How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death Error

The WordPress white screen of death (WSoD) is one of the most common WordPress errors. It’s also one of the most annoying because no error message appears, and you’re locked out of WordPress.

Another issue with the white screen of death error is that it may only affect a part of your website.

For example, you might only see a white screen of death inside the WordPress admin area, but everything else appears to be fine. In other circumstances, you may only see it on a certain post while everything else works well.

In this post, we’ll look at a few possible ways to fix the WordPress white screen of death error.

Why Do You Get the White Screen of Death in WordPress?

Below are some most common causes of a WordPress white screen of death error:

  • No space left: PHP scripts on the website have reached their memory limit or maximum execution time.
  • Incompatible plugins: WordPress plugins that are poorly coded or outdated often show this white screen of death on users’ browsers.
  • Wrong themes: The active theme is incompatible with WordPress’s current version.
  • Corrupted files: Mistakes in coding for core files, such as functions.php, and wp-config.php, can corrupt a site and make it unresponsive.

Any of these factors can cause your site or a certain web page to display a blank white screen, as shown in the image below.

WordPress Showing White Screen of Death in Mozilla Firefox

7 Ways to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death Error

WordPress WSoD is an error that you can easily fix. You might need to go through a few different troubleshooting steps to find the exact problem.

There is no need to hire a developer for this. You can fix it all by yourself. Simply follow the methods below.

Note: The following methods involve making changes to your website core files. We highly advise that you back up your website first.

There are so many backup plugins available, but the UpdraftPlus plugin allows you to upload your work to different cloud storage sites.

Once you’ve got your backup, you can try to solve the problem by going through these troubleshooting steps.

1. Increase WordPress Memory Limit

Usually, this error occurs when a script runs out of memory and stops in the middle of its execution. To resolve this, you need to increase the PHP memory available to WordPress.

As a result, the script will be able to use additional memory to complete the task.

You can see our post on how to increase the WordPress PHP memory limit.

2. Disable Your All Plugins

One of the easy ways to fix the WordPress WSoD is to disable all of your plugins. Sometimes, a site goes down due to a bad plugin update.

If you can still access your WordPress admin area, go to the Plugins » Installed Plugins page. Select all installed plugins, then choose Deactivate from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu.

Deactivate All Plugins Through WordPress Admin Area

This will disable all of your plugins.

If that resolves the problem, you’ll need to identify the culprit. To do this, start activating the plugins one by one and reloading the site after each activation. When your frontend goes down, you’ve detected the misbehaving plugin.

After that, you can contact the plugin’s developer or submit a support ticket in the WordPress Plugin Directory.

However, if you don’t have access to the WordPress admin area, you’ll have to use FTP to disable all plugins.

To start, use an FTP client to connect to your WordPress site. Once you’ve connected, navigate to the wp-content folder and look for the plugins folder.

Next, right-click on the plugins folder and select Rename. You can rename the plugins folder to plugins-deactivated.

The plugins folder has been renamed by your FTP client.

To load all plugins, WordPress looks for a folder called plugins. When it cannot find the folder, it simply deactivates all plugins.

If this solves the problem, try enabling one plugin at a time until you find the cause of the problem. Once you’ve identified the plugin that’s causing the problem, you can either remove it or report the issue to the plugin’s authors.

3. Switch to a Default WordPress Theme

If a plugin doesn’t cause the issue, the White Screen of Death could be caused by your WordPress theme. To see if this is the problem, replace your theme with the default one.

If you can access your admin area, navigate to Appearance » Themes in your dashboard. Locate and activate a pre-installed WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty-Two.

After that, test your website again. If it works, you’ll know that the issue is with your theme.

However, if you don’t have access to the WordPress admin area, the process is the same as it is with plugins.

Use an FTP client to connect to your WordPress site. Once you’ve connected, navigate to the wp-content/themes folder and Rename your themes folder to something else.

WordPress will then revert to the most recent default theme, which is most likely Twenty Twenty-Two. If you don’t already have a theme, you can get one from the WordPress Theme Directory and install it in your themes folder.

After that, go ahead and double-check your website again. If it works, it’s possible that your theme had a conflict or a poor update. If this is the issue, you may need to contact the developer for help or switch themes.

4. Enable Debug Mode

If you are still getting the WordPress White Screen of Death, then the next step is to turn on debugging in WordPress. This will allow you to see what kind of errors are being generated.

Go and open the wp-config.php file and paste the following lines of code just before the line ‘/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */’.

// Enable WP_DEBUG mode define( 'WP_DEBUG', true); // Enable Debug logging to the /wp-content/debug.log file define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);

When you add this, the blank screen will now show errors, warnings, and notices. These could help you figure out what’s causing the problem.

See our post on how to enable debug mode in WordPress for detailed instructions.

5. Clear Your WordPress Cache

Sometimes, you have access to the backend of your WordPress site but still see the WSoD on the frontend; it could be due to a caching problem.

To fix the issue, try deleting your web browser’s cache and your WordPress caching plugin (assuming you have one installed).

If you’re using a cache plugin like WP Rocket or WP Super Cache on your WordPress site, most of them provide a quick way to clear the cache from the plugin’s Settings page.

Delete Cache in WP Super Cache Plugin

See our post on how to clear your WordPress cache for detailed instructions.

6. Increase the PHP Text Processing Capability

If you only get a white screen of death on a particularly long post or page, this small trick may help.

This method increases PHP’s text processing capabilities by increasing the recursion and backtrack limits.

Go and open the wp-config.php file and paste the following lines of code just before the line ‘/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy publishing. */’.

/** Trick for long posts */ ini_set('pcre.recursion_limit',20000000); ini_set('pcre.backtrack_limit',10000000);

7. Restore Your Website From a Backup

If you’ve tried all of the ways on this list, you have one more option: complete restoration of your site’s files. For this, you’ll need a recent backup of your WordPress site.

It can sound odd, but you should create a current backup of your website data before restoring your most recent backup. If an issue arises during the restoration, you can restore your site to its previous state. You will still get the white screen of death, but you won’t lose any data and will be able to continue diagnosing the issue.

WordPress White Screen of Death Wrapping Up

The WordPress White Screen of Death (WSoD) can be extremely frustrating, even frightening. There are several things that can go wrong, but the situation is usually not as bad as it looks.

In most cases, a simple plugin or theme check should fix the WSoD issue. Getting more familiar with WordPress debug mode will undoubtedly shed additional light on the issue and guide you.

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