The WordPress White Screen of Death is, frustrating. Honestly. When you’re in the middle of something, it’s like unexpectedly you’re struck by lightening. Sometimes, the reasons might be obvious.
For example, you might have activated a new plugin, or might be working on one, which might have caused the issue. Then you know for sure the white screen was because of the plugin, and you can resolve the issue accordingly.
Steps to Resolve the White Screen of Death
But when when you’re absolutely clueless, and the error message doesn’t help either. Maybe you don’t even see one. I recently faced a similar problem, and I tried various possible means to fix it, and one finally worked. I knew these steps would help anybody stuck in my situation, so I have made a list, which is a sort of guide for any of you wanting to resolve this issue.
1. Set WP_DEBUG to ‘true’
Start by setting debugging mode on, to view any errors. Open wp-config file.
- Locate define(‘WP_DEBUG’, false) and change it to define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
- Since you are already at the wp-config file, check the file for any white spaces. The wp-config file is one of the most important files in your WordPress installation. Some extra spaces, may be causing an issue, and you would be better off correcting them. Save the file and continue.
- If there is an error shown, you’ll know exactly what the problem is and resolve it.
- Else you can continue with the steps.
Debug Mode Shows an Error: If there is an error clearly stated, you would know exactly where to locate it.
- Figure out the location of the error, and try deactivating the particular theme or plugin.
- If you notice the error still persists despite fixing it, or the error might be present for no apparent reason at all, it could be because of a file transfer issue. Replace the particular file, and try again.
- Also, try deactivating any caching plugins, and try again.
2. Increase Memory Limit
Sometimes, it could be a memory error. You might have seen a ‘memory exhausted’ error message being displayed. The memory by default, is set to ‘128M’. To increase the limit say to ‘256M’, you need to make the following changes in wp-config file:
- define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);
- define (‘WP_MAX_MEMORY’, ‘256M’);
- If nothing works, add memory_limit = 256M; in your local php.ini file (you can locate the file using phpinfo() function):
3. Deactivate All Plugins
Most likely, it could be a plugin issue. A plugin you most likely recently activated, updated, modified, might be causing a problem. If you have FTP access, the simplest to do, is deactivate all plugins by renaming the plugins folder. If not, you can deactivate the plugins using phpmyadmin. If you do not know which plugin caused the issue, try activating one plugin at a time, to locate the troublesome plugin.
4. Deactivate Current Theme
So, it wasn’t a plugin issue? The next most likely place to test, is a theme. Deactivate the current theme, which will activate a default WordPress theme, and test if things work.
5. Check for Extra Spaces in functions.php
If you have located that your current theme is causing a problem, check your functions.php file. Locate any extra spaces which may have been causing the issue. It may seem trivial, but it could be the issue.
6. Check for iframes Before the Header
Your site might have been hacked. Get rid of any iframes present, that should not have been there.
7. Restore the Database
This is not the final resort, but the best bet you have. Remember how everyone keeps on telling you that it is important to have a backup of your database? It is to help you on a rainy day. And guess what, the rain is here, and it’s pouring. When nothing else has helped you, there was no issue with any of the files, most likely there could be an update or configuration issue. Backup and Restore your database and check if things work.
The White Screen of Death could be caused because of several reasons. A plugin issue, a theme problem, file transfer issue, memory problem, etc. Just try the above stated steps, and you should be good. If not, maybe some of our readers have additional tips for you.