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Troubleshooting White Screen of Death Error in WordPress

If you run a WordPress powered website then chances are pretty good that you have encountered the nefarious white screen of death error while going through any update on the website. Anyone who has faced this error can feel the immediate wave of panic and frustration that can occur while working on the website.

Troubleshooting White Screen of Death Error in WordPress

The reason why white screen of death error is so much annoying because it locks you up within your administration panel. And the worst part is if not fixed immediately, it could drastically affect certain parts of your website. For example, you are only seeing the error in your admin panel while other parts of the website function properly. In some of the cases, the error only occurs to specific blog posts, which is quite annoying.

In this post, our objective is to help you by informing you about some possible ways through which you can diagnose such errors immediately. But before we actually take you to the subject, let us know about the basics of white screen of death error and why it occurs.

What is the Reason of the Occurrence of White Screen of Death Error?

In most of the cases, such kind of errors occur when your memory limit has been exceeded. This could be because of th eplugins that you have installed on your website to make it function properly. Another reason could also come from poorly coded themes which you have been using for quite a while. Plus, it is quite likely that you might be using a sub-standard web hosting provider which is causing issues now.

Common Ways Used to Resolve the Error
  • Check if you have installed any plugin which has become redundant now or no longer required.
  • Increase the PHP limit to create some memory space.
  • Replaced some of the poorly coded themes that are causing problems continuously.
  • Enable debug mode.

Make sure that whenever you are going to troubleshoot any issue, you should create a complete backup of all the files and database.

So, without much ado, let’s move on to the first method.

1. Checking Plugins

This is one of the most common reasons of the white screen of death error, and it’s a simple one to resolve. Most of the time we install a plugin that’s not compatible with the version of our website and due to this it creates conflicts with the existing themes and plugins. So, here, first we need to find out the culprit and solve the error accordingly.

There are two conditions which are used for solving this problem:

  1. If you have access to the dashboard
  2. If you don’t have access to the dashboard

Let’s discuss both of them in detail:

A) If dashboard is accessible
  • Step #1. Click on “plugins” link on the left side of your navigation menu.
  • Step #2. If you have recently installed any plugin, uninstall it. This will directly solve the issue.
  • Step #3. Now, deactivate all your site’s plugins by simply selecting “deactivate” from drop down menu.
  • Step #4. Confirm the deactivation and then go to the frond-end to see, if there is still white screen.
B) If the dashboard is inaccessible
  • Step #1. Without dashboard access, you need to connect to your site’s server either through an FTP connection or Control Panel.
  • Step #2. Go to wp-content directory and start renaming the plugins.
  • Step #3. Now all your plugins have been deactivated successfully, you can reload your website and check whether the issue still exists.

2. Increase the Memory Limit

Exhaustion of memory limit is also one of the reasons behind the occurrence of white screen of death errors. This can be fixed by following the below mentioned steps.

A) Editing your wp-config.php file
  • Step #1. Go to your FTP file manager located on the hosting panel, and navigate to the root directory.
  • Step #2. Click wp-config.php file into the text editor and add the following code:
    define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '32M');
  • Step #3. Save the changes and reload your website.
B) Editing Your ‘php.ini‘ File
  • Step #1. Just as the above, connect to your FTP server in your hosting panel, and navigate to the root directory.
  • Step #2. Now add the following code in your “php.ini” file.
    memory_limit=32M ;
  • Step #3. Save all the changes and reload your website. Go back to the front-end to see of the issue has been fixed.
C) Editing .htaccess file
  • Step #1. Visit .htaccess file on your WordPress site and try connecting your FTP server or file manager in your hosting panel. Now, visit to the root directory located on your website.
  • Step #2. Now add the following code in your .htaccess file.
    php_value memory_limit 32M

3. Replace with the Default Theme

If the above mentioned methods don’t fix the issue, you could try replacing the themes with the default one. You could fix it by following the below mentioned steps.

A) If the dashboard is accessible
  • Step #1. Go to your Themes Manager by selecting Appearance>Themes on your admin area.
  • Step #2. Activate one of the themes that are available to you by default.
  • Step #3. Reload your website, and check if the issue is fixed.
B) If the dashboard is inaccessible
  • Step #1. Go to your FTP software (like Filezila) and look for the file manager. In there, check if the default WordPress themes are properly uploaded in the server or not.
  • Step #2. Go to the wp_options which is located under ‘phpmyadmin‘ database.
  • Step #3. Now, look for ‘template‘ and ‘stylesheet‘ options and replace them with the name of directory you want to switch to. And save the changes.

4. Alternative Fixes

If none of the above fixes the above issue, then it’s recommended to reload a fresh copy of your website to check whether it’s the core file that has been causing troubles. For this, you can debug the function by adding the following code in your wp_config.php file.

error_reporting(E_ALL); ini_set('display_errors', 1); define( 'WP_DEBUG', true);

After adding the code, you’ll observe your screen displaying warnings and messages to help you determine the main cause of the issue.

Clearing the cache is also one of the most effective methods of diagnosing the white screen of death error. The method is suitable at the time when the error has been displayed on long posts. Alternatively, you can also increase the limit of recursion and backtrack for solving the issues like this. All you need to do is simply add the following code in your wp-config.php file. Or if you have a different server you can modify your php.ini file.

For long posts:

ini_set('pcre.recursion_limit',25000000); ini_set('pcre.backtrack_limit',20000000);

In some of the cases, you can access your back-end while your front-end displays the white screen. This happens because of the caching plugin. For this, you need to empty your cache plugin and fix the issue accordingly.

There are also chances that your website might have been hacked. For this, remove all the iFrames presented on your website and check the screen again.

So, you see- it wasn’t that hard. Hopefully, by following these steps you can now easily beat the White Screen of Death Issue and get rid of the frustration immediately.

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