This article will help you to understand how to fix WordPress White Screen of death.
When WordPress isn’t working properly, it sometimes displays a blank screen instead of your content whenever someone visits your site. “Isn’t working properly” can refer to a variety of coding or database errors. If WordPress is a bicycle and your code is the chain, the white screen of death is what happens when your chain comes off the ring. You can’t ride your bike again (i.e. display your content) until you put the chain back on. That is, you can’t make WordPress work again until you get rid of the white screen.
There are lots of reasons the chain might come off your bike. Maybe you weren’t pedaling when you shifted gears, or maybe the tension on your chain is too loose. It’s the same with the white screen of death. The causes are numerous, and the solutions depend on what went wrong.
If you’re an advanced user and you’re comfortable using an FTP client (don’t worry if you aren’t; we’ll explain how to use one shortly) you should turn on WP_DEBUG to determine why your site is white screening. When active, WP_DEBUG mode displays error messages on the white screen that explain why your site isn’t working properly. You can use those messages as a guide in troubleshooting the issue.
That said, not everyone is comfortable using WP_DEBUG, and that’s ok! There are other ways to find out what’s causing the white screen of death. We’ll begin with one of the most frequent culprits: plugins.
If there’s anything good about the white screen of death, it’s that the “death” part is only hyperbole. Nobody actually dies because of the white screen of death; however, you may have to kill off a plugin – that is, deactivate it – to make the white screen go away.
When the white screen of death appears, always ask yourself: What was I doing just before my site stopped working? There’s a good chance you were doing one of the following:
- activating a plugin in WordPress
- changing the settings for an active plugin
- modifying an active plugin’s backend code
If you were doing any of those things, all you have to do is navigate to the Plugins page in WordPress and deactivate the plugin you were modifying. Problem solved! After deactivating the plugin, you should see your content restored to its former glory. If you were modifying a plugin’s backend code when the white screen appeared and would like to use that plugin again, you will need to delete it from WordPress and upload an original, unmodified version of the same plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory.
If you’ve determined that plugins is not the source of your problem, here are a few other possibilities:
- Caching: Maybe you use a caching plugin to boost WordPress load times. If so – and you’re still seeing the white screen even though you’ve run through the steps above – you might just need to clear your site’s cache. In the event you can’t clear the cache because you still can’t access WordPress, clear your browser cache. If your site comes back, resume the troubleshooting steps you were following initially.
- Corrupted file(s): Your WordPress files or database may be corrupted due to malware or another cause. Contact your web host and ask them to diagnose the problem.
- Server down: Check your email. Many hosting providers notify customers when servers are down, whether it’s planned downtime or not. If there aren’t any messages from your web host, give them a call. There could be a server issue they haven’t diagnosed yet.