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Fix WordPress White Screen of Death (WSOD)

Troubleshoot WordPress issues effectively: Activate debug mode, identify errors, resolve plugin conflicts, evaluate themes, and check server configurations.
WSOD is like a fog

Key Points at a Glance

  1. Debug Mode Activation: WordPress offers a built-in debug mode accessed by modifying the "wp-config.php" file, aiding in issue troubleshooting.
  2. Error Identification: Upon enabling debug mode, error messages or warnings replace the white screen, pinpointing the underlying cause, such as plugin conflicts or PHP errors.
  3. Plugin Conflict Resolution: Troubleshooting involves deactivating plugins by renaming the "plugins" folder, gradually reactivating them to identify the problematic one, and seeking support or alternatives if needed.
  4. Theme Evaluation: Switching to a default WordPress theme helps determine if the issue lies with the current theme, prompting contacting the theme developer or exploring alternative themes.
  5. Server Configuration Check: Verifying file permissions and server configuration ensures they meet WordPress requirements, with recommended permissions for folders being 755 and for files being 644.

Table of Contents

Whenever you get a white screen of death on your WordPress website, it usually means there's a conflict. Let’s look at some useful steps to identify the problem, and perhaps resolve the issue too.

Step 1: Enable Debugging

WordPress has a built-in debug mode, which will help us troubleshoot the issue.

Access your WordPress installation files via FTP or file manager in your hosting control panel.

Locate the "wp-config.php" file in the root directory.

Open the "wp-config.php" file for editing.

Look for the line that says define('WP_DEBUG', false); and change it to define('WP_DEBUG', true);.

Save the changes and upload the modified "wp-config.php" file back to your server.

Step 2: Identify the Issue

Refresh your WordPress website. Instead of a white screen, you should now see error messages or warnings that indicate the cause of the issue.

Note down the specific error message or warning you see. Common issues include plugin conflicts, theme problems, or PHP errors.

If the error message references a specific plugin or theme, try deactivating that plugin or switching to a default WordPress theme to see if the issue is resolved.

If this didn't resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.

Blank White Screen in WP is foggy
Try and find a way to cross the bridge, even when the end of the path is hidden.

Step 3: Check for Plugin Conflicts

Although WordPress plugins and add-ons are a powerful way to add functionality to the CMS, it sometimes may cause issues due to compatibility or other conflicts.

Rename the "plugins" folder in your WordPress installation directory to something like "plugins_disabled". This will deactivate all the plugins at once.

Refresh your WordPress website. If the website loads properly, the issue is likely caused by a plugin.

Rename the "plugins_disabled" folder back to "plugins".

Go to the "plugins" folder and rename each plugin's folder one by one. After renaming each folder, refresh your website to identify the problematic plugin.

Once you've identified the problematic plugin, you can either reach out to the plugin developer for support or consider finding an alternative plugin that serves a similar purpose.

Troubleshooting is just a part of a Web Developers Life.


Step 4: Check Theme-related Issues

Switch to a default WordPress theme (e.g., Twenty Twenty-One) by going to "Appearance" > "Themes" in your WordPress dashboard.

Refresh your website. If the website loads properly, the issue may be with your previous theme.

Contact the theme developer for assistance or consider using a different theme if the issue persists.

Step 5: Verify File Permissions and Server Configuration

Ensure that file and folder permissions are correctly set on your server. The recommended permissions are typically 755 for folders and 644 for files.

Contact your hosting provider to ensure that your server configuration meets the requirements for running WordPress.

Step 6: Seek Professional Help

If you have followed the above steps and are still unable to resolve the issue, it may be beneficial to seek assistance from a professional WordPress developer or your hosting provider's support team. They can offer more advanced troubleshooting and assistance in fixing the White Screen of Death.

Note: Remember to keep backups of your WordPress files and database before making any changes to ensure you can restore your website in case of any complications.

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FAQ mode


Learning mode

  1. What causes the WordPress white screen of death?

    The white screen typically results from conflicts within WordPress, such as plugin or theme compatibility issues, PHP errors, or server configuration problems.

  2. What should I do if I encounter the white screen of death?

    Start by enabling debug mode to reveal error messages, then troubleshoot by identifying and resolving plugin conflicts, checking theme compatibility, and verifying server configurations.

  3. How do I enable debugging in WordPress?

    Debugging in WordPress involves accessing the "wp-config.php" file and changing the line define('WP_DEBUG', false); to define('WP_DEBUG', true);.

  4. How can I identify plugin conflicts?

    To identify plugin conflicts, deactivate all plugins at once by renaming the "plugins" folder, then reactivate them one by one to pinpoint the problematic plugin.

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About the Author

Baxter Jones

With over 15 years of experience in the web industry, I specialize in design, user experience, and web best practices. I have a keen eye for detail and thrive on following a structured process in my work. I’m passionate about WordPress, considering it the best innovation since sliced bread. When I’m not at my computer, you’ll find me enjoying time in the garden.


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