What is the WordPress White Screen of Death & How to Fix It?

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WordPress White Screen of Death

The “White screen of death” (also referred to as “WSoD“) is one of WordPress’s most prevalent errors. In this scenario, the web browser displays a blank white screen without error messages; this makes identifying the cause of the error really challenging.

You may encounter different error messages depending on the browser you’re using. Here’s an example of an HTTP 500 message that appears in Google Chrome that says, “This page isn’t working & is unable to handle the request”:

WordPress White Screen of Death

“The WordPress White Screen of Death” in Google Chrome

Now let’s look have a look at Mozilla Firefox’s White Screen of Death:

“The WordPress” in Mozilla Firefox

It’s simply a plain white screen, as you can see. There are no significant errors or warnings in it. PHP code issues or memory limit exhaustion are the two primary root causes of this issue. Generally, “The WordPress White Screen of Death issue” has many different causes besides these possibilities.

Fortunately, there are fixes to the white screen issue. The most frequent causes of the WordPress white screen of death issue will be discussed in this article.

We will discuss Nine ways to fix this issue after you figure out the specific reason.

What Causes WordPress’s White Screen of Death Error?

The White Screen of Death issues can have many causes, but the most frequently encountered are PHP errors, memory difficulties, or database failures. Finding the core cause of WSoD issues can be challenging, making troubleshooting harder.

When plugins or themes are incompatible with your website’s software, this error can appear. An unresponsive script could end up in that blank screen if you exceed your PHP memory limit. Sometimes WSoD may also be caused by a server failure that your host can only resolve.

Irrespective of the cause, the issue must be fixed immediately. So, let’s discover the fast fixes to solve the issue in the next section.

How to Resolve the White Screen of Death (WSoD) Error in WordPress

Your top concern will be to find a solution as soon as you encounter the WordPress White Screen of Death. In considering that, let’s look at ways to deal with it.

Turn Off WordPress Plugins

Disabling all your plugins is one of the simplest and most popular solutions for treating WordPress WSoD. Sometimes a poor plugin update causes a website to go down.

To quickly deactivate all plugins if you can still access your admin area, go to Plugins from the dashboard, select all plugins, and then select Deactivate button from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu:

Disable WordPress Plugin

All of your plugins will be turned off by this method.

If that resolves the problem, you must identify the perpetrator. To do this, you can start turning on each plugin one at a time while refreshing the website between each one. You recognize the malfunctioning plugin when your front end stops working.

The plugin’s developer can then be contacted for assistance, or you can submit a support scenario through the WordPress Plugin Directory.

If you cannot connect to WordPress admin, you can access your site’s files directory using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client.

Find the plugins folder in your root directory’s wp-content subfolder. Give it a new name, something like “plugins_old.”

Next, review the front end of your website again. You’ll need to try each plugin individually to see if it works. Rename your plugin folder back to “plugins,” then rename each plugin folder inside of it one at a time until you find the one that is corrupted.

Take a Step Back

Finding out or retracing what you did in the minutes before the error could be a waste of time, but it might help you resolve the problem more quickly.

Start by posing the following queries to yourself:

What was I doing when I saw the white screen of death on the website?

When the problem initially appeared, was anyone else using WordPress? If so, what were they doing?

Your responses could point out where you made a mistake.

Continue to the remedies below if no one was working on the website when the screen appeared (i.e., you learned about it when you tried to log in).

Clear Cache in the Browser

Sometimes, all that’s needed is a simple browser cache clean. Websites use browser caching to improve user experience and speed up surfing. However, the cache fills up with unnecessary data and cookies as time passes.

To eliminate this issue, navigate to all cookies and site data in your browser’s settings and delete the cache for the relevant website: [chrome://settings/site data?search=cookie].

To completely clear the cookies and cache, open Chrome’s History tab and select “Clear browsing data.” Click the time range, choose Basic or Advanced, then click Clear data. When the process is complete, return to your website and click Refresh. You are ready to get started if you see the WordPress admin panel.

Increase the Memory Limit

A plugin you install on your WordPress website runs a set of scripts. A little portion of your server’s RAM is used each time the plugin is activated. WordPress sets a memory restriction on your plugins to prevent scripts from making your website load more slowly.

However, the white screen of death can show up when a script requires more RAM.

The good news is that you can request extra RAM for your plugins by using the techniques below to tell WordPress to do so.

  • Use SFTP to get to your server.
  • Locate your wp-config.php file by opening the public_html folder.
  • Select View/Edit from the context menu when you right-click on wp-config.php.
  • Scroll to the file’s bottom and paste the following line of code.
  • (With this command, WordPress is instructed to allocate up to 64 megabytes of RAM for your scripts)
  • Simply verify your website to ensure it is working correctly.

Turn off the Theme you are using Right Now

Like plugins, your WordPress theme could become outdated or conflict with another plugin. The installation of themes occasionally goes wrong because of damaged files. Start temporarily switching the theme to a default WordPress theme to troubleshoot the issue.

These steps should be followed if you have access to administrator controls.

1. From the WordPress dashboard, select Appearance > Themes.

2. Turn on any standard WordPress theme.

3. Check for the “white screen of death” on your website.

You must open your SFTP to access the website if you cannot access your admin. Then take the following action.

  • Open the wp-content folder after opening the public_html folder.
  • Find the folder for your active theme by opening the themes folder.
  • Next to the name of your active theme folder, add “_old.” This turns off the theme.
  • Go to your web page. You will find the issue has been resolved if the white screen of death disappears. Ask for the most recent theme version from the developer and notify them of the error.

Verify File Permissions Errors

Permission and ownership concerns could contribute to the WSoD. You could take care of this issue on your own. But unless you understand what you’re doing, we advise against it since it’s possible to unintentionally expose vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.

There are three basic rules to remember when it comes to WordPress permissions:

  • The file must be 664 or 644.
  • The folder should be either 775 or 755.
  • Setting the wp-config.php file to 660, 600, or 644 is recommended.

Applying the correct rules is simple if you have SSH access to your server. Run the command below from the root WordPress directory. Ask your authenticated web host for assistance if you are anxious or don’t know how to do it.

Check WordPress’s Error Logs

Check your WordPress error log file if the previously mentioned solutions do not resolve the white screen of death issue. You could figure out where you created PHP mistakes by using your WP_DEBUG function. The following are the steps to activate debug mode:

Access the public_html folder’s wp-config.php file.

Find the following line of code: 

/* That’s it; stop editing! Happy blogging! */

Above it, insert the following line of code:

Define ("WP_DEBUG" and "true");

Change the value from false to true if the wp-config.php file already contains a WP_DEBUG line.

Note: Click the Save button to complete the process and refresh your site. Once completed, notifications, issues, and cautions will appear on the WordPress white screen of death. You can utilize these to identify the root of the issue.

The directions for solving the tasks will also be displayed on the screen. Once the problem has been resolved, set the value of the WP_DEBUG line back to false.

Try checking the PHP error logs to see if there are no errors when the WordPress debugging mode is on. To check the error log for your website, you must turn on PHP error reporting. Check the log_errors value to see if it is on by going to the PHP Info section.

Log Error

Go to the File Manager and search for an error_log file if the value is on. To view the PHP error that occurred, click on it. This will show where the issue originated.

Address a Failed Auto-Update Issue

The White Screen of Death error can occasionally be brought on by WordPress update issues. See whether there has been a failed automated update on your website.

The WSoD issue may be triggered by an update that results in a timed-out server. You can fix this by carrying out the actions listed below:

  • Use FTP to connect to your server.
  • Go to the root folder of your website.
  • Check for the “.Maintenance” file.
  • Delete any such files you see.

The WSoD issue will be eliminated by doing the steps listed above, but if you cannot find the “maintenance” file, continue to the next step.

Restore Backup

The white screen of death may occasionally happen when making code changes without first testing them on a staging site. Depending on which file was changed, there will be an alternate method for correcting it if this is the case.

Suppose you modified a core file, such as wp-config.php or .htaccess. If you don’t have an unaltered copy of the file, you can replace it with a new copy from a brand-new WordPress download.

Visit WordPress.org and choose the Download option to do this.

After it is finished, unzip the folder to access the necessary file(s). After that, remove the file you suspect to be the root source of the issue and replace it with an updated version using your File Manager or FTP client.

Wrap up!

It may be tremendously frustrating and even frightening when WordPress displays the White Screen of Death. Many things could go wrong, but fortunately, things typically don’t turn out as badly as they look.

A simple plugin and theme check should resolve the WSoD issue in most situations. Understanding WordPress debug mode could assist you in gaining insight into the issue and get solutions.

Once you know the error’s root cause, you can fix it using an appropriate approach. We’ve provided nine strategies in this article.

If none of these approaches resolve the issue, the server side is where the problem originates. For assistance, get in touch with the web host for your website.

Please share your WordPress White Screen of Death experiences with us so we can improve them and use your knowledge.

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