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9 Ways to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death

Nothing is more frustrating than working on your website and suddenly facing the WordPress White Screen of Death (WSOD). Due to this error, your page can become hard to access for the webmaster and visitors. 

The WSOD can be incredibly challenging to resolve because there are no detailed instructions on its causes. Besides, it’s a pretty standard error and one of the reasons why people switch from WordPress to other platforms. But don’t lose hope yet. 

Let’s learn more about the White Screen of Death:

  • What Causes WSOD?
  • 9 Ways to Fix the White Screen of Death in WordPress

What Is the WordPress White Screen of Death?

The WSOD is simply an empty white screen on your browser, and you won’t find any useful information about the error. Also, it appears differently depending on the browser. For instance, on Google Chrome, you’ll see an HTTP 500 error code. But on Mozilla Firefox, you’ll only see an empty screen without any details. 

The WordPress white screen of death is usually due to faulty PHP code. Sometimes the cause can also be a theme or plugin that contains errors or poorly written code. But the latter only brings down your website’s frontend, and your admin panel would still be working. So navigate to the site’s dashboard quickly to check if that’s your case. To do that, you need to type your address in the search bar and hit enter: yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin.

Having the forefront and the admin panel down can be frustrating. You might even consider using a different website builder tool. But if you don’t give up, you’ll have to put in time and effort to fix this issue. But in most cases, only the frontend goes blank. So, there’s nothing to worry about. Are you wondering how you fix WSOD? Let’s get down to business.

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How to Fix the White Screen of Death

When you come across the WSOD, you should do your best to resolve this issue quickly. Here are the nine most common methods to solve the problem:

1. Deactivate Plug-ins

In most cases, one of your plugins is behind the White Screen of Death. Even if you haven’t installed any new plugins, the issue can occur after a faulty plugin update. So, you may run across the error at any time.

To solve it, go to your website’s admin panel and disable every plugin from the bulk action dropdown. That should bring your website back on. 

Now, find the faulty one by disabling one plugin at a time and reupload your website to fix the WordPress blank page. It’s a frustrating process, and you can’t automate it. So, take your time with it. Once you find the culprit, launch a ticket to the support team or report to the plugin’s developer. 

If you can’t log in to your admin panel, you can try the backway entry to your website. Here’s how to do that:

  • Access your site files directory through File Transfer Protocol. 
  • In the wp-content folder, find your plugin folder, and rename it to disable all plugins. 
  • Now, launch your website and check if it’s working. 
  • If it does, you’ll have to repeat the process with each WordPress plugin. Do this by opening the renamed plugin folder. Then, choose a plugin, rename it, and check if your website is working. Repeat for all the plugins or until you find which one caused the blank white screen.

The quickest method to do this is by deactivating a plugin in an even number. For example, deactivate the second plugin, then the fourth one, and so on. Once all even numbers are done, start with the odd numbers. That increases the chances of finding the faulty plugin fast.

2. Switch to the Default Theme

Choosing the right theme is paramount for online store creation. But, in WordPress, that might easily go wrong. If your plugins all work fine, the next thing you should do is check whether your custom theme is causing the blank page in WordPress. To do that, you’ll have to go back to the default WordPress theme temporarily.

  • Change themes from the admin panel by selecting Appearance and then Themes
  • Launch any default theme you have. 
  • If you can’t reach the admin panel, the backdoor entry is similar to the plugin process. Locate the folder wptheme, and find the theme folder. Then, rename it and reload your website. WordPress will revert to the default theme automatically. 
  • Do some performance testing on your site to see if the problem is resolved. 

If the White Screen of Death is no longer appearing, reach out to a developer for a theme. Also, you can download a new WordPress theme. The cause of this issue might have been a faulty update, too. So, make sure to contact support and report the theme for bugs and errors.

3. Clear Your Cache

If your website’s frontend is a full white screen, but you can access the admin panel, you probably have an issue with the WordPress cache. Perhaps it’s full, or there’s a faulty file stored in it. You can clear your WordPress cache in no time with a plugin:

  • Install the WP Super Cache or similar plugin. 
  • Go to Settings in the admin panel and find the plugin name. 
  • Click on the plugin name and select Delete Cache

That should solve the problem. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step of solving the WSOD issue.

4. Initiate Debugging Mode 

Debugging mode is a WordPress feature that allows webmasters to see error messages on their websites. It’s a mode that helps identify which plugin or file is causing the blank white screen. You can start debugging mode easily:

  • Open the wp-config.php file. 
  • Search for the following line in it:

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false );

  • Change the false to true and reload your website. If you can’t find this line in the file, you can add it on top.  
  • After you reload the website, you’ll see a white screen with error messages. Read all the way through, and you’ll know which file is causing the problem. 
  • Go to the file directory and remove or rename it. The change will disable the file, and your website will return to normal. 

If the debugging mode doesn’t show any WordPress errors, but you know something’s wrong with your website, contact your web host. Perhaps debugging isn’t integrated into your website, and it should be.

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5. Enhance Your Memory Limit 

Memory overload is a common cause of the White Screen of Death. When your website gets content-heavy, it becomes difficult for the backend server to load all the files correctly. That happens because you have a specific bandwidth against your memory limit.

So the solution is to increase your memory limit. Here’s how to do that:

  • Open the wp-config.php file and paste the code below in it. That should increase your memory limit and return things to normal. 

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘64M’);

If it doesn’t work, you have a few options: 

  • Open your .htaccess file and add this line to increase the memory limit:

php_value memory_limit 64M

  • When you have trouble accessing the .htaccess file, you can open your php.ini file to increase your site’s memory. 

If you’re still short on memory, you might have a blank white page because of your theme or plugin. Either one could be overconsuming memory as a result of an error. At this point, it’s best to contact a developer to fix your issue. Otherwise, you’ll go round and round, reaching the same conclusion.

6. File Permission Issue

Another potential reason for the full white screen hides in the file permissions. Luckily, it’s easy to sort this issue yourself if you know what you’re doing. But if you don’t have experience changing website permissions, we advise against taking matters into your own hands. You might set the wrong permission, making your website vulnerable to hackers and viruses. Sometimes solving the problem yourself creates more issues. 

If you’re confident you want to do this white screen fix, here’s how to solve the file permission issue. 

You must follow these three rules

  • Set files to 664 or 644.
  • Set folders to 775 or 755.
  • Edit the wp-config.php file to 660, 600, or 644.

If the webmaster has SSH website access, use the following codes. Apply the rules with the command given below and initiate the code from the root WordPress directory.

sudo find . -type f -exec chmod 664 {} +

sudo find . -type d -exec chmod 775 {} +

sudo chmod 660 wp-config.php

If you aren’t sure how to do this or feel overwhelmed, it’s best to hire a web developer. Otherwise, you might create more problems. 

7. Failed Auto Update Issue 

Sometimes WordPress doesn’t complete updates, leading to an all white screen. In most cases, this problem goes away on its own, but you might have to go through the backdoor and fix things yourself:

  • Open your WordPress root directory and locate the maintenance file. 
  • Delete it from your WordPress directory and re-launch your website. 

Next, one of two things will happen:

  • Your website will revert to normal, and the deleted file will be automatically restored. 
  • WordPress will start updating your website from scratch. Usually, this happens when the server times out and your internet connection fails while you’re updating in the admin panel. 

If nothing works, follow the instructions for manually updating your WordPress. It should solve the problem for good. 

The fix is straightforward to apply, but it rarely causes a white screen. You don’t need to do anything else if your problem is solved with this trick. Still, there are more ways for a white screen fix.

8. Syntax Error or Restore Backup 

A typing error is another potential cause of the white screen of death in WordPress. If you make a mistake while typing your website’s code, you’ll shut down the page and all its features. 

It happens a lot if you’re working on a live site. That’s why everyone advises against editing the code on a live website. Still, if you mistype some code or add the wrong syntax, you can easily revert the mistake manually by going to the FTP.

That said, if you don’t remember where you made a mistake, you won’t be able to reverse the changes. And here’s where WordPress backup comes in handy. Restore the older version of your website from the backup. It should fix the problem if the white screen were due to a syntax error.

9. Enhance PHP Text Processing Capabilities

If the plain white screen issue remains unresolved, you’re running out of tricks, and maybe it’s time to hire a professional. Still, there is one last thing that might get your site back. 

It happens rarely, but if a particular post is too long, the PHP text processing might malfunction, causing the white screen. 

To see if that’s the issue, insert the following code in your wp-config.php file:

ini_set(‘pcre.recursion_limit’,20000000);

ini_set(‘pcre.backtrack_limit’,10000000);

Once you add the code, close the file and refresh your website to check if it’s working. 

If you’re still having troubles, hire a professional. The good news is that around 80% of white screen error instances get resolved at this point.

Conclusion

The WordPress white screen is a frustrating problem that can take time to resolve. You’ll lose many business hours by following the tricks above, but you’ll lose even more if you don’t. Keep in mind that even a professional developer would follow the same steps. 

It’s better to perform 80% of the task yourself before hiring someone to fix your problem. Otherwise, you might end up paying thousands of dollars to a professional for finding a typing error. 

Still, more than one thing can go wrong when you try troubleshooting the white screen issue. But in the process, you’ll find out more about how WordPress and its tools work. Who knows, you might even find ways to improve your content marketing results. Remember to always download plugins and themes from trusted sources and avoid installing pirated themes. By following the tips above, you can get rid of the WordPress white screen and continue to run your business safely.

About the author

Avatar for Emma Miles

Emma Miles

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