If you’re a WordPress user, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the fabled “White Screen of Death”. It’s a common occurrence, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Fortunately, there’s usually an easy fix. To help you bring your site back to working order, we’ve compiled some of the most common solutions to the nothingness.
Why am I getting this White Screen Of Death?
Simply put, something has caused your WordPress to stop working correctly. That may seem obvious, but it should help to know that your site isn’t lost, WordPress is just confused as to how to show it. You can most likely fix this with one of the following methods.
- Increasing PHP Memory Limit
The most common reason for the White Screen Of Death (we’ll call it WSOD) is that the site’s memory limit is being exhausted. Some hosting packages have the default value for PHP memory set fairly low, at 32 or even 16M. Luckily, this is an easy fix.
Using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client like Cyberduck or Transmit, open wp-config.php in your root folder and insert the following line of code:
You can even try higher values such as 128M, but if 64M doesn’t do the trick, the problem is most likely somewhere else.
- Deactivating Plugins
If increasing the memory limit still left you in the nothingness, the next option is to disable all of your plugins. Conflicts between plugins can often throw a wrench in the spokes of WordPress’ functionality.
If you can still access the site’s backend, go to Plugins > Installed plugins and use the bulk actions right above the plugins list to select all and then deactivate. If you aren’t able to get into your WordPress dashboard, navigate to /wp-content/plugins using your FTP client and remane the plugins folder something like ’plugins_x’ or ‘plugins_old’. This will automatically disable all of the plugins on the site. Refresh your site, and if it’s working again, you’ll want to go to your plugins list and reactivate them one at a time, refreshing your site after each. When you get the WSOD again, you’ll know which plugin was causing the problem.
- Switching Themes
Sometimes a theme’s files can be poorly coded or become corrupt, which will often cause the White Screen Of Death. The fix here is to replace your theme with one of the default WordPress themes.
If you have access to your site’s backend, simply go to Appearance > Themes and click ‘Activate” on one of the twentyfourteen or twentyfifteen themes.
If you can’t get in to the site’s backend, navigate to /wp-content/themes and backup your theme (so it’s not lost forever) and then delete it from your site. WordPress will then default back to one of the twentyfourteen or twentyfifteen themes. Another way of doing this is to visit your phpMyAdmin in your hosting control panel and change the wp_options table in your site’s database to instruct it to use the default theme. To do this, change the template, stylesheet, and current_theme fields from your current theme to ‘twentyfifteen’.
If this fixes the issue, the problem probably has to do with an error in your theme’s functions.php file. Sometimes site migrations or updates can inadvertently add a blank line after the last ?> in the file. Try eliminating the blank line. Another trick is to eliminate the spaces between functions in the funtions.php file to look like this:
If neither of those functions.php work, you should rename the file so it is not overwritten and upload the original version of functions.php that came with your theme.
- Debug Mode
WordPress has a debug mode which will display errors, notices, and warnings that us turned off by default, but can easily be turned on.
Go to wp-config.php in your root folder and change
This will show error messages on the White Screen Of Death that may help you locate the coding error.
- Re-install WordPress
If none of the above solutions solve the problem, your best bet is to simply re-install a fresh copy of WordPress. Although not likely, it is always possible that a core file of your WordPress package may have somehow become corrupted.
The White Screen Of Death can be sometimes panic-inducing and always frustrating, and we hope one of the solutions included here has helped you solve your issue. If you’ve found another fix for this issue, please let us know below. We’re always interested in new fixes for problems new and old.