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How to fix WordPress white screen error

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Updated December 23, 2016
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WordPress White Screen Error

How to fix WordPress white screen error


Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

WordPress White Screen Error

Are you facing the WordPress white screen issue? It’s frustrating no errors just the white screen! Don’t worry we will help you fix this white screen error quickly.

WordPress no doubt is the leading and most popular CMS framework in the market. It has more than 58% of CMS market share.

We all love the flexibility it offers, we love the plugins that help us extend the functionality, themes that help us do the makeover of our website. It makes your digital content management task easy.

But do you know that these plugins and themes sometime cause the white screen issue? Yes, in many cases faulty plugins and poorly designed themes cause the white screen error.

Let’s get back to the point, we will address the white screen issue with most common cause and remedy to least common cause and it’s remedy. Try following the steps described below.

I hope you are on the Linux based hosting with CPanel support. CPanel makes the following steps execution simple and easier. If you don’t have CPanel support then FTP will be your best friend.

Memory Limit

The WordPress execution memory limit is generally the common cause of white screen error. Extending the memory limit would be an easy to test solution. In many case it just works!

You may probably know that the WordPress framework is build on top of the PHP programming language. When we are referring the memory limits we are referring to the WordPress execution memory limit.

In majority of the cases your setup is running single WordPress website. And the default memory allocation for WordPress should be 40Mb. We need to increase it give this solution a trial run.

We need to edit the wp-config.php file. Login to your CPanel, click the File Manager under the Files section like shown in the image below:

Fix WSOD error CPanel

You should be able to see the list of files. Please select the wp-config.php file and right click on it. On the context menu select the edit code file.

It should open the file in code editing mode on the new tab. You need to add the following code at the end of the file. The code file should look something like below:

02-fix-wsod-error-file-editor

The code you need to add:

// ** memory limit ** //

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘64M’);

Once you add the code, hit the save changes button and then hit the close button. You changes are saved and we are good to go with testing.

Now open the website in new browser tab, see if it’s working or not. If you can see your website loading, congratulations you get your website up and running again.

If it’s still not working, don’t worry just follow the steps mentioned below.

Validating common things before moving ahead:

Do you have other WordPress websites hosted with the same web hosting server? Try accessing them are you getting the same white screen error?

If yes, then you have nothing to worry. It is probably the web server’s fault and it will get resolved soon. You have no action to take here.

If other sites are working fine and only your website is getting the white screen error, then you may need to execute the following steps.

Identifying the Plugin issue:

We all love WordPress plugins right, we get all our desired functionality with the help of various plugins. WordPress has the largest number of plugin repository comparing with other CMS counterparts.

But you know sometimes a poorly coded plugin or multiple plugin conflict can cause the wordpress white screen error?

We will identify and resolve the plugin related issue in three easy steps.

Disabling all the plugins

Before identifying the faulty plugin and investing the efforts we need to make sure that plugin(s) are the cause of white screen error.

Login to the CPanel. You will see the listing of files and directories. You need to double click the wp-content directory.

You will be able to see the number of files and directories under the wp-content. Please rename the Plugins directory with Plugins-bkp.

What it does? We actually the rename the Plugins directory. So now when WordPress tries to load the activated plugins while loading the website it would be able the find the plugins files as we changed the plugins directory name.

This makes WordPress load the website without initializing or executing any of your plugin code.

If the issue still persist then it’s not the plugins causing the issue. Please revert the directory name from Plugins-bkp to Plugins.

 

If this trick works and you are able to see the website loading. It pretty sure that plugin(s) are causing the issue.

Identifying the faulty plugin

So we are sure that the plugins are causing the white screen issue. Now please revert the directory name to Plugins again.

Now double click the Plugins directory and you should be able to see the list of directories like the image below.

 

White screen of death - error from plugins

 

These are a list of plugins I have installed on my WordPress setup. Yours will be bit different, but it should list the same.

Now you need to rename each of the directory one by one and try loading the website in new tab to check if the issue still persist or resolved.

Once you find a faulty plugin, you can keep the directory renamed or you can delete the plugin. Login to admin panel and try uninstalling the plugin.

Identifying the Theme issue:

Well, I know you love to have a makeover your website. And WordPress theme is an easy and in most cases cost effective way to change look and feel of your website.

If you just added and activated a new theme and you are receiving the error, there are strong chances that the theme is causing the issue.

What’s the solution? We need to rename that theme directory to see if it helps use resolve the issue or not.

Login to CPanel and double click the wp-content directory. You would see the list of files and directory, double click the themes directory.

It will display a list of different themes you have installed on your WordPress website. It should look something like an image below, directory name may change depending on themes you installed.

White screen of death

Rename the theme directory that you just installed. Renaming the active theme would make WordPress fall back to the latest default theme (in our case it will be twentysixteen theme).

If things start working normal again, you have a theme issue causing the white screen error.

How to fix theme issue?

So we know that a theme was causing the issue. You need to delete that theme directory and delete the theme from WordPress admin.

Usually a good WordPress comes with documentation and regular update cycle. Just download the latest version of your theme from the website.

Install that theme and activate it to check if things still working or not. In majority of cases it helps you resolve the issue.

Hope it helps you resolve the issue. If you still have the white screen issue that is something wrong with wordpress core file or you may need a complete reset of WordPress, Plugins, and themes. In that case I would recommend you seek for a professional help.

Conclusion:

We discussed the four most common cause and their remedy to fix the WordPress white screen issue. It should help your resolve the error, if not or you are confused with any step please let us know in the comment section below.

Author Bio:

Darshan is the founder of AlphansoTech a WordPress Development Company. He loves to share actionable how guides on WordPress that help individual solve a problem. He is a professional web and WordPress developer. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

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