It is inevitable that you’ll come across some bugs while working on your website. One of the scariest things that can happen is “The White Screen of Death” or WSOD. Vancouver Managed IT Services can get this sorted out for you.

But before we move on, let’s define the WSOD (white screen of death). This happens when you click on a WordPress page or load your WordPress site, and you get nothing but a blank page.

The term, I believe, comes from the Blue Screen of Death which is a common problem with windows computers.

This is when the entire windows computer flits out because of an error, brings up a weird blue screen with arbitrary white writing and requires a reset if it hasn’t already that done automatically for you.

Unfortunately, it is not so easy to just reset WordPress. The entire troubleshooting sequence revolves around identifying the problem.

Sometimes you can bring it back to life, but at a sacrifice of a plugin for example.

What Happens Exactly When You Get a WSOD?

The WordPress white screen makes your website inaccessible to administrators as well as visitors. While some browsers such as Mozilla Firefox abide by the name and show you nothing more than a white screen, some others such as Google Chrome present an HTTP 500 error.

Common Causes of WSOD

If you encounter this with your WordPress site, the next step is to find out the root cause of the error and fix it. Below are the three most common reasons that can cause a WSOD.

Problem with Plugins

The most common reason is a faulty plugin. Maybe a plugin went bad during an update or a newly installed plugin is not compatible with your website. To find out if this was the case you want to deactivate your plugins one-by-one. There are a few ways to do this.

Login through FTP and navigate to the directory that contains your WordPress files. From there, access the wp-content/plugins folder and deactivate each plugin one-by-one ( you could rename the folder associated with each plugin such as Akismet to akismet_back so that WordPress doesn’t load it).

Another option is to simply log in to the WordPress admin and click on deactivate in your plugins section.

Once a plugin is deactivated, reload your site. If your website is up and running after a certain plugin is deactivated, you have found your culprit.

Problem with Themes

Themes are the second most common reason behind a white screen. Often, when you update a new theme, one or more of the plugins can conflict with the theme.

Troubleshooting a theme is similar to troubleshooting a plugin. You simply need to navigate to the wp-content folder, as in the previous step and disable the existing theme.

This will force WordPress to load a default theme such as Twenty Sixteen. If by any chance, you seem to have deleted the default theme, you can upload the theme again to the wp-content/themes folder.

If this fixes the white screen then you will need to deal with the faulty theme in order to solve the problem.

Memory Issues

Plugins and other WordPress processes use PHP memory for execution. It is possible that you may have outgrown the current memory capacity of your server or a faulty plugin is messing with the memory.

You can manually increase the memory limit of your WordPress site by adding the following line of code to your wp-config.php.

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);

Panic or Get HELP!

There’s a lot of malicious Trojans, worms and other nasties out there that can infect a WordPress site at its core. So beware. I’d strongly advise putting in a support ticket to your host. Tell them the problem and let them know that you deactivated all plugins and themes.

Some hosts are really good like Vancouver Managed IT Services, but most will give you a one solution answer such as, reinstall WordPress which can work but we would know better.

Book an appointment with us today to get the WSOD fixed once and for all!