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How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death!

September 10, 2018 | Ajay Dhumal |


White screen of death is one of the most frustrating errors for users. If you have been using WordPress for many years then you might have found this error at least once. 

          You build your blog by taking lots of efforts and suddenly you get lock out of your website. This is kind of dead signal for your website. That's why it is better to understand possibilities of white screen of death. 

          In this blog, we will show you how to fix the WordPress white screen of death by looking at a few possible solutions.

Why this issue occurs? 

          Most of time the reason you see the white screen of death is exhausted memory limit. It could also be caused by a defective theme that you are using. It could also mean that there is an issue with your web hosting server. This could be caused by a plugin that you may be using that is not functioning properly. As you see it can be caused by many possibilities, so it requires a lot of troubleshooting.


Methods to fix white screen of death 

Note: Before you make any changes to your site, make sure you have backups of your files.

  1. Troubleshooting by disabling all plugins

          In our experience of troubleshooting this issue, we have always found that the issue is either with a specific plugin or a theme. Let’s go ahead and disable all the plugins. 

          First, deactivate all plugins using FTP 

          You need to connect to your website using FTP client, or File Manager in cPanel. Once connected, you need to navigate to the /wp-content/ folder.

          Inside the wp-content folder, you will see a folder called plugins. This is where WordPress stores all plugins installed on your website. 

          Click on the plugins folder and Rename name of the plugins folder to anything that you like. Once you do this, all of your plugins will be deactivated. 

          This method is used when you are locked out of your admin area. If the issue was with your plugins, then you should be able your WordPress admin area. 

          Once you do that, go back to your /wp-content/ folder and rename back to plugins. Now you can activate one plugin at a time until your site breaks again. At which point, you will know exactly which plugin caused the issue. 

          If you reach the admin panel then deactivate all plugins from backend and install plugins one by one until your site breaks again. At which point, you will know exactly which plugin caused the issue. When you find the plugin that causes an issue. Solve that issue.

2. Increasing the Memory Limit

          First, you need to edit the wp-config.php file on your WordPress site. It is located in your WordPress site’s root folder, and you will need to use an FTP client or file manager in your web hosting control panel. 

          Next, you need to paste this code in file just before the line that says ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.’ 

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M'); 

          This code tells WordPress to increase the PHP memory limit to 256MB. Once you are done, you need to save your changes and upload your wp-config.php file back to your server. 

          You can now visit your WordPress site and white screen of death should disappear now. If increasing the memory limit did not help, or if you have a high memory limit like 256M or 512M, then you need to start troubleshooting.  

3. Trobleshooting by Debugger and debug the issue - 

          You can also use the WordPress debug function to see what type of errors are being outputted. Add the following code in your wp-config.php file. 

define('WP_DEBUG', true); 

          Once you add this, the blank screen will now have errors, warnings, and notices. These may be able to help you determine the root cause. When you solve that cause it might solve the problem of the white screen of death.

 4. Change Your Theme with a Default Theme - 

          If the plugin troubleshooting doesn’t fix the issue, then you should try replacing your current theme with a default twenty seventeen theme. The best way to do this is by backing up your theme folder. Then after deleting the theme in backend, WordPress will automatically fall back to the default theme. 

          If this fixes the issue, then you should look at your theme’s functions.php file. If there are extra spaces at the bottom or top, then you should consider fixing it. If you are using a poorly coded function in your theme’s functions.php file, then it can cause this as well. 

5. Some other Methods - 

          If you have access to the backend, but the front-end of the site has the white screen of death. This can happen because of a caching plugin. Simply empty your cache by cache plugin. 

          Sometimes, you have a white screen of death only on a very long post page, and then you should also try to clear cache. Another trick that we have found to work is increasing the recursion and backtrack limit. You can paste the following code in your wp-config.php file. Or on some servers, you will be required to modify your PHP File. 

ini_set('pcre.recursion_limit',20000000); ini_set('pcre.backtrack_limit',10000000);

          If none of the above fixes it, then you should try to re-install a fresh copy of WordPress. While it is unlikely, but it is always possible that a core file may have been corrupted. This will fix the problem of the white screen of death. 

Does the problem occur on your other sites? 

          If you have multiple sites, then the first thing you should do is to make sure that the WordPress white screen of death is happening across the board or just on this one domain. If the issue is with all of your sites, then it is a strong indicator that your web hosting provider is having some issues. However, if the issue is only with one of your sites, then this could be an issue with a plugin or theme that you are running. If the issue is only happening with a single post or page, then you know it is definitely a problem with your specific site.


          We know that this error is a very frustrating error; we hope that one of the above methods fixed your issues. If you found another solution to work, then please let us know. We would be happy to expand our knowledge, so others do not have to waste as much time finding a solution.

About the author


Ajay Dhumal

An enthusiastic Developer in Wordpress, core PHP and JQuery who loves to share his knowledge.