If you’re seeing a blank page when you view your WordPress website, don’t panic. This common WordPress error is called the White Screen of Death. While the name implies all hope is lost, there are multiple solutions to help fix your WordPress website. Let’s troubleshoot this problem together to get your website working again.

For instance, a white screen may appear in the WordPress admin dashboard, while the rest of your website works perfectly. In other cases, you’ll find yourself locked out of your dashboard with multiple blank pages of your website.

In Google Chrome, it looks like this:

Google Chrome displaying WordPress white screen of deathSource: Kinsta

And in the Firefox browser, you’ll see this:

Firefox displaying WordPress white screen of deathSource: Kinsta

What Causes the WordPress White Screen of Death?

PHP and database errors can cause this issue. In most cases, the White Screen of Death is due to an unresponsive script that times out or gets killed by your WordPress hosting server.

For example, a plugin may be incompatible with another plugin. Or if you recently installed a new theme, it could be faulty and the reason why you can’t access your website.

Memory issues can also cause the screen to appear. Either way, here’s how to fix it.

1. Clear the WordPress Cache

To reduce the load time, some websites enable browsers to locally save files — this is known as browser caching. Unfortunately, caching can result in errors if the stored files are outdated. If you have access to your admin dashboard, do the following:

  • Install and activate the W3 Total Cache plugin.
  • Clear your cache by going to the Performance > General Settings tab.
  • Click the Empty cache button.

empty page cache for WordPress white screen of death

 

  • Now, check to see if your website is working. If not, continue reading for more solutions.

2. Disable Your Plugins

A simple fix is to disable your plugins. If you have access to your admin, you’ll want to do a bulk deactivation of all your plugins.

  • From your dashboard, click Plugins.
  • Click the empty box next to the word Plugin to select all your plugins.
  • Select Deactivate from the drop-down menu and then click Apply.

deactivate plugins for WordPress white screen of death

 

If this fixes the issue, start activating each plugin one by one and reloading the site after each activation.

What if you don’t have access to your admin? You will need to connect to your server using a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP). You’ll see all your files for your WordPress website. Then, follow these steps:

  • Open the public_html folder and then the wp-content folder.
  • Next, open the plugins folder.
  • Rename your plugins folder to plugins_old.
  • Then, check your website for the White Screen of Death.
  • If your site works, rename your plugin folder back to plugins.
  • Within that main folder, rename each plugin folder one by one, until you find the plugin that produces the White Screen of Death.
rename plugins in sftp for WordPress white screen of death

Source: Kinsta

After finding the specific plugin causing the problem, contact the plugin developer for additional help. If this solution doesn’t work, move to the next one.

3. Disable Your Theme

Similar to plugins, your website’s theme can become outdated or conflict with a plugin. Sometimes themes also install improperly due to corrupted files. To troubleshoot this issue, start by replacing the theme temporarily with a default theme, like Twenty Nineteen for example.

If you have access to your admin, follow these steps:

  • Go to Themes in the Appearance menu.
  • Activate the Twenty Nineteen theme.

activate theme for WordPress white screen of death

  • Now, check your website for the White Screen of Death.

If you can’t get into your admin, you’ll need to open your SFTP to access the website. Then, do the following:

  • Open the public_html folder and then the wp-content folder.
  • Next, open the themes folder and look for your active theme folder.
  • Rename it yourthemename_old.

Renaming the folder disables the theme. Now, visit your website. If the White Screen of Death disappeared, you’ve found the issue. Contact the theme developer about the error and ask for the latest version of the theme.

If fixing the theme doesn’t help, try the next solution.

4. Change the Memory Limit

Plugins achieve specific tasks. When you install a plugin, it runs a set of scripts on your WordPress website. And every time it runs, the plugin uses a little bit of your server’s memory.

To avoid scripts from slowing down your website, WordPress places a memory limit on your plugins. However, when a script needs more memory, it can cause the White Screen of Death.

But there’s good news. You can tell WordPress to give your plugins more memory. Follow these steps:

  • Log into your server using SFTP.
  • Locate your public_html folder.
  • Locate your wp-config.php file
  • Right-click on it and choose the View/Edit option.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the file and look for the line: That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.
  • Then, paste the following line of code right above that message:

 

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

This code instructs WordPress to use up to 256MB of memory for your scripts. Now, visit your website to check if it’s working properly.

If you’re still getting the White Screen of Death, we have one more solution for you.

5. Check the WordPress Error Logs

WordPress has a built-in debug feature to help you troubleshoot errors. By default, it’s disabled, but you can enable it with the steps below.

  • Access your website via SFTP.
  • Locate your public_html folder.
  • Right-click on the wp-config.php file and choose the View/Edit option.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the file and look for the line: That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.
  • Now, paste the following line of code right above that message:

 

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

  • It should look like this:

access sftp for error logs to fix WordPress white screen of deathSource: Hostinger

This code instructs WordPress to log an error on your website. Now, save your changes and visit your website again. You will see the White Screen of Death, but WordPress will log the error for you.

Now, we need to access your logs.

  • Open your SFTP client.
  • Open the folder public_html and then the folder wp-content.
  • Locate the debug.log file and open the file using the View/Edit option.
  • At the bottom of the file, you’ll see the last error logged. It may look like this:

review error logs for WordPress white screen of death

Source: 000Webhost

The error files may look confusing. If you can identify which file caused the problem, locate the file in your SFTP. If you don’t feel comfortable digging in your WordPress files, contact your hosting provider and provide them with a screenshot of your log errors.

What to Do If Nothing Fixes the WordPress White Screen of Death

If none of the solutions above help, there’s still hope. Your next step is to contact your web hosting provider for further assistance.

Give the customer support rep a detailed explanation of your problem and tell them the different ways you tried to troubleshoot the White Screen of Death error. They will offer the next steps to resolve the issue.

If this issue keeps happening, you might want to consider switching your hosting provider. You need a reliable platform without server management issues.

In that case, you might want to try Flywheel, a WordPress managing solution built specifically for agencies and in-house teams. If a problem ever pops up, you can chat with a WordPress expert anytime — day or night.

Flywheel to fix WordPress white screen of death

Source: Flywheel

Then, there’s WP Engine. It’s one of the best tools for developing and hosting a secure WordPress site. You’ll enjoy simple site setups and effortless maintenance.

For fully-dedicated, fully-managed WordPress hosting, check out WPMU DEV. They offer nightly backups with one-click restores, which will give you peace of mind if you ever see the White Screen of Death.

How to Prevent the WordPress White Screen of Death

You’ll probably never want to experience the White Screen of Death again. So, it’s important for you to take proactive measures to help avoid the issue in the future. Here are a few tips:

  • Always backup your website: Daily backups ensure if your website goes down again you can quickly restore it.
  • Read software notifications: Don’t ignore those notifications in your dashboard. They contain critical information about updating your plugins and themes.
  • Keep strict user controls: It’s hard to keep track of website changes when multiple people have access. Limit control to a few team members.

The WordPress White Screen of Death sounds terrifying. However, the solutions above can fix the error and get your website up and running again. And when all else fails, contact your web hosting provider for one-on-one assistance.

Wordpress Plugin HubSpot

Originally published Aug 16, 2019 3:05:11 PM, updated August 22 2019

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WordPress Website