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WordPress White Screen of Death – How to Fix It Quickly?

February 23rd, 2021

The WordPress White Screen of Death is one of the worst things that can ever happen to your website. As the name itself suggests, it is an absolutely white screen that falls over your homepage, rendering it visually dead. You can hardly figure out so much that something has gone wrong down the line at that particular time. You can call yourself really lucky if you haven’t yet encountered it, but if you have, don’t panic! Here is what possibly went wrong and how to resolve it.

HIGHLIGHTS

Why Do You See the WordPress White Screen of Death?

On a very normal day, you enter your website’s address in the browser, and you end up looking at a blank screen. You try to refresh, and nothing happens. In some cases, you see an error message written on the top of the screen, but mostly, it is just white. You have no access, no homepage, just nerve-wracking whiteness. This is what we call the WordPress White Screen of Death.

Sometimes you might see a critical error message, saying “There has been a critical error on your website,” instead of a plain white screen.

Since several things may cause the white screen error, it requires methodical troubleshooting to fix.

The Main Cause Behind the WordPress White Screen of Death

It is a little cumbersome to guess at this moment what you (or anyone) did to deserve this; so, you’ll need to look up the recent tinkering done with your website. Here’s all that you can check.

#Case A: A Recent Change

In most cases, you face the WordPress White Screen of Death due to a recent change made to your WordPress site. It can be:

  • An upgrade to the WordPress version
  • A recently updated theme
  • A recently installed/updated plugin

If that rings a bell, track down what was applied to the website. Confirm it with all the people who manage your website and make a note. It’s probably an error that came up while configuring the update/change and blew everything off.

#Case B: An External Issue

If that is not the case, then it can be an issue with your:

  • Web Host
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Site security (your site could be hacked)

Usually, your web host and your ISP would notify you of any such issues, but you can still make sure on your end. If you verify that it is an external issue, you would have to wait until the problem is fixed from the source end but, if it concerns a recent change that you made, you can get into the action with steps provided in this article. Once confirmed, you can walk ahead towards the resolutions.

Resolutions – How to Bring Your WordPress Site Back to Life?

So when you’re ready to fix everything up, you’ll also need to make sure you still have access to your WordPress admin page, i.e., http://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/.

If you’re getting a blank white screen over there as well, then we’ll proceed with the process differently.

#Scenario A: When You Have Access to the WordPress Admin

#Step 1: Log in to your admin page and deactivate all the plugins that you are currently using. Go to Plug-ins, click on a plugin and click deactivate. Do it for all the plugins that you use.

#Step 2: Then, you would have to ensure that your current theme is set to default. This can be done by removing any additional theme that you may have applied. Go to Dashboard >> Appearance >> Themes. Activate the default WordPress theme (named as Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty, etc.). Then delete your additional theme to remove it.

#Step 3: Backup your database! When you have tried the previous steps, and no change took place, it’s time that you go to some advanced steps, but before that, you’d need to backup your database.

Scenario B: When You Don’t Have Access to the WordPress Admin

Note: In this case, we’ll be accessing the server via an FTP client. If you don’t know what that means, you might consider getting some help here.

#Step 1: Log in to your website using FTP software such as FileZilla. You’ll see a list of folders containing your website’s files. Find public_html folder and go to the /wp-content file directory in this folder, find the /plugins directory inside /wp-content, and rename /plugins to something like /plugins.old.

Alternatively, you can go to every individual plugin and rename them with a .old extension. This will manually deactivate all the plugins.

#Step 2: Now, we will deactivate the current theme to activate the default theme. Go to /wp-content and head over to /themes. You’ll see your current theme named something as current_theme. Rename this theme as current_theme.old.

This will deactivate your current theme that is causing problems, and your default WordPress theme will be activated.

#Step 3: Enable the WP_DEBUG mode to scrutinize the exact issue. To do this, go to public_html folder again, find a file named wp-config.php and add the following lines of code at the end of the wp-config.php file:

error_reporting (E_ALL);
ini_set(‘display_errors’, 1);
define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);

This will give you a list of errors that are probably causing the White Screen of Death to appear. Though this doesn’t resolve the problem directly, it will provide you with a fair idea of what’s happening.

#Step 4: There is a fair possibility that nothing happens to your website after making these changes. If that is the case, try deleting the cache files from your web browser once.

Press Control + Shift + Delete in your web browser and click on “Clear data.” The same can be done by pressing Command + Shift + Delete if you are a Mac user.

Other Miscellaneous Errors

#PHP Memory Limit Exhausted

Your site has expanded over time, and now it needs more memory to keep itself together. Contact your web host to increase the memory limit assigned to you.

#Auto-Upgrade Feature Failure

WordPress likes to keep you updated, and sometimes, it messes up in doing so. You can manually update the WordPress version through FTP if you find an error message saying that auto-update has failed.

#Database Connection Error

There could be a possible glitch in the database triggering a chain reaction of errors leading up to White Screen of Death. WP Debug feature is going to come in handy in this case.

Conclusion

We have talked about all possible scenarios where you can face the White Screen of Death in WordPress. The first step in each resolution would be to isolate the exact issue. Is it the server? Is it a plugin? As soon as you find that out, one of the steps mentioned above would fix the problem for you. If you still fail, don’t worry and hire WordPress experts to fix the error.

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