. Relying on JavaScript, the Add Media button facilitates you in getting media items onto your site.

Unfortunately, WordPress core files, code snippets you add, and plugins are all bundled together, sharing the same resources. If any one of these gets corrupted, then all of your website functionality can be affected.

So, if your Add Media button suddenly stops working, the most likely culprit is the exciting plugin that you just installed. Uninstall it!

29. There Has Been an Error Cropping Your Image

Not only is the Media Library a gateway to getting engaging visuals on your website, it can also let you customize and modify your images after upload. This helpful feature allows cropping and rotations in the Library.

Sometimes, though, things go wrong. When customizing your image, you may encounter the error: There Has Been an Error Cropping Your Image. This usually prohibits your customizations from being saved, resulting in a lot of frustration.

There are solutions, however. Try the following simple steps:

  1. Update your PHP version in WordPress along with any core installation files
  2. Install or upgrade the Graphics Draw package in WordPress
  3. Clear all caches

30. This Site is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

One thing that makes WordPress great is its debugging capabilities. WordPress troubleshooting is critical for keeping your site run effectively. Nowhere is this seen more clearly that in the This Site is Experiencing Technical Difficulties error.

Here, WordPress identifies a backend issue and flags it for you to correct. When this occurs, a WordPress server will send a message to the admin email with:

  • Specific error details
  • A link to the backend code that needs to be corrected

Whenever you receive this error, check for the WordPress email to help you to fix whatever problem is affecting your website operation. You can always forward the email to your web hosting provider for assistance.

31. PHP Errors in WordPress

Another helpful debugging feature provided by WordPress are the PHP errors. These are developer-level errors while may affect your site performance, but do not hinder its core functionality. These errors include warning-level issues with WordPress that optionally can be addressed by a developer.

WordPress displays PHP errors on the administrator dashboard for easy reference. Sometimes, WordPress may also display backend PHP error on your front-end interface. This can interfere with the user experience and distract site visitors.

To resolve PHP errors:

  1. Disable PHP errors from displaying on the front-end of your site
  2. Forward any plugin-related problems with WordPress to the associated developer teams
  3. Work with a developer to modify the backend code to resolve any warnings

32. Destination Folder Already Exists

WordPress uses a folder system to keep your files organized, just like a chest of drawers for clothing. Any conflicts in the folder system can disrupt the organizational scheme, leading to chaos in large file systems.

To avoid this scenario, WordPress servers check your website’s active folder system looking for naming conflicts. If the name of a new folder matches the name of an existing folder on your site, then WordPress generates a Destination Folder Already Exists error and crashes the installation.

This is especially common in plugin installation, where each plugin development team creates its own plugin-specific file systems.

To apply a WordPress fix, use this approach:

  1. Check whether the plugin was previously installed
  2. Find and rename any folders with name conflicts
  3. Clear all caches and restart the download

33. The WordPress Theme Stylesheet Is Missing

All of your website’s unique aesthetics are stored in a single file: The Stylesheet. A CSS file, the stylesheet is a repository of instructions which make your website stand out visually – lose it and everything starts to breakdown.

The WordPress Theme Stylesheet Is Missing error is a must-fix to get your website back to 100%.

Simple solutions include:

  1. Uploading a new stylesheet to your site via SFTP
  2. Double checking the name of your stylesheet and making sure that it is referenced correctly everywhere as style.css
  3. Clear your caches and updating your theme and core installation files

34. Not Secure Warning in Chrome

Confidence and security go hand-in-hand in ecommerce websites, where sensitive transaction data and payment information are routinely submitted by customers to pay for products and services.

To protect users, many client-side browsers are starting to flag websites which do not use strong, up-to-date SSL certificates to authenticate and protect site traffic. The Google-managed Chrome browser is just one example of this. Chrome will display a Not Secure warning message in the browser if:

  • Your website does not use SSL certificates
  • Your SSL certificate is expired
  • Your SSL certificate is obsolete

To resolve these WordPress issues, make sure to:

  1. Use SSL certificates on your website
  2. Keep them up to date
  3. Empty your caches and look for plugin conflicts if the warning messages keep showing up

35. Error: Connection Refused (ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED)

Sometimes, connection issues aren’t due to a problem with your WordPress site. Knowing how to identify and resolve these errors will help you assist your clients in troubleshooting connection problems that are prohibiting them from using your site.

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is one such issue. This is displayed on a client browser when their device is blocked from accessing your site. This can stem from many issues, such as:

  • A routing malfunction
  • A browser error
  • A server-client conflict

To fix this problem:

  1. Check that your website is online
  2. Instruct the user to restart their router and update their browser
  3. Make sure that your server supports the browser type and version being used

36. DNS Probe Finished NX Domain (DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN) Browser Error

Domain name systems take the machine-readable numerical sequences which identify each website and turn them into web addresses that we can read, understand, and remember. But, what happens when there is a disagreement over the web address which corresponds to a numerical sequence or vice versa?

Chaos!

Well, not exactly. In the Chrome browser, users will see a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Browser Error message. This means that the browser couldn’t confirm the numerical sequence or IP address of your website. That’s like your GPS saying that it’s not sure which physical house corresponds to the address you entered.

To solve this, take the following steps:

  1. Release and renew the IP address of your website
  2. Update and temporarily disable any proxy servers
  3. Ask users to temporarily disable virtual private networks, firewalls, and anti-virus software

37. WordPress Not Sending Email Issue

WordPress emails are a vital source of information about your website and how its operating. When these messages get cut off, you miss out on an important source of analytics and performance data. Fixing issues with WordPress emails is crucial for you to get the most out of your WordPress experience.

WordPress typically uses a PHP function for sending emails. This function lacks several authentication layers resulting in these emails often being flagged as spam. When you start to miss emails, the first thing to check is whether your hosting server is experiencing an error with the PHP mail function.

Another approach is to use a WordPress plugin to manage your email functionality. Plugins like WP Mail SMTP can pass most email authentication requirements, reducing the likelihood of problems.

38. Facebook and Instagram oEmbeds Breaking Issue

Common WordPress errors - Facebook oEmbeds

Breaking News: oEmbeds is broken – stop using it now!

Facebook stopped supporting unregistered API calls last year which broke the oEmbeds functionality. So social media feeds through this WordPress block or editor won’t function properly.

As a workaround, you can try installing a WordPress plugin to handle your social media feeds. Here’s what we use for social sharing.

Another option is Smash Balloon. This plugin supports feeds for many mainstream social media platforms, is easy to use, and handles the registration process for Facebook and Instagram for you. Just install and get going!

39. Social Media Sites Are Showing the Wrong Thumbnail Image for Posts

Your online visuals are key to maximizing site traffic and conversion rates. Social media platforms are a great way to get your content out there for the world to see. Unfortunately, sometimes these platforms have proprietary methods for displaying content. For example, Facebook uses Open Graph to select thumbnail images for your posts.

If Open Graph or another software chooses the wrong image for your thumbnail, then you need to take action. The best solution is to install a WordPress SEO plugin. These plugins will tag your featured image so that there is no ambiguity about which photo to use as the thumbnail image.

40. Are you Sure you Want to Do This

I’m a busy person and I don’t like to waste time having to click through extra verification steps each time I make a change on my WordPress site. You’re probably the same way, too. So, each time that WordPress displays an Are you Sure you Want to Do This Warning, I get a little upset. Of course, I want to do it!

Taking a closer look, this “safety” feature usually shows up when there’s a WordPress bug. There is a program called Nonce which provides a security key to add to URLs when in administrator mode. Any time a WordPress plugin or theme makes a mistake with the Nonce implementation, WordPress starts to flag admin actions with this warning.

If this annoys you as much as it bothers me, here’s what to do:

  1. Disable your theme and plugins
  2. Then re-enable them one by one until you find the trigger plugin or theme
  3. Flag the issue on the development community
  4. Don’t use the plugin or theme
  5. Clear your caches

Have You Encountered Any Other WordPress Errors?

What’s the worst error that you’ve experienced while using WordPress? Did it take down your site or did you figure out a nifty solution?

Tell us about it and any other errors that you’ve experienced in the comments below!

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