How to Easily Fix The WordPress White Screen of Death Error

Trying to fix the WordPress white screen of death error? You are in the right place.

The WordPress white screen of death is a common WordPress error. One of the most frustrating things about this error is that there is no error message and WordPress is inaccessible for you.

Also, you might notice that sometimes a white screen of death error only appears on a particular part of your website. This makes the identification of the roots of the issue even more complex. 

However, there’s no need to panic just yet. The White Screen of Death is one of the most common errors that occur in WordPress. Fortunately, there are a handful of steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

Throughout this post, you’ll learn what the White Screen of Death is and what its possible causes are.

I’ll also explain to you how to fix the problem and how to prevent it in the future. 

Let’s get started!

What Is The WordPress White Screen of Death Error?

White Screen of Death (WSOD) occurs when, instead of the web page you are trying to open, you are presented with a blank white screen.

You might get different error messages based on the web browser you are using.

White screen of death WordPress

Here you can see just a blank white screen. It contains no useful errors or warning messages.

The White Screen of Death error on WordPress is usually caused by errors in PHP code or memory limits error.

An additional cause could be a bad theme or plugin.

If your WordPress admin is accessible, but the front end of your website is down, the problem is likely to come from your theme.

What Can Cause the WordPress White Screen of Death?

Your WordPress site might appear blank for a variety of reasons. In most cases, this issue arises from a PHP or database error.

WordPress lists three reasons that could account for this issue:

  1. There is an incompatibility between a plugin or its update and another piece of software on your website.
  2. There is a conflict between a theme and something already installed on your site (such as a plugin that calls the same script).
  3. WordPress does not have the theme file.

It’s not always that easy, however, to diagnose and fix a white screen in WordPress. There’s also a possibility that your PHP memory limit has been exhausted

It is also possible to see a WordPress blank page instead of what you’re supposed to be seeing if your server time-outs or a script becomes unresponsive.

Further, the problem might also arise from a problem with your host’s server.

Your main objective is to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Following are some guidelines on troubleshooting this error and how to prevent it from recurring in the future.

How to Fix The WordPress White Screen of Death Error

Step 1: Disable Your WordPress Plugins

Disabling all of your plugins is one of the easiest and most common ways to fix the WordPress WSoD. It is common for a site to be down due to a faulty plugin update.

bulk deactivate plugins

The quickest way to do this is to navigate to Plugins from the dashboard, select all plugins, and then click on Deactivate from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu.

If that solves the problem, you need to isolate the guilty plugin. To accomplish this, activate the plugins one by one, and reload the website after each activation until you get the white screen of death again.

When you have identify the plugin responsible for the white screen of death, contact the plugin’s developer or open a ticket in the WordPress Plugin Directory in order to receive help.

If you’re unable to log in to WordPress admin, you need to access your site’s files through your FTP client.

Look for the plugins folder in your root directory’s wp-content folder. Rename it to “plugins_old”.

Next, check your site’s front again.

If the white screen of death has disappeared, you will need to test each plugin separately.

Rename your plugin folder back to “plugins”, and then individually rename each plugin folder inside that folder until you track down the faulty one.

Manage hundreds of plugins in just one click

Add, Delete Update, Activate, Deactivate on all your websites

With WP Umbrella

Step 2: Replace Theme with a Default Theme

If the plugin troubleshooting does not resolve the issue, you might want to consider changing your current theme to a default one.

You will need to connect to your site via an FTP client and then navigate to /wp-content/themes/. You can find all the installed themes on your website here.

Select the current theme and download it as a backup.

After that, you should delete your current theme. Choose ‘Delete’ from the menu when you right-click on your theme folder. The theme will now be removed from your website through your FTP client.

WordPress default theme

As such, if you have the default WordPress theme installed on your website (Twenty Twenty-One), WordPress will automatically use that theme.

If this fixes your issue, you should explore your theme’s functions.php file. Sometimes removing extra spaces from the bottom of the file will resolve the issue.

This error can also be caused by poorly coded functions in your theme’s functions.php file.

It might be a good idea to download a fresh copy of your theme from its original source and then install it.

Step 3: Review Your Other WordPress Integrations

WordPress plugins and themes are not the only sources of conflict, as CDNs and SSL certificates can also cause the white screen of death.

If a wrong combination is struck, maybe a CDN provider conflicts with the SSL provider, your website could go down. Keeping an eye out for anything new you may have installed or connected to your WordPress site is always a good idea.

You should uninstall or deactivate any recent updates made to the WordPress platform if you have altered anything within the last 24 hours, even if it is outside of WordPress.

If this step resolves the WSoD, then you may want to consider alternative integrations or contact the provider for a solution.

Step 4: Increasing the Memory Limit

This error usually occurs when a script has run out of memory and quits in the middle. This can be fixed by increasing the PHP memory limit of WordPress.

As a result, the script will be able to use more memory to perform the task it was assigned.

You can change the memory limit in the wp-config.php file by adding the following code:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

Step 5: Enable Debug Mode to Catch Errors in WordPress

Monitoring PHP errors to fix the white screen of death error

The next step is to enable debugging in WordPress if nothing else has worked. Using this, you will be able to see what type of errors are being generated by your website.

Open the wp-config.php file of your WordPress install to enable debugging and look for this piece of code:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );

Replace “false” with “true”, and then reload your site.

It can also be added to the top of the file if it does not already exist.

If you are uncomfortable with this, you can also install WP Umbrella to automatically monitor PHP errors and prevent this from happening in the first place.

The white screen will be replaced by a white screen and error messages. While it’s not a huge improvement, it’s still a start. If you get a WSOD error message, it should state the file where the error began, for example:

Cannot redeclare get_posts() (previously declared in 
/var/www/wp-includes/post.php:187) in 
/var/www/wp-content/plugins/W3Cache/library.php on line 142

Here, you can see that the error is related to line 142 of a plugin named W3Cache.

The issue can therefore be troubleshot easily by disabling that plugin.

Step 6: Check File Permission Issues

file permission wordpress

Ownership and permission issues are also possible causes of the WSoD. Fixing this problem on your own is possible. Our recommendation is to avoid it unless you have the required expertise, as any misstep could result in a vulnerability that an attacker can exploit inadvertently.

WordPress permissions can be broken down into three simple steps:

  • Ideally, files should be set to 664 or 644.
  • It is recommended that the folders are set to 775 or 755.
  • WP-config.php’s value must be 660, 600, or 644.

The following command can be run from the root WordPress directory of your server if you have SSH access to it:

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

It is best to ask your web host for help if you aren’t sure how to do this.

Step 7: Contact Your Hosting Provider For Support

The white screen of death should have disappeared by now. If after following the above steps nothing appears to be working, it might be time to ask your host for help.

Typically, the support team at your host should be able to provide you with insights into changes that occurred on your website or server lately. Your host is the only one who can assist you at this point.

It doesn’t hurt to open a support ticket so that you can determine the cause of the problem, so that your site can be up and running again as soon as possible.

Preventing the WordPress White Screen of Death Error From Happening Again

WordPress has a sensitive nature and is easily upset when there is a bad change. The seven steps discussed above illustrate this fact.

A simple plugin update could take your website offline and block your access to it (at least from the WordPress wp-admin screen).

Having now learned what to do when WordPress shows a blank white screen, let’s summarize what you should do to prevent it from happening again:

  • Keep daily backups of your website on a separate server or platform. 
  • Keep an eye on any updates made to your WordPress core, plugins, or themes, even when they are automated. 
  • Whenever you manually update WordPress, always test them in a staging environment first to ensure nothing else on the site is affected.
  • For the same reason, always test your site’s code before making any changes to ensure there are no issues.
  • Make sure you have a system in place for tracking user edits so you can know who did what at what time

I hope you like this article about the WordPress WSoD!