WordPress White Screen of Death: Guide to Fix

Written by WordPress Expert

April 11, 2023
WordPress White Screen of Death: Guide to Fix

Uh oh! If you’re reading this article, then you may have an error on your site or the site looks like a blank white page. That may be an indicator that you’ve encountered the dreaded WordPress White Screen of Death. Dreaded? Well, maybe that is a bit extreme, but at least it’s fixable. In this article, you’ll learn all about fixing the WordPress White Screen of Death

What does the WordPress White Screen of Death look like?

Well, the WordPress White Screen of Death usually looks like one of two ways. It’s either a blank white screen on your browser. That’s right, nothing but snowy white. You won’t see your beautiful-looking theme design or your content.

The other option is a critical error message like the following image:

Wordpress critical error message

If you have either, it’s time to determine why this occurred so you can fix it.

Possible reasons for the WordPress White Screen of Death to occur

Here are some reasons why the WordPress White Screen of Death occurs:

  • PHP errors
  • Memory limit errors
  • Database errors

PHP errors

An example of a PHP error may be anything from plugin or theme compatibility, or conflict.

Memory limit errors

A memory limit error occurs when you have a lot going on with your WordPress site and not enough memory with your web hosting account. However, in some cases, you may have enough memory allocated to your account, but the settings for it are too low.

Database errors

Sometimes it’s possible that WordPress, a theme, or plugin might not connect right with your database. Sometimes it may overload the database where the site becomes unresponsive or there is some type of critical error that occurs.

Fixing the WordPress White Screen of Death

When it comes to fixing the WordPress White Screen of Death, there are several methods to approach this.

  1. Enable Recovery Mode
  2. Perform a plugin conflict check
  3. Perform a theme conflict check
  4. Enable debug mode and check your site’s error_log
  5. Check to see if the issue was an auto-update failure
  6. Restore WordPress site from a previous backup
  7. Increase memory limit
  8. Fix long articles
  9. Clear browser cache
  10. Contact web host

1. Enable Recovery Mode

Wordpress Enable Recovery Mode Mail Example

If you received an email that says there was an error on your site and gives you a link to enable Recovery mode, click on it. Recovery mode will save you time by disabling plugins for you, so you can re-enable them one-by-one to find out what was the problem.

Wordpress Recovery mode

In some cases, in Recovery mode, WordPress will tell you what caused the problem so you can re-activate everything except for what caused the error.

2. Perform a plugin conflict check

Sometimes a plugin update may go wrong or the plugin itself doesn’t play well with everything else in your WordPress installation. If you don’t have access to your WordPress admin area, use FTP to go and disable all of your plugins.

If the WordPress White Screen of Death or critical error message goes away, you’ll need to re-enable each plugin until you find which one was at fault. Make sure after you enable one, to refresh the site, before reactivating another plugin.

3. Perform a theme conflict check

If none of your plugins seem to be at fault for the WordPress White Screen of Death, you’ll want to activate a default WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty-Three. In the case you’re not able to access your WordPress backend, you’ll just need to re-name your active theme via FTP with -old suffix.

If you’re able to access the WordPress admin after doing so, go and activate a default theme. You’ll have to either fix the theme that had the issue or hire a developer to fix it for you.

4. Enable debug mode and check your site’s error_log

The debug mode for WordPress is not always on by default and not all web hosting will automatically build an error_log any time an error occurs anywhere with your WordPress website. Debug mode allows you to see what errors are happening with your WordPress installation, whether it’s the memory, the database, a plugin, a theme, or WordPress core itself.

An error_log is a type of flat file where any errors will be displayed that come up with your website. To enable debug mode and make sure it writes to the error_log or even a debug.log, you will add the following code to your wp-config.php file:

// Enable WP_DEBUG mode
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
// Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

From there, you can check your debug log or error_log and see where the error is occurring. In most cases, if it’s a plugin or theme, you’ll want to disable it or update it. If it’s WordPress core, then try adding fresh WordPress core files using FTP.

5. Check to see if the issue was an auto-update failure

maintenance file filezilla ftp

Sometimes updates fail. It doesn’t happen often, but when WordPress performs an update, it installs a temporary .maintenance file on the same level as your wp-config.php file. In case you either get a maintenance error or a WordPress White Screen of Death after updating, you can either use a FTP client (like Filezilla) to delete the .maintenance file, or remove it via cPanel’s File Manager.

6. Restore WordPress site from a previous backup

If you’ve backed up your WordPress website prior to the error occurring, you can go and restore the backup. However, if you’re not sure when the backup was made or if the error would occur, you might want to set up a WordPress staging site and test out the backup before you restore it on your live site.

If the backup tested fine, then you may be able to avoid troubleshooting further.

7. Increase memory limit

If you’ve found that your error_log has anything about a fatal error regarding exhausted memory, then that means that your site is doing a lot of actions that are too much for your memory to handle. To increase the memory limit in WordPress, you will need to add the following code to your wp-config.php:

define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );

If you need more than 256MB, you can increase that, but you will probably want to contact your web host and see how much memory you can use, in case you add too high of a number.

8. Fix long articles

If the WordPress White Screen of Death is happening on specific posts or pages that have a lot of content, like more than 10,000 words, but no other pages have a problem, simply add the following code to your wp-config.php file.

/** Get long posts show up correctly */

9. Clear browser cache

This might seem like a weird suggestion, but sometimes your browser might be stubborn at times, and not show your website or others properly. It’s time to clear that cache. In the case you’re using Google Chrome, you can put chrome://settings/siteData?search=cookie in the address bar and you’ll be taken to the exact place to empty your cookies, or clear your browser cache.

If you find it annoying that you may need to log in again to all your websites, just remember that this is for getting your site back up.

10. Contact web host

If nothing seems to be getting your site up, don’t hesitate to ask your web host. Now, they’re not obligated to fix the WordPress White Screen of Death for you. In rare cases they may. However, if the issue may be that they need to adjust the memory limit and you’re not able to, or something from the web host end is the problem, then that’s the only time the technical support with your host will help.

Just make sure that if you submit a ticket, that you’ve done all you can to troubleshoot the problem. List what you did before the issue occurred, what happened, and what steps you took to try to fix the problem. The more information you can share, the better technical support can address the issue.

In Summary

If you have encountered the WordPress White Screen of Death, hopefully the steps to fixing it will have helped you resolve the problem. This is an issue that doesn’t occur a lot, but at least there are several methods to approach when fixing the WordPress White Screen of Death.

Think about employing Verpex web hosting to make sure your WordPress website is constructed on a strong foundation. Our managed WordPress hosting services are exceptional performers and are geared for speed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WordPress free?

All you need to do to use WordPress is to invest in a web hosting plan since the software itself is free.

Can I use WordPress hosting without a WordPress site?

Generally, no. The servers will be optimized to WordPress websites only, and those choosing a managed service will have to build their site using the platform.

Why choose Verpex for WordPress?

As the leading CMS out there, we’ve made it our mission to offer the most comprehensive and streamlined WordPress solutions on the market. Backed by a responsive customer care team and reliable site enhancement tools, we ensure our users get the full WordPress value and support for a reasonable price.

Is a website on WordPress safe?

Websites on WordPress are safe, however to avoid hacking keep your website up to date.



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