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WordPress White Screen Of Death Error: Fix it yourself Guide

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Suppose this. You start your PC to work on your newly built website. It’s got those nice graphics and filled with great content. You imagine that you are going to rock the SERPs in the coming days. But when you log into the WordPress website, what you see is a white screen of DEATH.

Wait, what? A WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH (WSoD). What?

wordpress white screen

Source: WpBeginner

Your life starts revolving around you in circles, and the blood gushes to your brain.

If this has happened to you or if this is happening right now – which is the possible reason because you are searching for the topic -, then here are a few ways to get it resolved. But first.

Take a deep breath.

The White Screen of death is the biggest nightmare for many beginner WordPress users. But why does it happen? Is it a technical fault, or is it human error? In this article, we will discuss all that, and we will also discuss how to fix the White Screen of death.

Why Does the WordPress White Screen Of Death error appear?

A few reasons why you get the WordPress Admin White Screen of Death are:

    • 1.   You installed a plugin or an update that is incompatible with another piece of software in WordPress.
    • 2.  Your website theme conflicts with some other functionality on your website. It can be a plugin or a script.
    3.   Your website is missing some theme files that are essential for WordPress to run your website.


What WordPress White Screen of Death Is Not!

    • It isn’t a server issue
    • It isn’t related to hacking
    • Your website is not down
  • Your website data is not stolen

Now what? You have the WordPress white screen of death, and it is disturbing the flow of traffic to your website. So, what should you do to get the site back?

Good news! There is always a reason available to find out why your WordPress installation received the White Screen Of Death. Also, you can get back your website from the White Screen of Death by following these steps.

Steps to Solve WordPress White Screen of Death Error

Follow these steps to quickly solve the WordPress white screen of death error in your WordPress installation. We have listed all the steps to resolve the White Screen of Death error so that you don’t have to worry about it.

1.  Clear Browser Cache

First thing first. Clean your browser cache to get things rolling. In some cases, you can get a WordPress white screen of death error if your browser is outdated.

wordpress white screen

You can also check the ‘Advanced’ option if you are using the Chrome browser.

In the advanced options, you can quickly check what things you want to check.

wordpress white screen

Once you have cleared the browser history, flush your computer’s DNS.

Open site CMD and in the command prompt, type the following code.

“ipconfig /flushdns” (without the quotes).

Do you still see the white screen of death? If not, congratulations, you have resolved the problem. If you still see the error, then move on with other steps.

2.  Do You Have Access to Dashboard?

First of all, check if you still have access to the dashboard panel of WordPress.
Open the dashboard by typing URL (example.com/wp-admin). Is the site accessible? If yes, then log in and do the following:

    • Rollback to the original theme
    • Deactivate all theme plugins
    • Backup your files using the WordPress export option
    • Update WordPress to the latest version

Hopefully, now your website’s front page will stop showing the WSoD error message. Now activate each plugin one by one. If the plugins work successfully, maybe the theme was the problem. To check if the theme was the problem, enable it.

Since you already have the data backed up, you can easily change the theme or install a new version of the same theme easily.

3.  Rolling Back WordPress Theme

Is the WordPress theme the problem of the WordPress White Screen error?

Maybe. But the only way to find out is to roll back the WordPress theme. Here is how to get this done.

Use FTP or SFTP to get access to your WordPress server. Once inside, check for the WordPress theme folder.

wordpress white screen

Source: Cpanel WordPress folder

Now rename the WordPress theme folder from ‘themes’ to something else. By doing so, WordPress will activate the official theme that came with the CMS installation.

Now check if your website is working successfully.

    • If the theme was the issue, you would have to delete this theme folder and install a new theme from scratch.
    • If you can get a developer on board, he/she will be able to clean the theme of any errors that your website was facing. However, this option will be costly.

If the website is still not working, you will have to do the same process with WordPress plugins.

4.  Rolling Back WordPress Plugins

If changing the theme folder did not affect the WordPress installation, your next best step is to roll back the WordPress plugin.

Now, go back to the server and open the WordPress folder. Now, change the name of ‘plugins’ inside the Wp-Content folder to something else. This will deactivate all plugins installed on your WordPress website.

Now that you have disabled all plugins, you can log into the WordPress dashboard and check what plugin was causing the problem.

To check which plugin was causing the problem, activate each plugin separately.

    • Go to the Plugins option in WordPress. Now activate a WordPress plugin. Refresh your website to make sure that it is working correctly. Deactivate the plugin.
    • Now repeat the same process on another plugin. Repeat the process until you have found the culprit.

When you have found the plugin that was causing the problem on your WordPress website, remove it from your WordPress installation. You can also contact the plugin developer to find out if there is an update available to the WordPress plugin or not.

5.  Review Other WordPress Changes

We hope that your WordPress problem will be solved by now. If it hasn’t been solved yet, then change the following files:

    • Wp-config file
    • .Htaccess file

Changes on Wp-config.php and .htaccess will not be visible to the average user. However, people who are already interested in WordPress but don’t have the unmodified version of these two files can install a new version of WordPress on their websites.

6.   Change Server Memory Limit and Execution Time

Another reason why WSoD appears on your system is that you have exhausted the memory limit of your server. To get it fixed, simply change the server memory limit.

Start by adjusting the memory limit in the following files. But make sure that you don’t receive an error message that recommends setting them to a specific limit.

–   Open the file Wp-config.php and then change the memory limit to ‘64M’ in the following code.

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

–   Now, change the .htaccess file. This is usually hidden in the public_html folder. So, you have to get to this file from the FTP or SFTP folders. If you are using CPanel, the file is also accessible. Type the following code in it:

php_value memory_limit 64M

–  Now open the php.ini file. Add the following code to it to make sure that the memory limit is extended to 64M. The code you have to enter is:

memory_limit = 64M

–   Now, save all files. Restart the WordPress website again to check if it works. If there was a problem related to the WordPress memory limit, the changes you made would have solved the problem.

However, if you still see the WSoD, then there is a chance that the maximum execution time is expiring too soon. Sometimes, the server is slow and now able to fetch the information to the client (which is you in our case). You can start with 60 seconds and then move onwards to a time that suits you.

Two files to change the settings for WSoD are:

Changing the limit in .htaccess file. If the code is not already in the file, simply add the following line.

php_value max_execution_time 60

Next, you need to add this to the php.ini file. The code will be inside the file. So you just need to change the value from whatever it is to ’60’. It means 60ms.

max_execution_time = 60

Once you have made the changes in the files, save them. Now restart your WordPress website. If there was some error regarding the server execution time, it would have been solved by adding the following solution.

If the problem still persists, you can move to the solution available below.

7.   Check for File Permissions

In rare cases, file permissions are the culprit of the WSoD problem. While this case is highly rare, there is a chance that file permissions can cause problems. So, what you need to do is to follow the rules. WordPress has provided strict rules for permissions:

    • Files should have the permission 664 or 644,
    • Folders should have the permission 775 or 755
    • The wp-config.php file should have the permission 660, 600, or 644

So, if you are using an SSH server, then use the following rules for each file. Open the SSH server and add the following commands to it.

sudo find . -type f -exec chmod 664 {} +
sudo find . -type d -exec chmod 775 {} +
sudo chmod 660 wp-config.php

Once you have applied the appropriate rules, restart your WordPress file to make sure that the site opens up without the WSoD error.

8.  Check for Failed Auto-Update

Sometimes the WSoD error occurs because of failed WordPress updates. So, to solve this problem, you need to delete the maintenance file from the root directory of your WordPress website.

Here is how the whole process works:

    • Open WordPress directory. There will be a .maintenance file available. This file indicates that your WordPress website is under maintenance, and it shows a white screen when someone tries to access the site.

wordpress white screen

Source: WPBeginner
    • Once you have located the .maintenance file in WordPress, delete it from your system. If you are using FTP, simply right click on the file to delete it. However, if you are using the SSH command prompt to delete files, use the following code: rm .maintenance
    • Once the file is deleted from your WordPress directory, check if the WordPress website works. If it does, then your problem is solved. However, if the issue is not resolved, then you have only one last solution available.

9.   Last Resort: Reinstall WordPress

So, your problem is not solved, and you are still getting the WordPress White Screen of Death error on your website. The best option available right now is to reinstall WordPress. Here is how to do that.

    • Open your website’s backend by using FTP or any other directory explorer available to you.
    • Create a backup of WordPress uploads. The uploads will include images you upload to your WordPress website.

wordpress white screen

Source: Envira Gallery
    • Now delete each folder available in your Public_html folder. This will delete the WordPress directory as well. Once you are done, it is time to reinstall a new file.
    • If you don’t want to delete the old database, that is also fine. The old database will have all your site data. You can create a backup of the database by using PHPMyAdmin.

wordpress white screen

Source: WPBeginner

Reinstall WordPress On Your Website:

    • Unzip this file and add everything in the WordPress folder to your Public_html folder.
    • Once all the files are added, launch your website dashboard to run the setup wizard. Example.com/wp-admin
    • Once you are done installing the new WordPress version, import back the old database to PHPMyAdmin. This will bring back all the posts, pages, users, widgets of your WordPress website. However, you will have to add the media again to your WordPress website by copying the contents of the old ‘WordPress’ folder to the new one.

How to Avoid WordPress White Screen Of Death Error?

We all fret because of the WordPress Screen of Death Error. But is there a way to avoid this error for good? We decided to get to the root of this problem. And, in our search, we found that you can avoid the WSoD error if you take specific steps.

    • Make sure that you update your website data, including the core, plugins, and themes before updating anything on the website. There are many backup plugins available such as UpdraftBackup Plus, and others.
    • Use a staging website to experiment, update, or alter core functionalities of your WordPress website. The staging website will not affect the actual site.
    • Make sure to have strict control over who is editing what in your WordPress website. This will help you track the person who made changes. Sometimes, the WSoD error can occur due to human error.

These tips will help you avoid the WordPress White Screen of Death error once and for all.

However, if the error still occurs, you can get help from the WPHelp team to fix the WSoD error for you. The WPHelp is a team of expert WordPress developers, and they know how to avoid many WordPress errors that can cause problems with your WordPress website and ultimately hit your profit targets.

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