Fixing the WordPress White Screen of Death

The White Screen of Death (WSOD) is one of the most vexing problems that WordPress sites can encounter. Sometimes it prevents admins from accessing the backend, and in other cases it renders the entire site or just some parts of it inaccessible to visitors, displaying a blank white screen.

Without a doubt, the white screen of death will result in lost conversions, leads, and business. In this article, we’ll go over a few simple fixes for the WordPress White Screen of Death, so you can get your site back up and running as soon as possible.

What is the cause of the WP site’s White Screen of Death?

The White Screen of Death is not a common problem, but if you’ve been using Windows for a while, you’ve most likely seen it.

It is a very inconvenient situation because, as the name implies, the screen remains white with no error message. This is an especially aggravating situation for users who are encountering the error for the first time, as they are most likely unable to determine what is causing the problem.

To make matters even more complicated, the White Screen of Death may not only render the admin login inaccessible in some cases, but it may also render the entire front end blank white.

In some cases, however, only one or a few posts are affected. It may take some time to notice that something is wrong, especially if it only affects one or a few posts or pages, making it more difficult to determine what changes were made prior to the problem appearing.

The white screen of death is not always completely white.

Because WSOD is not always black and white, identifying the problem may be even more difficult. It is determined by the browser you are using.

“This page isn’t working and is unable to handle the request,” says Google Chrome. An HTTP 500 error has occurred.

In Mozilla Firefox, the screen is completely white, with no errors or warnings.

So, if you get an HTTP 500 error in Chrome, try Firefox to see if it’s a case of the white screen of death.

What is the source of the WP White Screen of Death?

In most cases, the reason is straightforward. Your WordPress installation has run out of memory. There are always memory limits, no matter what type of server you have.

Although your server may have enough memory to run hundreds of WordPress installations at the same time, memory usage is typically limited per installation and application. This is due to the fact that if you have multiple websites running on the same server, they all require memory, and it is critical to limit how much memory a single site/app can use.

Let’s take a look at some possible solutions to the WSOD.

Deactivate the newly installed plugin

The most common cause of exceeding the memory limit is the installation of a new plugin or the failure of an existing plugin to function properly. Deactivate the new plugin.

Delete the cache

Some caching plugins, in particular, can cause memory limit issues. Clear the cache.

Clearing cache may also be beneficial if your admin works but the public side displays a white screen.

If the white screen only appears on long post page(s), try clearing cache.

Return to the previous theme

Memory issues are also frequently caused by poorly coded themes. If you have recently installed and activated a new theme and the blank white screen appears, the most obvious cause is the new theme. Attempt to revert to the previous theme.

Increase the app’s memory limit.

You can resolve the WSOD by increasing the memory limit. You can increase the application’s memory by editing wp-config.php. Simply insert the following code line:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

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 plugins at the same time.

If increasing the memory limit does not help, and you have a limit of 256M or 512M, you can try disabling all plugins. Check to see if your website is still operational. If it works, enable plugins one at a time and check to see if your site is still operational.

If you cannot access admin, you can disable all plugins via FTP or the cpanel file manager; simply rename all plugin folders, for example, by appending 1 to the beginning of all file names.

Return to the default theme

If disabling all plugins does not work, try reverting to the Twenty Ten default theme.

If you can’t access the admin, you can rename the theme folder, and WordPress will revert to the default theme.

You can also use phpMyAdmin to edit the database tables in the wp options table. Change the value of the template, stylesheet, and current theme tables to twentyeleven.

The main cause of the theme causing WSOD is a poorly coded function(s) in the theme’s functions.php file. Make sure there are no extra spaces at the bottom.

Check to see if auto-update failed.

When WordPress auto-update fails, a.maintenance file is left in the WordPress root directory. To see if a.maintenance file exists, use FTP or the cpanel file manager. You can safely delete it if it is present. If the update was successful but WordPress did not delete this file, everything will return to normal.

Check to see if there has been a failed mallware injection.

A WSOD can be caused by a failed malware injection. Check to see if your cPanel includes a malware scanner and run it.

If you have access to the back end, you can install the GOTMLS plugin. Activate it and scan it.

Reinstall the WordPress core software.

WordPress core files can become corrupted at times. This could occur, for example, during an automatic update.

Have you made any changes to the code?

There could be a syntax error if you edited the WordPress code. Even one incorrect character in the wrong place can bring your entire website down. If you can’t remember exactly what you changed and you have a recent backup, try to restore it.

The reason, however, is not always related to the WordPress core, plugins, or themes. It could also be a server issue, making troubleshooting more difficult.

Is the issue limited to a single website or does it affect multiple sites?

If you have multiple WordPress installations on the same server, check to see if the white screen appears only on one of them or if all of them are blank white.

If all of your WordPress sites hosted on the same server are affected, there is an issue with your web server. It could be a server software update that changed memory-related settings, a damaged memory chip, or something else.

In this case, you should contact the web hosting provider. Describe the issue and explain that it is a server-wide issue that affects all sites rather than just one. They should be able to identify and resolve the problem.

If the blank white screen appears only on one domain or on certain pages of a single site, the cause is most likely a plugin or theme. Change back to the previous theme, deactivate the new plugin, and increase the application memory limit as described above.

Hopefully, this information will assist you in resolving the white screen problem. Please leave a comment and/or a question in the section below!

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My name is Nohman Habib and I am a web developer with over 10 years of experience, programming in Joomla, Wordpress, WHMCS, vTiger and Hybrid Apps. My plan to start is to share my experience and expertise with others. Here my basic area of focus is to post tutorials primarily on Joomla development, HTML5, CSS3 and PHP.

Nohman Habib


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