How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death (Beginner’s Guide)

Here’s How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death (Beginner’s Guide). Understand what it is, why it happens, and learn how you can overcome it!

Too often, people ask: can you fix the white screen of death? To some, it sounds like a pretty impossible feat. They become dumbfounded with what to do after seeing nothing but a blank screen, which seemingly locks them out of solutions.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can sit and relax, knowing that a number of WordPress site owners and developers have experienced the same problem—and there’s a solution. 

Receiving the Error

So, what is the dreaded white screen of death?

Nothing.

It’s nothing but a blank, white screen that suddenly comes out—no words, no pictures. And, that makes it dreadful. It does not provide any clues to trace or any buttons to click.

Unfortunately, that often leaves people with no idea on what to do next. Well, how do you exactly move on from nothing?

There are different scenarios where you may have experienced the seemingly dreadful error.

You may have seen it when trying to log in to your website, or when you just logged out of your admin dashboard. Also, you may have encountered it after updating a plugin or after installing a new theme.

There is no need to worry.

A variety of solutions are available. But in all these—if there is one thing you need to understand, that is the fact that every action has its consequence. Consider carefully what you were doing before the WordPress white screen of death appeared.

Common Causes

There are a couple of reasons why you received a white screen. Here are among the common ones:

How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death (Beginner's Guide)1. Plugin Incompatibility

Plugins (particularly badly written plugins) are among the prime suspects for many website errors. Whether you were just putting on a new feature or updating your site with a new theme, you are not far from encountering WordPress white screen of death.

You can think of it this way…

Each plugin is an application that you can install in your WordPress software. It is written with code, that will enable your site to perform specific functions or provide users with a pleasant experience.

The thing is…

As software applications, plugins have their individual storage size and components. And if they are not compatible with your software or any of its components, your site would crash. That’s how you also get WordPress white screen of death.

2. New Theme

Got a new theme for your website?

New themes can be incompatible with your existing plugins. This is why WordPress users are advised to carefully assess a theme first before installing it. You can check the ratings and reviews from other users, or check the theme’s features.

The WordPress white screen of death error could appear after you activated a new theme.

One thing to note…

Not all themes have the same features. And just like plugins, it is sometimes the badly created themes that cause the error—they also leave room for malicious threats if not addressed immediately. To avoid having such issues, make sure to download only from reliable repositories for new themes.

3. Automatic Updates

Each WordPress website has can be automatically updated. That includes updates on their core software and translation files. In some websites, however, their themes and plugins can be updated as well.

All of which are set to help secure websites. You can, however, choose to disable it and manually do the updates instead.

But…

The automatic update feature can fail, and that’s when the WordPress white screen of death error can appear. If not the white screen, you will be notified by a warning or a PHP error message instead.

4. Exhausted Memory Size

Each website runs on a limited amount of memory. Some have a default PHP memory of 40MB, while others have 64MB.

The thing is…

You need enough memory to run your website smoothly. This refers to the memory limit that PHP scripts consume. Remember that WordPress runs on PHP.

Every time your web server receives a set of instructions, you start a process that will enable your website to perform specific functions. Your system fails if you exceed the size it requires. That’s how you receive the WordPress white screen of death error.

Solutions to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death

Different causes call for different solutions. Here are some actions you can do to fix the error:

1. Incompatibility Issue

Plugins can go against other plugins in your WordPress website. To fix it, simply deactivate your plugins one by one to identify which one is causing the error. The error should go away after you have deactivated the faulty plugin.

It could be that the plugin is already outdated, or just wasn’t created well. Consequently, it becomes incompatible with your software.

If you cannot log in to admin dashboard, you can deactivate from your FTP. Make sure you already have an FTP client installed for your website.

To deactivate, log in to your FTP and go to the wp_content/plugins folder. Each folder you find inside it represents a plugin. Simply rename the specific plugin folder, and that will deactivate the plugin from your website.

Refresh your browser to see the changes.

If the faulty plugin is critical to your site, you can look for its latest version or find another plugin that’s similar to it.

2. Theme Issue

To fix WordPress white screen of death due to themes, simply deactivate your current theme and temporarily use the default WordPress theme. If you no longer have the default theme in your website’s Themes directory, you can install it again from WordPress.

As you can see, deactivating a theme is very similar to deactivating a plugin.

If you can’t access your admin dashboard, you can use your FTP instead. Simply log in and go to the wp_content/themes folder. Rename your current theme’s folder as is necessary.

3. Automatic Update Issue

According to WordPress, there are mainly 3 reasons why an update fails. 1) You don’t have the correct file permissions. 2) The server cannot connect to your files. 3) A problem in your internet connection occurred during the update.

Check which one applies to you, and fix as is necessary. Otherwise, you can disable the automatic update feature and do it manually instead.

4. Memory Size Issue

If you are certain that all your plugins and themes are working properly, you can go ahead and increase your PHP memory to fix WordPress white screen of death. The difficulty lies in not seeing any clues as to what may have caused the error.

There is necessarily no need to panic.

Log in to your FTP client, and open the wp-config.php file. It should reflect the limit you have. Once you find it, increase it to either 64MB, 96MB, or 256MB.

Note, however, that not all hosts allow this. For this, it is recommended that you call your respective host to fix the issue.

How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death (Beginner's Guide)The Need for Maintenance

Understanding how and why WordPress white screen of death appears on your site will help you determine which steps to take. It can show up any time you’re browsing through your site or while making important changes. And, you don’t want to be left dumbfounded on what to do when it happens.

Yet…

This leads to a more pressing concern: the need for regular site maintenance. How often do you check on your website’s health? How do you do it?

As mentioned, sometimes a faulty plugin could cause frustrating errors. Maintenance is critical in securing your website from such errors and malicious threats. It also adds value to your users.

People want a secure and reliable place online. They want to be sure that they are providing their information only to reliable sources. On your end, you can look after what comes in and out of your website to give them exactly what they need.

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