• WordPress

How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death?

  • February 28, 2023
  • Muhammad Ahmad
  • POSTED ON February 28, 2023
  • POSTED BY Muhammad Ahmad

Browsing your favorite WordPress website and suddenly boom, White Screen. Even worse, your business website meets White Screen of Death (WSoD). The worst thing about WSoD is that both users and site administrators cannot access the website and it's super frustrating. Don’t be shocked when i tell you, this is the most common issue with wordpress websites. But lucky for you it can be solved.

Browsing your favorite WordPress website and suddenly boom, White Screen. Even worse, your business website meets White Screen of Death (WSoD). The worst thing about WSoD is that both users and site administrators cannot access the website and it’s super frustrating. Don’t be shocked when i tell you, this is the most common issue with wordpress websites. But lucky for you it can be solved.

What is WordPress White Screen of Death?

The white screen wordpress, short for WSoD, is when a site user faces white blank screen. But the error message they get depends on the browser they are using. Here are the reasons behind WSoD, most of the times:

  • Memory limit exhaustion
  • Some PHP code error
  • Faulty theme or plugin

How does one fix WSoD?

If you face this issue, the best approach is to contact your developer. If you have not hired any, then do so at your earliest and get things fixed by the professional wordpress or PHP developers. However, the following are tested ways to fix WSoD.

Disable WordPress Plugins

Disabling all wordpress plugins is the first thing to try. To access plugins is go to the admin dashboard, select plugins installed, go to bulk action, and click on disable or deactivate.

WSOD: Deactivate all WordPress Plugins setting

Now if the issue is fixed, it means the plugins were causing the issue. So, now you would have to find the bad plugin. For that matter, start activating one plugin at a time and reloading the website after each activation. When your frontend goes down again, you will know which plugin was causing the issue. 

Once you have found the bad plugin, check if it has an update. If not, reach out to the developer to get the matter resolved. 

If the admin panel is not accessible, use a FTP client to access directory files. Locate the root directory, then select the folder named “wp-content”, then plugins the folder and rename it.

Now, check the site to see if the matter is solved. Do this for every plugin until you can find the faulty plugin. Be sure to name back the plugin folder if that plugin is not the faulty one. 

Going back to Default WordPress Theme

If plugins are not the problem, the next stop is theme. It’s time to switch to disable the current theme and switch to a default one. For that, access the admin panel, select Appearance  then Themes from the dashboard. Locate the theme and deactivate it.

WSOD: switch to a default theme

Reload to check if the problem is solved. 

Incase of a blocked admin panel, follow the FTP client approach. From the root directory locate the theme folder inside the wp-content folder and rename it.

WSoD: theme folder

Reload the site and WordPress will revert to the last theme automatically. If you have only one then you can download a new one and upload to the themes folder. 

Clear Cache for Browser & Plugin

If you have access to the backend, the problem is in the frontend is causing wordpress white screen of death.

Try clearing the cache for both the WordPress plugins and for the browser as well. For caching plugins, like WP Rocket etc, go to the plugin’s settings and clear the cache from there. 

Note: Navigate cache settings may change depending on the plugin. 

Save the changes and reload the website. 

Debug the Issue

Still seeing white screen wordpress? Try debugging the issue by enabling the debugging mode. 

Locate and open wp-config.php file in the root directory. Find “define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, false );” and update “false” to “true”, save the file, and reload the website.

Cannot find the line? Add it to the top of your file with “true” and save the file.

Now, you will see the error message on the white screen. Understand the error message and debug the issue by locating the error. The error message will tell you the file and line in which the error is. 

But, if you are not seeing any error messages debugging is not correctly configured with your hosting. Contact the hosting server and get it configured the right way. 

Note: By turning on debugging, you are exposing the website’s sensitive information to everyone. Either try it on another server rather than the main server. Or take the site down for some time. Remember to turn debugging off after the issue is resolved.

Increasing Memory Limit

Another method to try is assigning more memory to the app by increasing the memory limit. Locate the “wp-config.php” file, open and add “define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);” to the top. Save and reload the website.

Using .htaccess file to enhance memory limit is another way by adding “php_value memory_limit 64M”. If you cannot do that either, it is better to contact a developer to solve the issue. 

File Permission

Due to ownership and file permission issues white screen wordpress can happen. This is a risky one, so if you do not know what is happening it is better to leave this one alone. 

First check if file permissions are:

  • Files are set to either 664 or 644.
  • Folders are set to either 775 or 755.
  • wp-config.php file is set to either 660, 600, or 644.

These permissions can be applied with following commands, only with SSH access to the server.:

sudo find . -type f -exec chmod 664 {} +
sudo find . -type d -exec chmod 775 {} +
sudo chmod 660 wp-config.php

Failed or Auto-Update Issues

Failed updates or auto update issues are common and can often cause wordpress white screen of death. Most of the time, this type of issue is resolved automatically. But, rarely it can lead to WSoD.

First, check if the root directory has a file named “.maintenance”, if so delete the file and load the website. If everything goes back to normal then the cause was WordPress failed auto removal of this file. 

Otherwise, updates will begin and WSoD will be solved. If not, try manually updating WordPress, which again you should not do if you do not know what you are doing. 

Restore from a Backup point or Fix the Syntax Errors

Syntax error is an error in the code that occurs due to mistyping or writing something that the computer does not understand. Code does not compile until all syntax errors are solved. So, you have to find and fix it.

So, you might have mistyped something when editing your code. Just one character or additional space and your code is ruined.

Which is why, it is never recommended to edit the code on the live site. 

If the problem started after you edited the code, just revert the changes you made manually, if you know the point of error. Otherwise, you can revert from a backup or version control system you are using. 

If you are getting a parse syntax error, then check if you have disabled the debugging mode, which you might have left enabled from one of the previous methods. 

Increase the PHP Text Processing Capability

This is your last resort to fix white screen wordpress. Very rarely the problem causing wordpress white screen of death is because the page has become very long. As a bonus trick, you can increase PHP text processing capacity for your website. To do that, increase the recursion and backtrack limit by adding the following code to wp-config.php file:


Save the file and reload the website to check if the problem is solved.

Ending notes

If things are still not fixed the only hope left is to hire a developer and get your website fixed. Do not worry, you do not have to hire a developer permanently, just hire a remote wordpress developer.


Muhammad Ahmad

Currently serving as the SEO Manager at vteams, Ahmed is a highly skilled individual with several years of experience of Digital Marketing.


Leave a Reply

More Related Article
We provide tips and advice on delivering excellent customer service, engaging your customers, and building a customer-centric business.