Getting a blank page in the WordPress page is a common error, usually referred to as the white screen of death (WSoD). It is a very frustrating error because it doesn’t give any error message that you can use to identify the problem. Worse still, it simply locks you out of using your affected WordPress pages.
The funny thing about this error is that it may only affect some of your website’s parts while the other parts can continue functioning normally. For example, you may experience this error inside your admin panel while every other part of your website works just fine.
Sometimes this error may only affect some pages, while the rest of the page will be okay.
Solving this problem will require that you make some changes to your website. Just as a precaution, make sure you backup your website before making any changes. This will protect you should anything go wrong as you fix the WSoD. If you can’t access the admin dashboard, you have to create a WordPress backup manually.
What Causes the White Screen of Death?
Whenever the White Screen of Death occurs, it’s most likely that there’s a script that has exhausted its memory limit. When this happens, the script will become unresponsive. An unresponsive server can either time out, or the hosting server can kill it. This explains why the WSoD doesn’t generate any message, and all you’ll see is a white screen.
Another cause of the WSoD is when you’ve installed an unprofessionally coded plugin or theme on your website. Poorly coded plugins or themes can never run seamlessly with the WordPress software and will not only cause the WSoD but many other errors on your website.
In some cases, you can experience the WSoD when there’s a problem with your hosting server. In this case, it will be upon your hosting provider to resolve the problems. The only thing you can do is to alert them of the problem.
Since many issues cause this error, you have to conduct methodical troubleshooting to provide the best solution.
Does the WSoD Occur on Other Websites?
The first step in solving this problem is to find out where it is coming from. That is, whether it is from your own website or your hosting company. If you have another WordPress website hosted by the same company, check if this other website has the same problem.
If you don’t have another website hosted by the same company, you can ask your friends served by the same company if they also experience the same problem. If the problem occurs across the board on all websites hosted by this company, then it is their server that has issues. There could be a temporary problem with their server, and you’ll have to contact them to help you.
Let us now look at the various methods you can use to fix this problem.
Various Methods To Fix White Screen of Death:
1. Using the Recovery Mode
WordPress has a recovery mode that you can use to fix this problem, particularly if the problem results from a theme or plugin. The latest version of WordPress software has a protection feature that is capable of catching errors.
So, in some cases, you may not see the WSoD but a message that your website has some technical difficulties. So, when you see the message “The site is experiencing technical difficulties,” it could show that your site has a problem that causes the White Screen of Death.
Alternatively, a message will be sent to your email address reading “Your Site is Having a Technical Issue” on the subject line. The best thing about this email is that it will indicate the plugin occasioning the WSoD error. This email will also have a link that will help you log into your website in the recovery mode then deactivate the defective plugin.
Nonetheless, if your screen turns white and you’ve not received any recovery message in your email, then you’ll have to fix this problem manually. But before you do that, you need to update your WordPress software to see if this can fix the problem.
2. Increase the PHP Memory Limit
As stated earlier, the WSoD error occurs when a script goes beyond the memory limit set by your hosting company. The script will quit before it is executed, and the page will go blank. To solve this problem, you must provide the script with enough PHP memory to be executed to completion.
You have to learn how to increase your website’s PHP memory if you want to do it independently. Otherwise, you can talk to your hosting provider to increase it for you.
3. Disable All Plugins
If you have increased the PHP memory, but the problem persists, it could result from your WordPress theme or a specific plugin. You can disable all the plugins then test your website whether or not the problem is still there. If you still have access to the admin dashboard, scroll to Plugins, then Installed Plugins. You’ll see a list of all the plugins you’ve installed. Click to select all the plugins, then click Bulk Actions. You see a drop-down menu, then click “Deactivate.” This will deactivate all the plugins at once.
If you can’t access the WordPress dashboard, you’ll have to go through FTP to deactivate the plugins. To do this, access your website via an FTP client, then look for the folder labeled wp-content. In this folder, you’ll find another folder labeled “Plugins.” Right-click on it, then choose “Rename” and give it a new name like deactivated plugins.
When WordPress loads, it will look for the plugins folder, and if it can’t find it, it will deactivate all of them. Test your website to see if the problem is fixed. If it is fixed, then the problem was resulting from a faulty plugin.
Your next step would be to enable one plugin at a time while you test the website until you identify which one is causing the problem. Once you’ve found the culprit, replace it with another plugin, or report the problem to the plugin creators so they can update it.
4. Revert to the Default Theme
In certain cases, the WSoD error can be caused by a defective theme. If this is the case, then reverting to the default theme can fix the problem. Access your website via FTP then look for a folder labeled /wp-content/themes/. This is the folder that contains all the themes installed on your site. Right-click on your current theme, then download and save it on your computer to back it up.
Next, right-click on your current theme folder, then click delete. FTP will delete the theme from your WordPress site, and the site will automatically revert to the default theme like Twenty Nineteen or Twenty Eighteen if you have either of them installed on your website. If you don’t have a default theme already installed, then you’ll have to install one manually using FTP.
Test your site again to see if the problem is still there. If not, then the theme is the cause of the problem. Check the functions.php file at the bottom. If you find some spaces, remove them. This can solve the problem. However, if the theme is faulty, you’ll need to discard it and download a new one and install it. This will clear the problem.
5. Enabling Debug Mode
Another way to fix wp-admin not working blank page is by enabling the debug mode so you can catch some WordPress errors. The debug mode allows you to see the errors that affect your website. Go to your wp-config.php file and add the code lines below into it.
- define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
- define( ‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true );
After you add the above code lines, the White Screen of Death will now show notices and warnings that can help you know your website’s problems. If the screen does not show any errors, visit your site’s wp-content folder and look for the debug.log file. This file should have all the warnings, notices, and errors which can help you fix the WSoD.
6. Clearing the WordPress Cache
If you can access your site’s backend, but the front end shows the WSoD, the problem could be resulting from your caching plugin. By clearing your cache, the WSoD should be gone.
7. Fix Longer Articles
If all the processes above fail to fix the WSoD error, then the problem could be arising from the text processing ability of your site’s PHP. If that’s the case, you can increase your site’s backtrack and recursion limit by copying and pasting these code lines into the wp-config.php file.
/** Trick for long posts */
Make sure you click Save after pasting the codes. This should fix the problem.
The White Screen of Death error is quite frustrating, and it can make you feel frightened if you have never dealt with such a problem before. Fortunately, it is a problem that you can fix on your own. Just follow the steps above, one after the other, until you fix the problem. The above problems are simple, but you can hire an expert to fix this error for you if you are too busy. Also, don’t forget to keep your WordPress software, theme, and all plugins up-to-date.
Joe has been using WordPress for many years, building many different types of websites along the way. Joe now enjoys working as a freelance content writer and is available for hire.