White Screen of Death

White Screen of Death

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: 
  1. A plugin isn't compatible with some of the software used in WordPress
  2. A theme can cause a conflict with other parts of the site.
  3. A theme file can be missing from WordPress.

How to fix the WSOD
  1. Empty the Browser Cache
    1. It is important to make sure it isn't your personal browser that is causing the issue.
    2. Go to your browser's settings and find your browsing data.
    3. 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.
  2. 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: 
    1. New or updated WP theme
    2. New or updated WP plugin
    3. New integration with WP
    4. Database files changed
    5. Exceeded memory or execution time
    6. If you didn't do any of these, continue to the next step.
  3. Test the WordPress Theme
    1. Go to control panel's file manager or SFTP and find the wp-content folder.
    2. Select the Themes folder and rename it.
    3. 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: 
      1.  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.
      2. Contact the theme developer to notify them of the issue.
      3. Find a new theme that works with your site.
  4. Test the WordPress Plugins
    1. Return to the wp-content folder in the control panel's file manager.
    2. Locate the plugins folder and rename it.
    3. 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.
      1. While logged into WordPress, go to the Plugins list.
      2. Activate them 1 at a time, if you can refresh the page without issues after activation then it isn't that plugin.
      3. If you find the plugin that is causing the issues, follow one of these steps:
        1. Roll the plugin back to the previous iteration. Can be done from backup site or WP repository.
        2. Contact the plugin developer to notify them.
        3. Find a new Plugin with similar functionality.
      4. If none of these fixed it, move on with all plugins deactivated.
  5. Revert recently changed files to recent iteration.
    1. Delete files that have been recently changed and re-upload the unaltered version from your sites backup.
  6. Increase the Server's Memory Limits or Execution Time.
    1. Sometimes the issue may be because your server in unable to process a large number of files.
    2. Start by adjusting the memory limits to 64 MB, unless the error says otherwise.
    3. Go to the wp-config.php and add:
    4. define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');
    5. Or go to .htaccess and add
    6. php_value_memory_limit 64M
    7. Or add this to php.ini
    8. memory_limit = 64M
    9. NOTE: You won't need to make the change to all 3 files.
    10. 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.
    11. There are 2 files where you can change this: 
    12. Add this to .htaccess:
    13. php_value max_execution_time 60
    14. Or add this to php.ini
    15. max_execution_time = 60
    16. Only one file will need to be changed.
  7. Debug the wp-config File to Find PHP Errors
    1. In the control panel, find your database wp-config file
    2. Open the file and search for a line that reads:
    3. define( 'WP_DEBUG' ,  false );
    4. If it's there, change false to true
    5. if it isn't there, add the line:
    6. define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
    7. If there are any issues in the PHP, this will reveal them.
  8. If none of these steps have helped, reach out to your website hosting company for assistance.