- 1 What is the White Screen of Death problem with WP site
- 2 White screen of death is not always plain white
- 3 What causes the WP White Screen of Death?
- 4 Deactivate new plugin
- 5 Clear cache
- 6 Switch back to the old theme
- 7 Increase application memory limit
- 8 Disable all the plugins at once
- 9 Switch to the default theme
- 10 Check if auto-update failed
- 11 Check if there is a failed mallware injection
- 12 Reinstall WordPress core
- 13 Do you have edited the code?
- 14 Does the problem appear only on the single site or multiple websites?
The White Screen of Death (WSOD) is one of the most annoying issue WordPress sites can face. Sometimes it blocks admin access to the backend, and in some cases it renders the whole site or just some parts of it unaccessible also for visitors showing blank white screen.
White screen of death will no doubt result to lost conversions, lost leads and business. In this article we are going through a few easy ways to fix the WordPress White Screen of Death situation, so you will be able to get your site back online quickly.
What is the White Screen of Death problem with WP site
The White Screen of Death is not very common problem, but if you have used WP a few years, most likely you have already seen it.
It is very annoying situation, because as the name says, the screen stays just white, and there is no any error message. This is especially annoying situation for users that are encountering the error the first time, because of, most likely, they are unable to figure out what is the issue.
To make things even more complicated, in some cases the White Screen of Death renders only admin login unaccessible, sometimes it could render also the whole front end just blank white.
However, in some situations only one or a few of posts are affected. Especially if it affects only one or a few posts or pages, it could take some time to notice that something is wrong, making it harder to figure out what changes were made before the problem appeared.
White screen of death is not always plain white
Identifying the problem could be even more complicated, because of WSOD is not always plain white. It depends of the browser you are using.
Google Chrome gives a warning saying “This page isn’t working and is unable to handle the request.” This is an HTTP 500 error.
In Mozilla Firefox, it is just a completely white screen with no errors or warnings.
So, if you get HTTP 500 error with Chrome, try with Firefox, so you can identify, if it’s actually white screen of death case.
What causes the WP White Screen of Death?
In the most cases, the reason is simple. Your WP installation runs out of memory. Regardless of what kind of server you have, there is always specific memory limits.
Your server could have enough memory to run hundreds of WordPress installations simultaneously, but memory use is usually limited per installation and application. That is because of if you have multiple websites running on the same server, they all need memory, and it is essential to limit how much single site/app can use memory.
Let’s take a look on various ways to solve the WSOD.
Deactivate new plugin
The most common reason for exhausting memory limit is a new plugin or plugin that does not work anymore correctly. Try to deactivate new plugin.
Especially some caching plugins can cause problems with memory limits. Try to clear cache.
Clearing cache might also help if your admin works, but public side shows white screen.
If white screen shows only on a long post page(s), try clearing cache.
Switch back to the old theme
Poorly coded themes are also common reasons for memory problems. If you have just installed and activated a new theme, and the blank white screen appear, the new theme is the most obvious reason. Try to switch back to the old theme.
Increase application memory limit
You can fix the WSOD increasing memory limit. You can assign more memory to the application by editing wp-config.php. Just add the code line below:
If it does not helo, you can try to add the following code to the .htaccess file located at the wp root directory:
php_value memory_limit 64M
If your server uses configuration without .htaccess file, you can edit php.ini file by adding the following line:
memory_limit = 64M
Disable all the plugins at once
If increasing memory limit does not help, and you have limit something like 256M or 512M, then you can try to disable all plugins. Check if yous site works now. If it works, enable plugins one by one, and test every time if your site still works.
If you are unable to access admin, you can disable all plugins using FTP or cpanel file manager, just rename all plugin folders, for example add 1 on the front of all file names.
Switch to the default theme
If disabling all plugins does not work, try to switch back to the default theme Twenty Ten.
If you can’t access the admin, you can rename theme folder, and WordPress will automatically fall back to the default theme.
Alternatively you can use phpMyAdmin and edit the database tables in wp_options table. Change template, stylesheet, and current_theme table value to twentyeleven.
The main reason for theme causing WSOD is poorly coded fucntion(s) located at theme’s functions.php file. You should check that there are no extra spaces at the bottom.
Check if auto-update failed
Sometimes WordPress auto-update fails leaving .maintenance file in the WordPress root directory. Use FTP or cpanel file manager to check if .maintenance file exists. If it is there, you can safely delete it. If the update was successful, but WordPress failed to remove this file, everything will go back to normal.
Check if there is a failed mallware injection
Failed malware injection can cause WSOD. You should check if your cPanel have a malware scanner, and run it.
If you have access to the back end, you can install a plugin called GOTMLS. Activate it and run a scan.
Reinstall WordPress core
Sometimes WordPress core files could become corrupted. That could happen, for example, during auto update.
Do you have edited the code?
If you have edited the WordPress code, there could be syntax error. Even one wrong character on the wrong place could wipe your entire site offline. If you can not recall what you have exactly changed, and you have recent backup available, try to restore it.
However, the reason is not always related to WordPress core, plugins or themes. It could be also server related, making troubleshooting harder.
Does the problem appear only on the single site or multiple websites?
If you have multiple WordPress installations on the same server, find out if the white screen appears only on the single site or are all of your sites just blank white.
If your all WP sites hosted on the same server are affected, then there is a problem with your web server. It could be some server software update that changed memory related settings, it could be also damaged memory chip etc.
In this situation, you should contact the web hosting company. Describe the problem and tell that it is server wide issue affecting all of sites instead of just the single domain. They should be able to diagnose and fix the issue.
If the blank white screen appears only on the single domain or only at some pages of the single site, then the reason is most likely plugin or theme. Try to switch back to the previously used theme or deactivate new plugin, and increase application memory limit as described above.
Hopefully this information helps you to fix the white screen issue. Please, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and/or question below!