The WordPress “White Screen of Death” or WSOD is a frustrating problem for WordPress users because it can make a WordPress website inaccessible and can cause significant downtime that can be hard to deal with. In this post, we look at how you can fix the WordPress white screen of death issue.
WordPress’ white screen of death is caused by a PHP error and can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a plugin conflict, an issue with the WordPress theme, a problem with the database or a PHP error. The WSOD can also occur if the PHP memory limit set in the server configuration is not sufficient for the plugin or theme in use, or the PHP version is not compatible with the installed version of WordPress, themes or plugins.
Here are some things you can do to start fixing the issue:
- Deactivate your plugins and then activate them one at a time – this is the first step really.You should turn off all your plugins. If you can’t get into the WordPress Dashboard you’re doing to have to do this by FTP or by the file manager in the control panel. I do this by changing the folder name of the plugins usually by adding a word or number to the end of the folder name.
Once they’re all deactivated then you need to have a look at your site. Hopefully, at this point, you don’t have white screen of death and if that’s the case then you know the problem is one of the plugins. Then you are going to reactivate the plugins one at a time and check to see if reactivating a plugin results in white screen of death. This will confirm the plugin that’s causing the issue.
If you still have WSOD when you turn off all the plugins you know the problem is being caused by something other than the plugins and you can move on to the next issue.
- Enable error reporting: Enabling error reporting will identify the PHP problem that’s causing the WSOD. To do this, you just need to add the following line of code to the wp-config.php file: define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
Instead of getting WSOD you should get an error message at the top of the page and this should give you an idea of what the PHP issue or PHP issues are.
- Change to a default theme: If your WSOD is being caused by your theme, you might want to deactivate your theme and then activate one of the default ones such as Twenty Twenty Two. Just head over to Appearance in the left-hand column in the WordPress Dashboard. Once you’ve turned on the default theme you should return to the front end and check the white screen of doom has been fixed.
- Check for updates: If you are able to get into the Dashboard then you first need to check you have the most recent version of WordPress and all the plugins are up-to-date. The software not being updated can be a good way to result in a PHP error, especially if you’ve updated one thing and not another. The other thing about updates you’re going to need to think about is whether something has auto-updated and this has been the problem. If the problem is an auto-update then you might need to roll it back using your backups.
- PHP memory limit: Check and increase your PHP memory limit. Add this line to your wp-config.php file:define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );
It’s recommended that the memory limit should be set to at least 256 megabytes (as the code above does. If you want you can increase it further if you’ve got a more complex website. I generally set it at 1024M. Once you’ve updated this, check the site and hopefully this has helped.
Whilst you can set this in wp-config.php you need to be aware that your host may have hard-set this in the server setup. If you can get into the shell command you might be able to update their settings but at this point, I’d be speaking to the hosting provider first.
- Update your PHP version: It may be that your version of PHP has become out of date and needs updating. Some hosting providers allow you to update the version of PHP you’re running on your server. It may also be that your version of PHP is so out of date that your WordPress updates mean your site is no longer compatible.
- Speak to your hosting provider: ultimately your hosting provider should be able to give you an indication of what’s causing WordPress WSOD.
Get In Touch For Help
If all the above fails and you’re still experiencing WordPress white screen of death then feel free to get in touch. We’ve fixed this type of problem countless times. Please give us a call or get in touch here.