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WordPress White Screen of Death

Author: ; Published: Jul 9, 2012; Category: Customer Support, WordPress; Tags: ; No Comments

WordPress Logo -- blue in color, 100x100 in sizeWhat is the WordPress White Screen of Death?

It is when you go to your site and see just a blank, empty, white page rather than your site.

While you may not have known the name of the problem, it is something you can experience with WordPress (as well as other content management systems).

Now, let’s go over trouble shooting the issue so you can have your web site back online.

The most common cause of the WordPress white screen of death is a plugin — brand new or upgraded.

Since you don’t have access to your WordPress administration area, it is not as easy as logging in, going to plugins, installed plugins, active plugins, and then deactivating the plugin.

What you can do instead is FTP to your site, and change to the wp-content directory, then to the plugins directory.

From there you can rename (best case) or delete (if your FTP client doesn’t allow you to rename, your best bet would be to backup the directory and files first) delete the plugin directory you just installed or just upgraded.

Now, in the worse case if you logged into WordPress, saw a half dozen or so updates, selected all of them, and ran through all of the updates… maybe you didn’t write down in advance the names of each plugin updated.

Check the file and date stamp of the folders in the plugin directory for clues.

In the absolute worse case, rename all of the plugins.  I recommend including the original plugin folder name, and maybe adding in something like “-broken” after the folder name or “broken-” before the file name.

If there were several plugins updated, or you just don’t know which one, I do recommend renaming one plugin folder at a time (keep it renamed) as you try out your site.

If you’ve renamed several, and the site now works, then go back and rename one folder, test the site; if the site is still working, rename another folder and test the site.  Continue this until the site is broken again to correctly identify which specific plugin caused the problem.

Now that you’ve identified which plugin caused the problem, I encourage you to visit the WordPress support area for plugins, and post about your problem so the plugin developer can work on a fix.

If you are one of our managed hosting customers, please do not hesitate to call us or open up a support ticket; we will gladly work through this with and for you.

Contact us if you have any questions.

 

Peter Abraham
Former CEO of Dynamic Net, Inc. Will be transitioning to a new career in the near future.
Peter Abraham

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Peter Abraham

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