If you have a WordPress website and you’ve been doing it for a long time, then you have seen the WordPress white screen of death error. This is a very unpleasant thing. You are trying to open a page of the site, and in response, you see only a blank white screen, it can be on absolutely all pages of the site, in the admin panel, and so on. The worst thing here is that it’s unclear what to do and how to solve the problem when you can’t even access the wp-admin section.
In this article, we’ll look at what a WordPress white screen of death is, why it appears, and how to fix it. And it needs to be fixed quickly. We will cover the following topics in this article –
What is a white screen of Death?
This screen got its name due to the Windows blue death screen, which, probably, everyone remembers.
In some respects, Microsoft’s blue screen and the WordPress white screen of death are similar. Both of them notify that something gone wrong, but there are no errors on the WordPress screen. The error appears at an early stage of the page generation, and the page itself has not yet loaded and will not be displayed accordingly. The ‘WP_Debug’ mode to display the errors and warnings on-screen is disabled in WordPress by default so that your users do not see anything unnecessary. WordPress often faces HTTP status code errors like 404 error, 504 gateway timeout error, 403 error.
What are the Causes of the White Screen of Death?
A lot of possible reasons that can cause the WordPress white screen of death, here are some of them:
- You updated WordPress and the update was not completed correctly or stopped in between
- A new or an updated or changed plugin causes the error.
- The installed theme is causing the error.
- There is a conflict between the plugins or theme
- An error in the database;
- Problems with page caching.
Now that we know the possible causes of the problem, let’s look at these in more detail and see how we can fix the blank White Screen of Death error.
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Ideally, you should have full access to the server root, where the site is hosted via SSH, but this method is for experienced users. If you are not comfortable with dealing with the Command line, we advise using FTP or SFTP to access the site files and folders.
You will require an FTP file manager like FileZilla or you can even use the online file manager provided by your hosting company. The best FTP manager is FileZilla in our experience. It connects in seconds and works reliably. So, we will be using that in our examples here.
Many instructions write that immediately you need to disable all plug-ins, recently installed themes, cache, file rights, and many more. You can check all this for hours. But why all this if you can immediately see what the problem was? To do this, enable WordPress debugging mode and reload the page. In most cases, the system will display a few errors and you can start with them. So, how to do that?
1. Debugging mode-
If you have already installed FileZilla on your local computer, connect to the server. You can find the FTP login and password from your hosting control panel. If you cannot find it, please contact technical support, they will have to help you.
Next, find the ‘wp-config.php’ file in the site’s root directory, and inside that, look for the following line:
Change it to the following:
Save the changes and clear any caching on the server, as well as your browser cache. If you are using Managed hosting, you might also find the ability to access the site’s error logs. You can see the same information in the error logs of the site.
Here already, most likely, you will see what’s the matter there and why you see the WordPress blank white screen of death. And now you can act according to the errors displayed. For example, if you see a problem with the connection to the database, you can fix it, if you have problems with some plugin or theme, you can turn it off or clear the cache if the problem is there.
If you see an error related to a plugin, you can deactivate the plugin by changing its folder name via FTP and then clearing the site cache and trying again.
In case you see an error related to the theme. You can change the name of the folder of the theme which is giving the error and then you can log in to the wp-admin section and change the theme to a temporary theme.
2. Deactivate plugins-
After looking at the error messages or trying the above method, does not fix the Error, then the first thing you can try is to disable all the plugins installed on the site. If you have access to the admin panel, sometimes it happens, try open the address wp-admin, then you can do it. Then you can access the site via FTP and rename the ‘wp-content/plugins‘ folder to something like ‘plugins_old‘.
If now the site loads will probably be broken because there are no plugins activated, but it means that the fault lies in one or more of the plugins. You can then rename the plugins folder back to its original name and activate the plugins one by one to find the plugin at fault.
3. Choose the default theme-
Sometimes the origin of the problem can be the WordPress theme. The easiest way to check this is to use the default theme. If you rename the folder with the current theme, WordPress will automatically start using the default theme if it is installed.
If you do not have the default theme installed you can download it from the WordPress site and copy the folder to the site’s themes folder. You can also install or activate the default theme from the wp-admin section if you can access it.
4. Clear cache-
Caching can also sometimes cause such problems, especially if the site is newly migrated from another server. In that case, even debugging may not help. But if you are using a caching plugin, the problem might be solved by disabling the plugin and then deleting the cache folder, if it exists, in the ‘wp-content‘ folder of the site
If not, then you can also try to clear the server cache.
5. Check Database-
As WordPress uses PHP and MySQL, a lot of the data is stored in the database. So, if something goes wrong with the database, your website will not function properly. Try to use the Adminer or phpMyAdmin to access the database and view the tables.
Check if all the WordPress tables exist in the database or not.
Next, see the table prefix which is set before each table name. For example, if the tables are named like ‘wp_options‘ or ‘wp_posts‘ that means that the table prefix is ‘wp_‘. Access the ‘wp-config.php‘ file and confirm if it is using the same table prefix as that you see in the database.
Sometimes the database works okay, but the server’s disk might be full or one of the other services on the server might not be configured properly. To fix that, contact your hosting provider technical support.
6. File permissions-
If your site is hosted on an Ubuntu server, then you can try this fix as well. Linux has a very flexible permissions system; it allows you to specify which users can access which files. Why Linux? Most servers today use this operating system, so it may be essential to give the right permission to the files and folders. The same goes for services. If the web server or the PHP interpreter does not have the correct permission to read the WordPress files, then you will not be able to open the site. The correct permissions for the WordPress files and directories are:
- All files – 644;
- All folders – 744;
- File wp-config.php – 660;
The best way to set up permissions is to use an online file manager or one provided by your hosting company or you can use the FTP Client like Filezilla as well.
Once you open the directory where the WordPress files and directories are placed, simply right-click the file or directory whose permissions you wish to change and click on the ‘File Permissions’ button and change the permissions.
7. Server limitations-
Perhaps, the server lacks the available RAM to generate the page and display it on the screen. This can be due to the very strict limitations of the webserver. Most often it happens in cheap plans or when the server is not properly configured. To increase the amount of available memory, add this line to the “wp-config.php” file:
define (‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);
256 megabytes is an average amount of memory to provide smooth work.
Along with this, you would also have to update the ‘memory limit ‘ value in the php.ini file on your server. If you are on Managed Hosting, you can also contact your hosting provider to do this.
8. The corrupt update-
The WordPress white screen of death error may be caused by an unsuccessful update, for example, due to the server’s timeout. Check if there is a “.maintenance” file in the root folder. This WordPress file is created just for the update period. If the update was completed, but the file was not deleted, then you can delete it manually, if the update was not performed, you may need to update WordPress manually.
In this article, we have examined what is a WordPress white screen of death error, why it happens, and how to solve it. The cause of this error can be other problems, for example, the site caught a virus, problems with the hosting provider, DNS error, etc. But the reasons considered in the article are most obvious. If you have any questions, ask in the comments!
How to fix the white screen of death on your Windows 10 and 11?
Now, apart from fixing the white screen of death on WordPress, the error can also be triggered on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 devices. This can happen due to multiple reasons that we are going to explore and figure out what you can do to fix this as soon as possible.
Reasons for White Screen of Death Windows 10 or Windows 11
There could be multiple reasons for triggering a White screen of death on your Windows devices, but here we are going to mention the most prevalent ones such as:
- Outdated Graphics drivers
- Hardware failures
- Recently installed Windows Update
However, whatever the reason is the solution would be similarly applicable to both Windows versions 10 and 11. Let us check out what can you do to fix the white screen of death on both Windows versions.
Fixing White Screen of Death Windows 10/11
There are a couple of methods available that you can start with to fix the white screen of death error on your Windows 10 or 11 computer. But, let us try some easy methods first.
Force restart your Windows PC
Sometimes, due to a temporary glitch in the operating system, you might view a white screen of death error on your computer screen while booting up. The immediate step you can do is to force restart your Windows PC by pressing and holding down the power button for about a couple of minutes or until the system gets completely turned off. After that wait for a further 10 seconds and click on the power button again and reboot the system.
If the issue persists you can move on to another method.
Remove devices from your computer connected through USB
If force restart didn’t resolve the White screen of death issue, then you must try removing all the devices connected via USB to your computer. Sometimes, a faulty peripheral device that is connected to your PC can be the reason for triggering such errors.
After removing all the peripheral devices such as the mouse, keyboard, or any other device connected to your PC, force restarts your computer and turn it on again. If the issue resolves, try connecting all the peripheral devices one by one and check which one is the main culprit.
Turn your Windows 10 or 11 PC into Safe mode
Turning safe mode in both Windows 10 and 11 are quite the same and it allows you to identify whether any third-party apps are causing this issue or not.
- Click on the Windows button as well as the key R simultaneously.
- Type “msconfig” in the box provided.
3. Select the Boot tab > Safe Boot option and click on the Apply button.
4. Now select the Restart button to apply the changes.
and your computer will boot up in safe mode.
Keep Graphic Driver Updated
Sometimes, an outdated Graphic Driver may contain some bugs or issues that trigger a white screen of death error on your computer screen. Hence, it needs to be updated with the latest version available.
- First, you need to right-click on the Windows start button and select Device Manager from the list as shown below:
2. In the Device Manager, search for Display Adapters or Graphics cards click on it to extend.
3. Then right-click for options to reveal and select Update driver.
4. After successfully updating your Graphics driver, restart your Windows PC.
Update your Windows
If you have skipped Windows updates, then it might cause a white screen of death error on your system. Therefore, you must keep updating your Windows with the latest software version available which usually contains bug fixes and performance improvements.
To update your windows
- Click on the Windows key (Win) + I key simultaneously.
- Click on System settings > Update and security followed by Windows update.
3. Now on the Windows update page, you can check if there are any Windows updates available or not. If available install them immediately.
4. However, you can also check out the Windows Installed Update history by clicking on the “View installed update history ” link located just below the “Check for updates” button, as shown in the picture above.
5. Click on it to check which update might be causing the problem and click on the “uninstall updates‘ link to remove that faulty update.
Apply Restore point
If none of the above methods fix your white death of screen issue, the last method you can do is to use the Restore point. This method will bring back your Windows PC to the time it was in before the white screen of death error started to appear.
However, if you have not created a restore point you can check here.
White screen of Death android
Other than WordPress websites and Windows PC, the white screen of death can also be experienced on smartphones running on Android devices. It can happen on any Android device due to multiple reasons, some of which are:
- Insufficient memory on your phone
- Installed Faulty Apps
- System Internal issues
- External damage to Android phone
Whatever the reason is, there are some methods available that you can try to fix this issue from your end.
White screen of death android fix
- Reboot your Android device to its factory settings.
Go to your Android settings and search for the Back & Restore option, click on it, and proceed as per the instructions.
- The clear cache memory of the installed apps and uninstall unnecessary apps.
- Free up memory or storage
- Move your apps from external storage to internal.
- If none of any methods work, the last thing you can do is get your device repaired by a technical expert.
The white screen of death error you can experience in any of the platforms whether it is a WordPress site, Windows PCs, or on your Android devices. The whole experience is quite frustrating and irritating for the users. There are plenty of reasons that trigger such a type of error, but the best part is the solutions are available and able to fix this issue immediately.
If you have any more points to add that we have missed mentioning in this post or would like to share your own experience, please do let us know in the comment section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I fix the white screen of death?
Check out these 8 methods to fix the white screen of death error on your WordPress site.
1. Debugging mode
2. Deactivate plugins
3. Choose the default theme
4. Clear cache
5. Check Database
6. File permissions
7. Server limitations
8. The corrupted update
What causes the white screen of death on a PC?
There can be multiple reasons that cause the white screen of death on PC, but some of the most common reasons are:
1. Outdated Graphics drivers
2. Hardware failures
3. Recently installed Windows Update
How do you fix a computer with a white screen?
You can fix a computer with a white death of screen error by following these easy methods:
1. Force restart your PC
2. Update your Computer Operating system with the latest version available.
3. Update your graphics driver
4. Turn on your PC in a safe more
5. Remove all the peripherals connected via USB
6. Use restore point