If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, you might be aware of the WordPress White Screen of Death (WSOD). For those that don’t, the WordPress white screen is a distant sibling of the all too familiar Window’s Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). If you’re lucky enough to never seen one here is what it looks like.
What Does It Do?
The WordPress white screen makes your website inaccessible to administrators as well as visitors. While some browsers such as Mozilla Firefox abide by the name and show you nothing more than a white screen, some others such as Google Chrome present an HTTP 500 error.
If you encounter this with your WordPress site, the next step is to find out the root cause of the error and fix it. Below are the three most common reasons that can cause a WSOD.
1. Problem with Plugins
The most common reason is a faulty plugin. Maybe a plugin went bad during update or a newly installed plugin is not compatible with your website. To find out if this was the case you want to deactivate your plugins one-by-one. There are a few ways to do this.
Login through FTP and navigate to the directory that contains your WordPress files. From there, access the wp-content/plugins folder and deactivate each plugin one-by-one ( you could rename the folder associated with each plugin such as akismet to akismet_back so that WordPress doesn’t load it).
Another option is to simply login to WordPress admin and click on deactivate in your plugins section.
Once a plugin is deactivated, reload your site. If your website is up and running after a certain plugin is deactivated, you have found your culprit.
2. Problem with Themes
Themes are the second most common reason behind a white screen. Often, when you update a new theme, one or more of the plugins can conflict with the theme. Troubleshooting a theme is similar to troubleshooting a plugin. You simply need to navigate to the wp-content folder, as in the previous step and disable the existing theme. This will force WordPress to load a default theme such as Twenty Sixteen. If by any chance, you seem to have deleted the default theme, you can upload the theme again to the wp-content/themes folder.
If this fixes the white screen then you will need to deal with the faulty theme in order to solve the problem.
3. Memory Issues
Plugins and other WordPress processes use PHP memory for execution. It is possible that you may have outgrown the current memory capacity of your server or a faulty plugin is messing with the memory. You can manually increase the memory limit of your WordPress site by adding the following line of code to your wp-config.php.
The above steps offer simple fixes and a step-by-step guide to fixing a WSOD error without any help from any third party. It is a good practice to keep a back-up of any file that you are about to alter in the WordPress directory.