Dealing with the WordPress White Screen of Death


Have you ever experienced Microsoft’s famous Blue Screen Of Death? Well, WordPress has its own version commonly called the White Screen Of Death.

You are most likely to see this after upgrading WordPress to a new version, adding a plugin or a theme. 

It is possible to turn on debug mode to find the problem, but that won’t really help if all you can see is a blank screen. Here are some ways in which you can recover from the White Screen of Death.

Step 1: Deactivate all plugins

There are two major causes of the White Screen of Death: plugins and themes. Here’s how to troubleshoot plugins.


1. Deactivate all plugins.

  • If you have access to the admin panel try deactivating all plugins and reactivate them one at a time until you find which one is causing the problem.
  • If you don’t have access you can deactivate them using one of the two methods suggested in this tutorial. Disable the plugins one-by-one until the site comes back online. You can use this process of elimination to find the troublesome plugin.

2. Reset your plugins via FTP or the file manager provided in your host’s control panel.

  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, navigate to the wp-contents folder (directory).
  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, rename the folder “plugins” to “plugins.hold”.
  • Login to your WordPress administration menus (/wp-admin).
  • Via FTP or your host’s file manager, rename “plugins.hold” back to “plugins”.

Step 2. Check theme problems by replacing with a default


If working with the plugins didn’t solve the problem, you’ll need to check to see if a theme is the problem.

  • If you have access to your admin, change the theme back to one of the default themes.
  • If you don’t have access to your admin, using FTP, change the name of your current them directory so it can’t be used. This will force WordPress to display the default theme.

Step 3: Other possible causes

If you’ve been modifying files, you may also cause the problem through some very simple mistakes. Here’s a list of other causes we’ve found in the past.

  • Blank space in functions.php – This is easy to do if you’ve been modifying the file. A good way to check is to replace it with the unchanged version of the file and see if the site works.
  • Blank line in wp-config.php – a blank line at the start of this file can bring on the White Death. Check for extra spaces at the end as well.
  • File Permissions – Make sure all the directories are 755 and the other files 644. This shouldn’t be a problem, but people have reported that changes with their hosting company have created changes in file permissions.
  • Multiple Plugins – When you’re reactivating your plugins, the first one you find that causes the problem may not be the only one. Sometimes its a combination of two or more. So you think you have the problem solved, but it may still exist and come back in the future.


  • Check your error logs. A good amount of the time, server logs will show *exactly* what php function is causing the issue, and where.
  • Run a PHP validator on the code prior to saving. It will catch a lot of simple mistakes.


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11 years ago

Hey, thanks for the post. I am really worried that my site may have been hacked or something?? I cannot access WordPress and if I type my site into the URL I get a malicious page message from avast.

What do you think?



11 years ago

I finally think I’ve solved the White Screen of Death from PHP out of memory Fatal Errors.

If setting the WordPress and PHP memory limits doesn’t work for you, try adding/edditing the following line in either your Apache conf files. I didn’t have access to those, so I added the following line to the`.htaccess` file in my WP server’s document root:

RLimitMEM max

Many hosts have set limits on each user on shared-use servers. The above setting will unfetter your server and banish the WSOD.

11 years ago

I had the WhiteScreanOfDead for 2 hours. Finally solved the problem by removing the white space above the

11 years ago

I don’t know how to even get into the wp site after getting the white screen. I just look at the white screen with no idea where to go from there.

11 years ago

Thanks for the nice and straight forward post, it helped fixed white screens errors I was getting in wordpress why building a custom theme.

Marty Smith
Marty Smith
7 years ago

Guys, you completely forgot to turn on the WP DEBUG to print the errors, like they are doing here [url=]4 ways how to fix white screen of death in wordpress[/url]

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