The white screen of death (WSOD) is usually caused by an error in a website's PHP or database. WordPress has three main reasons that this can happen:
- A plugin isn't compatible with some of the software used in WordPress
- A theme can cause a conflict with other parts of the site.
- A theme file can be missing from WordPress.
How to fix the WSOD
- Empty the Browser Cache
- It is important to make sure it isn't your personal browser that is causing the issue.
- Go to your browser's settings and find your browsing data.
- Clear the data then close and reopen your browser. Revisit your site and wp-admin, if there is no WSOD then you are finished. If you still see the WSOD, move onto the next step.
- Retrace steps before the WSOD - If you were working on the site before the WSOD, there's a chance that a change that was made is causing it. Check for the following:
- New or updated WP theme
- New or updated WP plugin
- New integration with WP
- Database files changed
- Exceeded memory or execution time
- If you didn't do any of these, continue to the next step.
- Test the WordPress Theme
- Go to control panel's file manager or SFTP and find the wp-content folder.
- Select the Themes folder and rename it.
- This will disable your theme, if you gain access to your site through wp-admin it means the theme was causing the issue. If this is the case, follow one of these steps:
- Roll the WordPress theme back to the previous iteration. This can be done with a backup or by downloading an older version from the theme provider.
- Contact the theme developer to notify them of the issue.
- Find a new theme that works with your site.
- Test the WordPress Plugins
- Return to the wp-content folder in the control panel's file manager.
- Locate the plugins folder and rename it.
- Return to your site. If you can log in through the wp-admin, the problem is with your plugins. We will need to do a little more troubleshooting to determine which plugin is causing the issues.
- While logged into WordPress, go to the Plugins list.
- Activate them 1 at a time, if you can refresh the page without issues after activation then it isn't that plugin.
- If you find the plugin that is causing the issues, follow one of these steps:
- Roll the plugin back to the previous iteration. Can be done from backup site or WP repository.
- Contact the plugin developer to notify them.
- Find a new Plugin with similar functionality.
- If none of these fixed it, move on with all plugins deactivated.
- Revert recently changed files to recent iteration.
- Delete files that have been recently changed and re-upload the unaltered version from your sites backup.
- Increase the Server's Memory Limits or Execution Time.
- Sometimes the issue may be because your server in unable to process a large number of files.
- Start by adjusting the memory limits to 64 MB, unless the error says otherwise.
- Go to the wp-config.php and add:
- Or go to .htaccess and add
- Or add this to php.ini
memory_limit = 64M
- NOTE: You won't need to make the change to all 3 files.
- Now you should increase the maximum execution time allowed. If the error didn't specify what to increase the time to, start with 60 seconds.
- There are 2 files where you can change this:
- Add this to .htaccess:
php_value max_execution_time 60
- Or add this to php.ini
max_execution_time = 60
- Only one file will need to be changed.
- Debug the wp-config File to Find PHP Errors
- In the control panel, find your database wp-config file
- Open the file and search for a line that reads:
define( 'WP_DEBUG' , false );
- If it's there, change false to true
- if it isn't there, add the line:
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
- If there are any issues in the PHP, this will reveal them.
- If none of these steps have helped, reach out to your website hosting company for assistance.