If you have ever come across the white screen in WordPress, aka “the white screen of death”, after updating themes or plugins, or after adding in additional php into your themes files you’ll know it’s a pretty heart stopping moment.
It looks just like the above picture – no error code, nothing 😱
When updating any plugins or theme the best way to avoid the white screen is to follow my simple rules in a previous blog about how to update safely, found here. If you have added in new php code and got the white screen there is also any easy fix, so please don’t panic.
To fix the white screen on any occasion you will need to have access to your website files through FTP software or your website’s hosting file manager.
What did you do last to get the white screen? That is the offender!
White screen after updating/activating a plugin
If you were updating a plugin, activating a plugin, or even updating an already activated plugin and then you got the white screen, well there is your offender! Go into your plugin files via FTP or your file manager (public > wp-content > plugins) and change the name of the plugin you touched before the white screen. I usually add an “a” before the plugin name. Once you have renamed it go back to your site and refresh the screen, you should have your website restored. The plugin you renamed is now deactivated and when you change the name back to it’s original name, it will still stay deactivated. If you can’t activate the plugin without getting a white screen each time, you may find deactivating all your other plugins and then activating the offender alone might not result in a white screen, then you’ll know that plugin had an issue with another activated plugin and you’ll need to activate them one by one to find the offender. If not go to the plugin developer and get support on it.
White screen after updating/activating a theme
If you were updating/activating a theme and got a white screen do the same as above for plugins but this time changing the name of the theme which will deactivate it and make another theme active. If you don’t have another theme in your WordPress theme files, download a default WordPress theme from here and add it into your (pubic > wp-content > themes) theme file, unzipped via FTP of your file manager. Adding in this theme gives WordPress another theme to default to once you have renamed your own theme. Refresh the front end to see if your site has come back up. If it has you can try reactivating your theme again but make sure all your plugins are deactivated fist, as it may be a plugin conflict with your theme that caused the white screen.
White screen after adding in php code
If you were editing php code and got the white screen, you need to get back into the file you updated, via FTP or file manager, and use your text editor to put back the php code to what it was originally, then add the file back in where it belongs. With php you need to make sure you have the correct closing tag, as it only takes one symbol to be missing and it’ll throw everything out.
Still not working?
Using the above tips should have done the trick in those circumstances, but if you have got a white screen for none of the above it could be due to lack of memory or corrupted WordPress core files which will result in you needing to contact your host to increase memory or reinstall WordPress. Read more about those solutions here. WordPress also make suggestions here.
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