The infamous WordPress WSOD or white screen of death can occur due to many reasons. However the biggest issue is that there’s no visible output or clue as to what’s wrong and how to identify and fix the issue. This post is about just that.
The WSOD can trigger due to many reasons including PHP errors, misconfigured .htaccess, WordPress misconfiguration, plugin issues and even your theme. Technically and strictly speaking, WSOD is caused by PHP errors. However there are other instances when all is fine and you still get a blank white page in WordPress. Let’s go step by step:
1. Enable WP_DEBUG
Production hosting environments are configured such that they don’t display errors when there is one. In order to enable WP_DEBUG you have to edit the
wp-config.php file over FTP.
Find this line:
And change it to:
This will start displaying the exact error, the file path, name and the line number so you know what to fix.
2. Issue due to Plugins
After turning on WP_DEBUG you’d know if the error is coming from a plugin or a theme. In case the error is triggered due to a plugin, all you have to do is to disable the plugin. If you know what you are doing then it’s totally fine to edit the plugin file to fix the error. But beware, your changes will be lost when the plugin automatically updates to a new version.
3. Issue due to a WordPress Theme
If your active theme is throwing the error then try switching theme. This will for sure get your site up and running provided you switch to a known-good theme.
4. Issue due to a WordPress Template file (no error thrown):
If there’s no visible error on the page, then it might be a template file that’s killing WordPress. WordPress relies on template hierarchy. And depending on the view, it could be one or more theme template files causing the issue.
If the issue is just on one particular view, try to debug the related template. Please refer to this template hierarchy as to which template could be responsible for the issue.
The above steps should help you troubleshoot the issue. If you are still not able to figure out how to resolve it, request our support services and we’d be happy to jump in.