How to fix WordPress white screen of death

The White Screen of Death (WSOD) is a common problem that WordPress users encounter. It’s a blank white screen that appears on your website, making it inaccessible to visitors. When this issue occurs, a website displays a blank white screen instead of its usual content. 

There are several reasons why this error occurs, including plugin or theme conflicts, memory limit issues, or corrupted files.

If you’re experiencing the White Screen of Death on your WordPress website, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix it step by step.

WordPress white screen of death.
Fig: WordPress white screen of death.

Before you begin

Before you begin fixing your site for WordPress’s white screen of death you may want to check your email first.

WordPress has introduced a new feature called “fatal error protection” after version 5.2, which can detect the cause of the White Screen of Death if it’s caused by a WordPress plugin or theme. If this feature detects an error, instead of a white screen, you’ll see a message informing you that your site is having technical difficulties.

Additionally, you’ll receive an email on your admin email address with the subject “Your Site is Having a Technical Issue.” The email will provide details about the plugin causing the error and will also include a special link to log in to the WordPress recovery mode and deactivate the problematic plugin. However, if you only see a white screen without any email or recovery mode option, you’ll need to fix the error manually using the steps below.

Also Read: How to Fix the 500 Internal Server Error in WordPress

Step 1: Check for Plugin Conflicts

One of the most common causes of the White Screen of Death is plugin conflicts. If you recently installed or updated a plugin, it may be causing the problem. To check for plugin conflicts, deactivate all your plugins and reactivate them one by one until you find the one that’s causing the issue. If you’re unable to access your WordPress dashboard, you can disable the plugins by accessing your website files through hosting or FTP.

To deactivate all the plugins using hosting’s panel or FTP follow the below steps:

Step 1: Connect to your hosting panel or connect your website using an FTP client. You can use popular FTP clients like FileZilla, Cyberduck, or WinSCP.

Step 2: Navigate to the wp-content directory. This is where all your WordPress files are stored.

Step 3: Locate the plugins folder and rename it to something like plugins_old. This will disable all your plugins.

Step 4: Refresh your website and check if the White Screen of Death has disappeared. If it has, it means that one of your plugins was causing the problem.

Step 5: To identify the problematic plugin, rename the plugins_old folder back to plugins.

Step 6: Go to your WordPress dashboard and activate each plugin one by one. After activating each plugin, refresh your website and check if the White Screen of Death reappears. If it does, it means that the last plugin you activated is causing the problem.

Step 7: Deactivate the problematic plugin by renaming its folder again, and then contact the plugin developer for support or update/downgrade the plugin depending upon the scenario. Or find a replacement plugin that can provide the same functionality without causing the problem.

By following these steps, you can deactivate all plugins from FTP and identify the problematic plugin causing the White Screen of Death in WordPress.

Step 2: Switch to a Default Theme

If you’ve ruled out plugin conflicts, the next step is to check your WordPress theme. Sometimes, a theme can cause the White Screen of Death. To check for theme conflicts, switch to a default WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty-Three. If your website starts working correctly, you’ll know that the problem is with your current theme.

Step 3: Increase PHP Memory Limit

If you’ve tried the first two steps and the White Screen of Death still persists, it could be due to a memory limit issue. WordPress requires a minimum of 64 MB of memory to function correctly. If your memory limit is lower than that, it could cause problems. To increase the PHP memory limit, you’ll need to edit your wp-config.php file. You can access this file through FTP or through the File Manager in your hosting control panel. Once you’ve located the file, add the following code at the end:

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

This code increases your memory limit to 256 MB. If the White Screen of Death is caused by a memory issue, this should fix the problem.

Step 4: Clear Caches

Sometimes, the White Screen of Death can be caused by cached data. Cached data is stored in users browser, and it helps to speed up your website. However, if the cached data is outdated, it can cause problems. So you may want to clear cached data from your website if you are using any caching plugins.

Step 5: Check for Corrupted Files

If none of the above steps work, it’s time to check your website files for any corrupted files or missing files. You can connect your website’s hosting panel or use an FTP client to access your website files and check for any issues. If you find any corrupted or missing files, replace them with a fresh copy.

Step 6: Enable debug option to know errors

Enabling debug mode can help you find the cause of the White Screen of Death. When you enable debug mode, WordPress will display error messages on the screen, which can help you identify the problem. To enable debug mode, open your wp-config.php file and add the following code:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );
define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', true );

This will enable debug mode, and WordPress will start logging error messages in a debug.log file. You can find this file in the wp-content directory. Once you’ve enabled debug mode, refresh your website to see if any errors appear. Once you’ve found the error, you can start fixing the issue.

Step 7: Fix long blog posts

Sometimes, longer posts can take a longer time to load, and if the maximum execution time is too low, it can cause the White Screen of Death. To increase the maximum execution time, add the following code to your .htaccess file:

php_value max_execution_time 300

This will increase the maximum execution time to 300 seconds. You can also contact your hosting provider and ask them to increase the maximum execution time for you.

Step 8: Reinstall WordPress

If all the above steps  fail, you may need to reinstall WordPress. Download a fresh copy of WordPress from the official website and replace the files on your server. This will ensure that all the files are fresh and free from any issues.

Step 9: Restore your backup

If you have a backup of your WordPress website, restoring it can help fix the White Screen of Death. Restoring a backup will replace all your website files with the files from your backup, which should fix any corrupted or missing files. Most hosting providers offer automatic backups, but you can also create manual backups using plugins like UpdraftPlus.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the White Screen of Death can be caused by various issues, including plugin conflicts, theme conflicts, memory limit issues, corrupted files, cached data, and bugs. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to fix the problem and get your website up and running again. Remember to always back up your website before making any changes.

WordPress Resources for You.

Leave a Comment