The WordPress White Screen of Death

by Drew Conroy

Posted on August 19, 2018

wordpress logo on a white background

The list below is a look at the most popular WordPress Errors that you could face.

The first on the list is the infamous “WordPress White Screen of Death”. We will show you how you can combat the WordPress White Screen of Death, and bring your website back to life. That is, if you choose to tackle it yourself. We will get into that further down on the page.

Just as a quick note: if you do not see the WordPress Error you are looking for, it does not mean we do not fix it.

Too many failed login attempts

Call to undefined function

Internal Server Error

“WordPress White Screen of Death”

WordPress is unable to send emails

Locked out of WordPress Dashboard

Update Failures

Fatal Error: Maximum Execution Time Exceeded

Folder Permissions

The page is not redirected properly

Connection timing out

Maintenance mode issues

WordPress Sidebar Below Content

Images not showing up or showing red “X”

Image upload problems

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance

Permalinks not working

Maximum execution time exceeded

Syntax Errors

404 errors for pages/posts

403 forbidden error-code

Error establishing database connection

“Are you sure you want to this? Please try again”

RSS issues like XML Parsing Errors

Reset the WordPress administrator password

If you do not already use WordPress, the platform has made it possible for millions of people to have websites. Be it for personal, business or fun. There is a ton of documentation out there and tutorials that make it possible to put together a website easily on your own.

The best part is somebody already did the heavy lifting for you.

Meaning, all those added features you want add to your website have already been created for you. Those features are in the form of Theme’s and Plugin’s. They give you the ability to do just about anything you want. Many of them are free to use.

At this point, pretty much the only cost to you is your time. To start, you will need hosting, but you can get that for just a few dollars a month. In fact, you can create and put a website online for free. Keep in mind that free hosting is usually loaded with advertisements and no guarantees when it comes to up-time (time online) or security.

There is one hosting company called GoogieHost and this is a very rare find. I was surprised when I came across Natha Mouni’s post on Quora.

This is what their free plan offers:

100 GB Bandwidth, 1 GB disk space, FREE Domain for Life, 99.95% Up time, Free SSL, Free cPanel, No Ads, No ID or Credit Card Required, Free Cloud Flare CDN, Free Website builder, 24/7 Free Support.

When it’s all said and done, nothing is ever free. But after reading the positive reviews it made me think that maybe it is legit. At least it’s worth trying out. I thought it was kind of funny when I found out the Premium Package was only one cent the first month, and then five dollars per month after that. At least it’s worth trying out if you need to get a website on the cheap.

Like any other technology you are bound to come across problems from time to time. WordPress is no different. There is a massive open source community that supports WordPress users. The WordPress platform occupies the internet with over 80 million websites. Given that volume, you know there have been quite a few internet searches on how to fix one problem or another with WordPress.

We are going to go over one of the more popular errors that users of WordPress come across.

As mentioned above, the ever popular “WordPress White Screen of Death” aka WSOD. Included below are ways to troubleshoot the WordPress White Screen of Death if it ever shows up on your screen. Perhaps that’s something you might not care to tackle or it’s just not your thing. If that’s the case, no big deal, there are many others who feel the same way. You can always use our Fix WordPress Errors service.

If you do feel like giving it a shot, the first thing you always need to do it make a backup. It goes without saying why you need to make a backup. Make sure the backup includes your entire website. That is the database, plugins, themes, uploads, everything. Most hosting companies will have the option to backup your site from your control panel or you could use a plugin like UpDraftPlus.

Next, you want to trace your last steps. Think about what you were doing when the error showed up. Along with that, what you were doing leading up to that. Where you changing any code like in your config or functions files? Did you recently configure or change the settings on a plugin?

If you have not experienced the White Screen of Death. The following screen shot is what it looks like:

A blank white computer screen

The white part is just like the WordPress White White Screen of Death.

It is as you might have guessed, a plain white screen of nothing. However, that is not always the case like with some browsers such as Chrome. The screen will be white but there will be a message that tells you something to the affect that the page is not working and is unable to handle the request. When you see this type of error it is a HTTP 500 error which is an internal server error.

To resolve the WSOD, the first step you want to take is go to your WordPress Dashboard Login (admin) in your browser – Enter in: and see how it looks. If it looks okay, then there is a good chance you have a defective plugin or theme.

From your admin/dashboard disable all your plugins. If this makes the WSOD disappear, then you know the problem is a plugin. From here it’s a matter of process by elimination until you find the bad plugin. Make sure you reload/refresh the page after each plugin is activated.

You may not always be able to access your WordPress user admin/dashboard. At that point you will need to access your plugins folder. You can use FTP or go in from your hosting Control Panel. You want to append “old” to the plugins folder name EX: plugins-old. Again, check your screen and see if the WSOD goes away. If it does, revert your plugins folder back to its original name. Now you will want to test each plugin one at a time. Rename each plugin folder until you find the trouble maker.

The same process applies when checking themes. When you start to test your theme make sure you have another one installed. Download one of the default themes if you only have one currently installed.

When you can access your dashboard/admin try changing your theme to a different one. If the WSOD goes away and you can see your website again, problem solved. If you can’t access your dashboard/admin the same process applies as you would do with the plugins.

The problems with plugins and themes are often the result of a bad update or from a conflict with other programs installed on your website. You could narrow it down to a plugin or theme having a conflict with each other. If that’s is the case, contact the developer of that plugin/theme.

A computer screen with the text 'Trouble Shooting - wordpress
          screen of death error'

Having the PHP low memory limits set with the default settings can sometimes bring on the WSOD.

You may also see errors referring to exhausted memory. Regardless if you see the WSOD or not it’s a good idea to crank up your memory. If you are seeing memory errors with your WSOD go to your wp-config.php file in your control panel and add the following line of code:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

If the above does not work, go to your .htaccess file and add:

php_value memory_limit 64M

When you work with code, mistakes will happen that do not always get caught right away. You may use the wrong syntax or mistype a wrong character in the wrong place. Mistakes like these can invoke the WSOD. This is when the backup you made will save you.

The are other ways to get to the bottom of the WSOD when other tactics are not working. You can enable debugging in your wp-config.php file. If it’s not there, you can add it and change ‘false’ to ‘true’.

define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false);

Like so: define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

Make sure it is placed along with any other code you added above these comments ALWAYS.

/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

You can use wp_debug_log with wp_debug to save the error messages in the debug.log file. Add the following line of code in your wp-config.php file to turn on debug logging.

define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

The debug error log can be found in your content folder. If you do not want the errors to show on the screen, add the following line of code with the other code you have added in your wp-config.php file. define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, false);

It all should look like this:

// Debugging is turned on

define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

// This will log everything and place it in the wp-content/debug.log define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

// This makes the errors not show on the screen. define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, false);

By using this method to trouble shoot you will see an error message that tells you where the file is located and what line it is on. Using debugging on a live website is not recommended. The error messages can reveal details about your code, the paths and other information. However, debugging is necessary sometimes. Just make sure you turn it off as soon as you are done using it if you must use it on a live website.

Hopefully these tips will help you if you ever have to deal with the WordPress White Screen of Death.

If you are not up for the challenge of fixing it yourself. you can always contact us.

Check out our WordPress Beginner Tutorials Series on our YouTube Channel.

Thanks for Reading - Have a Great Day!

Drew & the Crew