How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death
How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death? The WordPress white screen of death is a common issue that can happen unexpectedly. When it occurs, your website’s front end and back end become inaccessible, displaying only a blank white screen. This problem can be caused by various factors, including plugin conflicts, theme issues, PHP errors, memory limit exhaustion, or corrupted files.
Experiencing the white screen of death can be alarming, especially if you rely on your website for business or blogging. It’s crucial to address the issue promptly to minimize downtime and potential loss of visitors or customers.
Common Causes of the WordPress White Screen of Death
To effectively troubleshoot the white screen of death, it’s essential to understand the common causes behind this issue. By identifying the root cause, you can implement the appropriate fix. Some of the typical causes include:
Conflicts between plugins can lead to the white screen of death. When two or more plugins have incompatible code or conflicting functionalities, it can disrupt the normal operation of your website and result in a blank screen.
Themes are an integral part of WordPress websites, but sometimes a faulty theme or an outdated version can trigger the white screen of death. Compatibility issues or incorrect coding within the theme files may cause conflicts, leading to the unresponsive white screen.
WordPress relies on PHP programming language, and errors within the code can cause the white screen of death. These errors might occur due to incompatible or poorly coded plugins/themes, outdated PHP versions, or incorrect configuration settings.
Memory Limit Exhaustion
If your website’s memory limit is exhausted, it can result in the white screen of death. When the memory allocated to WordPress is insufficient to handle the site’s operations, it leads to a breakdown and displays a blank screen.
Corrupted or missing core WordPress files can also cause the white screen of death. These files are essential for the proper functioning of the platform, and any damage or loss can result in the white screen issue.
Troubleshooting the WordPress White Screen of Death
Now that we understand the common causes behind the white screen of death, let’s dive into the troubleshooting steps you can take to fix the issue.
Step 1: Disabling Plugins
The first step is to deactivate all plugins on your WordPress site. Since plugin conflicts are a common cause of the white screen of death, disabling them temporarily can help identify the problematic plugin. You can do this by accessing the “Plugins” section in your WordPress dashboard and selecting the “Deactivate” option for each plugin.
Step 2: Changing the Theme
If disabling plugins didn’t resolve the issue, it’s time to switch to a default WordPress theme temporarily. This step will help determine if the problem lies within the theme files. Navigate to the “Appearance” section in your WordPress dashboard, select a default theme (e.g., Twenty Twenty-One), and activate it.
Step 3: Checking PHP Errors
Enabling error reporting for PHP can provide valuable insights into the white screen problem. You can accomplish this by editing the
wp-config.php file located in your WordPress root directory. Look for the line that says
define('WP_DEBUG', false); and change it to
define('WP_DEBUG', true);. This will display any PHP errors on your website, helping you pinpoint the cause of the white screen.
Step 4: Increasing Memory Limit
If your website’s memory limit is exhausted, you can increase it by modifying the
wp-config.php file. Add the following code just before the line that says
/* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */:
This code will set the memory limit to 256 megabytes, but you can adjust the value based on your specific requirements.
Step 5: Repairing Corrupted Files
If none of the previous steps resolved the issue, it’s possible that corrupted files are causing the white screen. To fix this, you can reinstall a fresh copy of WordPress without affecting your content or plugins. Simply download the latest version of WordPress from the official website, extract the files, and replace the existing files on your server.
Advanced Techniques to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death
If the basic troubleshooting steps didn’t fix the white screen of death, you can try more advanced techniques to pinpoint and resolve the issue.
Checking the Server Logs
Server logs contain valuable information about errors and events related to your website. You can access these logs through your hosting provider’s control panel or by using a file transfer protocol (FTP) client. Look for any error messages or warnings that could shed light on the white screen problem.
Debugging with Error Reporting
WordPress provides a debugging mode that can help identify errors more effectively. By enabling this mode, you’ll receive detailed error messages instead of a white screen. Edit the
wp-config.php file again and add the following code just before the line that says
/* That's all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */:
define('WP_DEBUG', true); define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true); define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
This code will enable debugging, log the errors to a file, and prevent them from being displayed on the screen.
Using FTP to Access Files
If you still can’t resolve the white screen of death, you can access your website files using FTP. With an FTP client, navigate to the WordPress installation directory and locate the
wp-content folder. Inside, you’ll find the
themes folders. Rename the
plugins folder to something like
plugins-old and the
themes folder to
themes-old. This action will disable all plugins and themes temporarily, allowing you to log in and troubleshoot the issue further.
Preventive Measures to Avoid the WordPress White Screen of Death
While troubleshooting and fixing the white screen of death is important, it’s equally crucial to take preventive measures to avoid future occurrences. Here are some tips to keep your WordPress site running smoothly:
- Keep WordPress and plugins/themes updated: Regularly updating your WordPress core, plugins, and themes ensures you have the latest bug fixes, security patches, and compatibility improvements.
- Regularly back up your website: Creating regular backups of your WordPress site is essential. In case of any issues, you can restore your website to a previous working state.
- Test new plugins/themes on a staging site: Before installing new plugins or themes on your live website, set up a staging environment to test their compatibility and performance. This way, you can identify and address any issues before they affect your main site.
- Monitor server resources: Keep an eye on your server resources, including CPU usage, memory, and disk space. Optimize your website’s performance by ensuring you have sufficient resources to handle your traffic and operations.