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How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death (Step by Step)

The WordPress white screen of death is one of the most common WordPress errors. It is also one of the most frustrating ones because there is no error message, and you are locked out of WordPress.

Another problem with the white screen of death error is that sometimes it only affects a certain part of your website.

For example, you may only see the white screen of death inside the WordPress admin area, while everything else works fine. In other cases, you may only see it on a specific post whereas everything else works fine.

In this article, we will show you how to fix the WordPress white screen of death by looking at different solutions.

Fixing WordPress white screen of death error

Note: Before you make any changes to your site, make sure you have a backup of your WordPress site. If you don’t have access to the admin area, then see our guide on how to manually create WordPress database backup.

Why Do You See the White Screen of Death in WordPress?

Majority of the time when you see a white screen of death, it means that a script on your website exhausted the memory limit.

The unresponsive script either gets killed by your WordPress hosting server, or it simply times out. This is why no actual error message is generated, and you see a plain white screen.

WordPress showing white screen instead of website

Sometimes you might see a critical error message instead of a plain white screen.

Whether you’re seeing a blank screen, or the message “There has been a critical error on your website,” it’s the same error.

This error can also happen due to a poorly coded theme or plugin installed on your site. Sometimes it can happen if there is an issue with your web hosting server.

Since the white screen error can be caused by any number of things, it requires methodical troubleshooting to fix.

Does the problem occur on your other sites?

If you have other WordPress sites installed on the same hosting account, then you want to start by checking if the problem is occurring on other sites as well.

If it is, then that’s a strong indicator that something is wrong with your WordPress hosting service. This could be a temporary issue affecting their service, and you need to reach out to their support for more help.

On the other hand, if the issue is only happening with one website or a specific part of that site, then you know that the problem is with that particular website.

Fixing White Screen Error with WordPress Recovery Mode

If the white screen of death error is caused by a WordPress plugin or theme, then WordPress may be able to catch it.

The new fatal error protection feature introduced in WordPress 5.2 can sometimes catch the error, so you may not even see a white screen. Instead, you will see a message that the site is having technical difficulties.

Technical difficulties

You would also receive an email message on your admin email address with the subject ‘Your Site is Having a Technical Issue’.

Technical issue email sent to admin

This email message will point out the plugin causing the error, and it will also contain a special link. This link will allow you to login to the WordPress recovery mode and deactivate the faulty plugin.

WordPress recovery mode

However, if you are seeing the plain white screen of death with no email or recovery mode option, then you need to manually fix the error.

Increasing the Memory Limit

Usually, this error happens because a script has exhausted the memory and quit in the middle. To fix this, you need to increase PHP memory available to WordPress. This will allow the script to use more memory to finish the job it was supposed to do.

You can follow the instructions in our tutorial on how to increase PHP memory in WordPress.

Disabling All Plugins

If increasing the memory limit did not help, or if you have a high memory limit like 256M or 512M, then you need to start troubleshooting.

In our experience of troubleshooting this issue, we have always found that the issue is either with a specific plugin or a theme. Let’s go ahead and disable all the plugins.

If you can still access the WordPress admin area, then you can simply go to Plugins » Installed Plugins page. Select all the installed plugins and then select ‘Deactivate’ under ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down.

Deactivate all plugins via WordPress admin area

However, if you don’t have access to the WordPress admin area, then you will need to deactivate all plugins via FTP.

First, connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client. Once connected, go to the wp-content folder where you will see the ‘plugins’ folder.

Rename plugins folder to deactivate all plugins

Now, you need to right-click on the plugins folder and then select rename. You can rename the plugins folder to plugins-deactivated.

Plugins deactivated

Your FTP client will now rename the plugins folder.

WordPress looks for a folder named plugins to load all plugins. When it cannot find the folder, it simply deactivates all plugins.

If this fixes the issue, then enable one plugin at a time to get to the bottom of the issue. Once you find the plugin causing the issue, you can replace it with an alternative or report the issue to plugin authors.

Replace Theme with a Default Theme

If the plugin troubleshooting doesn’t fix the issue, then you should try replacing your current theme with a default theme.

First, connect to your website using an FTP client and go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder. It contains all installed themes on your website.

Right-click to select your current WordPress theme and download it to your computer as a backup.

Download current theme as backup

Next, you need to delete your current theme from your website. Right-click on your theme folder and select ‘Delete’. Your FTP client will now delete the theme from your website.

Delete current theme

Now if you have a default WordPress theme like (Twenty Eighteen or Twenty Nineteen) installed on your website, then WordPress will automatically start using it as the default theme.

However, if you don’t have a default theme installed, then you need to manually install it using FTP.

If this fixes the issue, then you should look at your theme’s functions.php file. If there are extra spaces at the bottom of the file, then you need to remove those, and sometimes that fixes the issue.

If you are using a poorly coded function in your theme’s functions.php file, then it can cause the white screen of death error as well.

Consider downloading a fresh copy of your theme from its source and then install it.

Enable Debug Mode to Catch Errors in WordPress

If nothing has helped so far, then the next step is to turn on debugging in WordPress. This will allow you to see what type of errors are being outputted.

Simply, add the following code into your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true);
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

Once you add this, the blank screen will now have errors, warnings, and notices. These may be able to help you determine the root cause.

If you don’t see any errors, you may still want to check the debug log. Simply visit the wp-content folder on your website using an FTP client. There you will find a new debug.log file containing a log of all errors, notices, and warnings.

Debug log

Clear WordPress Cache

Sometimes, you may have access to the backend, but the front-end of the site has the white screen of death. This can happen because of a caching plugin. Simply empty your cache.

See our guide on how to clear cache in WordPress for detailed instructions.

Fixing Longer Articles

If you have a white screen of death only on a very long post or page, then this little trick might work.

This trick basically increases PHP’s text processing capability by increasing the recursion and backtrack limit. You can paste the following code in your wp-config.php file.

/** Trick for long posts */
ini_set('pcre.recursion_limit',20000000);
ini_set('pcre.backtrack_limit',10000000);

We understand that this is a very frustrating error, and we hope that one of the tricks above fixed the issue for you. You may also want to see our WordPress troubleshooting guide which teaches the steps you should take to catch and fix WordPress problems by yourself.

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Reader Interactions

284 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • You may be seeing the cached page when logged out. If you do see the white screen of death, we would recommend going through the troubleshooting steps in this guide.

      Admin

  1. After I cleared my cache, it fixed. Why wasn’t this put into the article?

    Thinking I was going to have to get into code when it was a simple fix is silly.

    Please clear your browser cache first before you try anything else.

    • It is very rare that your caching would cause that specific issue but we’re glad that clearing the cache worked for you. :)

      Admin

  2. Finally after changing the name of the faulty plugin via FTP i got the access to my wordpress dashboard but not the website… now what do i do to get my website back to normally working?

  3. Hello, please i am currently experiencing a red screen while uploading from local to live server. Kindly help me out.

    • That would depend on if there is an error message when you see that screen or not. If there are no error messages, you would still want to follow the recommendations in this article.

      Admin

  4. I suspected a new plug-in was the problem, locking me out of the WordPress dashboard, but it wasn’t. I then searched and found your article. After reading it, I checked my functions.php file and found it had spaces at the end. I deleted the spaces and I was back in. Thank you.

    You’ve saved me from a lot of frustration.

  5. Your article says deactivate plugins then goes on to talk about FTP – you don’t say what to do after I’ve deactivated the plugins… unless I missed it.

    • If the error disappears once the plugins are disabled, you would then know that the error is caused by a plugin and you would need to find the specific plugin.

      Admin

  6. Hi, I got white screen problem ..and get result from my site is” briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance.check back in minute.”

  7. I got the white screen. I had just made changes to my child theme functions php, so I knew what the problem was. I followed your steps to my wp-content /themes, Then I did this…and it was easy. Right click on child theme, topen, then functions php file, deleted what I did. Saved changes. Checked if I could enter wp-admin, and all was good. I did not have to hassle with changing themes or plugins on/off. I use your site often, and I hope you test this option, and put it as a simple solution.

    Thanks for your helpful site.
    Gerry

    • Thank you for your recommendation to be included in the article, for those editing the code of their site it is a good option to try removing recently added code.

      Admin

  8. Hello there! My website based on WordPress has been working properly since Marc 2003. It needs maintenance and upgrading professionally. What do you suggestion me?

  9. i can’t even logout from my admin panel.
    in all condition it is just show only the “WHITE SCREEN” with the error

  10. I had this issue several months ago and found a temp work around. Click next to your url and hit your enter key. It always reloaded for me. The permanent fix is as one of your great suggestions. I increase the php memory and it hasn’t plagued me since.

  11. Your site has been so informative. Sadly though it hasn’t fixed my fatal error. I am unable to open the wp_admin/Dashboard. the below message is displayed. I have tried your plugins and this advice using my PHPAdmin to no luck.

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp_is_recovery_mode() in /home/huhu5715/public_html/wp-admin/includes/update.php on line 840

  12. I added my three websites on hostinger Premium plan. today I’m facing this problem. when I log in my admin panel it’s just loading and after that, it shows an error. all my three sites is not working. what should I do?

  13. I am facing the the wordpress white screen of death, after login I am facing the issue. And if I open the website in another tab then the options are visible but I am not able to access those options as when I click on the icons agter redirecting again I am facing white screen of death.

    • You would likely want to enable error reporting in the Other Fixes section to see if it will give you an error message.

      Admin

  14. Hello, I use to have a white screen whenever someone comments on a post on my site. Pls I need help on this.

  15. Hi I got the white screen of death.
    Tried to log in with FileZilla but no. WordPress.com says ID doesn’t exist.
    Can’t talk to anyone/chat at WordPress without being logged in.
    So how can I proceed? Please help.

  16. my initial message is “child” theme deleted, but them I can’t install a new theme, because I get “installation failed: could not create directory”…help!

    Thank you,
    Beth

  17. i upgraded from ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 last night now am getting a WSOD if i try to open the admin page i get plain text. tried all the steps you mentioned but nothing happened. i am on localhost

  18. re-installing wordpress fixed it for me. Might be worth trying this first – could save a lot of hassle

  19. In my case, the security plugin had temporarily blocked me because I entered the password incorrectly too many times… I forgot I changed it. I was seeing a white screen with the word “error” in the upper left hand corner.

    To resolve this, I logged into the database and removed myself from the lockout table.

  20. I’ve been trying to access my admin page through an FTP client as recommended and the connection keeps timing out (internet connection is fine, already ran a diagnostic on it) so I’m still locked out and can’t try to solve the WSOD problem. How do I proceed from here?

  21. Had a client who had deleted their theme and this caused the white screen.. I had to look in the database in wp_options > stylesheet to find the the name of the theme and re download it. This fixed the problem for me

  22. Thank you for this helpful article. Removing the space at the end of my functions.php did the job ! :)

  23. I had the WSOD when I imported content from another site. The homepage would load but the rest of the links were not working. Turns out the problem was with the Permalinks. I sent to Settings > Permalinks and changed it to only post name and everything started working again.

    Hope that helps someone.

  24. We are two administrators, and the white screen of death is only affecting one of us — and not all the time. Any suggestions for this? Thanks.

    • I am having a similar problem where I have had this problem reported by other users, but I do not experience it myself. I am an Administrator, but the people reporting the problem are not. I made a new account set up as Admin for someone who had this issue, and the WSOD did not affect them when using their new account. Because the problem is not universal and seems to be resolvable by changing the profile admin level, it makes me think that it is not the plugins or theme that is causing the issue. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      • Hi Liam,

        Many themes and plugins and trigger different functions based on user roles. Here is how you can test.

        1. Create a new user account with a user account that usually sees the WOD.
        2. Disable all your plugins.
        3. Visit your website with that user account in a different browser
        4. Reactivate your WordPress plugins one by one until the user account is able to see the WOD again.

        This way you will be able to figure out exactly which pluhgin is causing the issue. For checking your theme switch to a default theme and see if this solves the issue.

        Admin

        • Hi there,

          Thanks for the response and the suggestions. It sounds like a good way to start.

          Just to clarify, with Step 1. are you saying that I should duplicate an account that currently experiences this problem OR that I should use an account that sees the WSOD to make a new account for testing?

          Can’t see why it would be the second option, but I just thought I’d check as the wording was a bit confusing.

        • Hi Liam,

          You should create a new user account with the same user role as the one seeing WOD on your site. For example, if a user account with author user role is seeing the error, then create a new dummy user account with author user role for testing.

  25. yesterday I started my new WordPress blog and for the first time today I log in to my WordPress admin account. after that, I click on visit blog. but I continue shows blank and whenever I tried to take a demo of my any theme available in WordPress store, in the demo it is again showing blank. it’s like every time any demo doesn’t show. how to fix it.

  26. Hello there!
    I have a wordpress blog and have had my first experience of the famous White Screen of Death or at least I think so since the screen is white with only the WP logo. This started when I tried to approve a comment and the button didn´t respond after which I realized that I couldn´t access my admin controls, my stats or any personal controls.
    Since I have no experience what so ever of programming or coding and can´t even access the ordinary support pages without seeing this wsod, I am helpless and would soo appreciate if anyone of you computing wizards could help in any way?
    Best
    Conny

  27. I just update my WordPress core to the last version via FTP and my website is working again.

  28. Hi,

    I just tried to update the WP to the latest one 4.9. It took a while and got stuck in the maintenance mode. So I deleted the .maintenance file in the htdocs directory and now I can only see the while screen, nothing else.
    Please let me know how to fix it.
    Thanks!

  29. i installed an fresh wordpress ver but got blank page after click on submit comment’s button , can anyone guide me how can i solve this issue /?

  30. very helpful, just go to root folder, plugins and delete the most recent plugin or theme/the one that you have just installed

  31. This is really very helpful. Thank you very much. My blogsite just went blank after I updated some of the plugins. I followed your advised and deactivated all the plugins and activating them one by one. It did fix the issue! Thank you!

  32. Hi Wpbeginner,

    Thanks for this wonderful post.
    Well, I was able to fix mine renaming the wp plugins folder to pluginss

    Great tutorial once more.
    Do have a nice day!

  33. My problem was due to htaccess file. Worked just fine after modifying it. Thanks for the great post.

  34. Great guide…. I’ve lost my site for 3 days now. Strange thing is that its only lost on iOS mobile (white screen), desktop works fine. W3 Super Cache caused the issue but i’m struggling to get it back up on mobile now….

  35. Thanks for your help on this! Was a dang plug-in causing the issue. Removed it and things worked again :)

  36. I have had the ‘white screen of death’ for for weeks. I’ve had to store all of my what-would-be blog posts as notes in my device until I could find the solution. Nothing worked. I was about to create new blogs elsewhere when something struck me. I always browse in private mode. This never bothered wordpress in the past (years), but it occasionally will be the cause on other websites.

    After all this time… I turned off private browsing cleaned cookies for safe measure, and…. logged in just fine.

  37. I created company website on WordPress the whole web pages are working fine but when I add blog post then I am unable to see that post simply white screen is appearing without any warning.

  38. Had the WSOD problem when I updated my website theme. I had no website or admin login tried numerous fixes but to no avail.

    The solution that worked for me was to download the latest version of my theme. I renamed previous non functioning theme to themename_old and then uploaded via ftp the replacement theme zip file and extracted the contents and it worked.

    The above will work if you have access to cpanel or support at your serverhost can set up and supply you the ftp username, password.

    Good luck

  39. Thank you for this post. I had the white screen of death on both the admin and public sides of my site. I followed the link to the guide on increasing the memory and that fixed the problem for me!

  40. Oh,God, It works!
    I disable all the plugins and then it just works, oh god, i am so happy!
    thanks.
    But what’s the reason?

  41. Hi, my blog has been down for a couple of days and both my admin page and my blog are not loading so there is no way I can get in and delete plugins or anything! Please help! I have put in tons of time and money into my blog and have no idea how to fix it! Thanks so much!

    • Hi Gracie,

      You can access your website’s files and folders using an FTP client. Your hosting provider should have sent you an email containing your FTP login credentials when you signed up. You can also find this information in your web hosting control panel.

      Admin

  42. hai……i am also facing white death of screen problem and i am not getting wp-admin access but i have ftp login credentials in that i am not appearing the wp-content folder

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