White screen of Death – what is causing it and how to fix it

White screen of Death - what is causing it and how to fix it

Mistakes are almost inevitable when managing a website. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, it’s impossible. One of the most important things is to understand the situations you get into and know how to fix errors.

One of the many WordPress errors that can break a website is the White Screen of Death (WSOD). This issue requires an immediate fix to bring the website back online.

The WSOD can be fixed simply by following the recommended checklist and using the appropriate tools.

In this blog post, we will talk about the most important things about this error and how to fix it yourself.

What is White Screen of Death

As the name suggests, the white screen of death is a blank page that appears out of nowhere when you try to access your WordPress website. It is the most common WordPress error and probably the most annoying.

Unlike a blue or black screen of death, a WSOD is usually not accompanied by an error code or status such as “Something went wrong.” It makes it a bit more difficult to pinpoint the exact problem that might be causing it and apply the correct troubleshooting methods. Some browsers may give you an HTTP 500 error message – “this page is not working,” but even that error message doesn’t explain the problem.

The white screen of death is related to database and PHP errors. It can happen due to plugin incompatibility, a missing or corrupted theme file, or a server problem, or it could mean that you’ve exceeded your PHP memory limit.

What causes the White Screen of Death error in WordPress?

There is no single fixed cause for the White Screen of Death error; however, it most often occurs due to PHP errors, memory limit issues, or database errors. Troubleshooting a WSOD error is challenging as finding the root cause is no easy game.

It can cause a lot of confusion, especially if you are meeting it for the first time and are not familiar with it.

Sometimes it can appear due to plugins or themes that are incompatible with your website software. Also, when you have exceeded your PHP memory limit, an unresponsive script can lead to this blank screen. Sometimes WSOD can also occur due to a server problem that can only be fixed by your host.

Whatever the reason, you should not delay fixing the error. You need to know how to remove it quickly.

How to Fix WordPress White Screen of Death Error

Since there are different reasons for this error, there are also many ways to fix it.

Check for server availability

First, rule out the possibility of an unavailable server using an online health reporting tool. This tool determines if the problem is the result of full/corrupted browser caching, IP issues, or an unavailable hosting server.

If the server is down, contact your hosting provider to get it back online as soon as possible.

Clear the browser cache

Sometimes simply clearing the browser cache does the trick. Websites use browser caching for a better user experience and faster browsing. However, over time, it becomes cluttered with data and cookies that are no longer needed.

To resolve this issue, go to your browser settings and clear the cache of your particular website. If you want to remove all cookies and cache, open the History tab in Chrome and click “Clear Browsing Data”. Go to Basic or Advanced, select the time range, and click Clear data.

Then go back to your website. If you see the wp-admin screen, you’re done. If the problem is still there, move on to the next step.

Enable Debug Mode

If clearing the browser cache doesn’t help, the next fix is to enable WordPress for debug mode. This mode highlights critical information about the errors that may have caused the WordPress white screen of death.

You need to access the wp-config.php file to enable debug mode.

Increase the memory limit

WordPress runs on PHP. Both layers need adequate memory to run. Sometimes the limit is exceeded, resulting in a WSOD and 500 Internal Server errors.

Disable plugins and themes

Disabling plugins and themes are among the simplest solutions to the White Screen of Death, and many troubleshooting guides often include it as the first step.

Resolve syntax errors

Developers and website owners often add custom PHP code in the functions.php file to add/optimize specific functionality. Sometimes code is added to integrate a third-party service or to improve an existing feature, as WordPress allows custom code to be added.

The code can sometimes cause a White Screen of Death error. So if you have made any changes recently, a rollback can help you out of this situation to resolve any syntax errors.

How to prevent the White Screen of Death error

  • Back up your website frequently and store it on a separate server. You can back up your server using a plugin or a third-party tool or service.
  • Refrain from installing untrusted plugins and themes. Always check the reviews, ratings, and last update date of a plugin or theme before installing it. Only install frequently updated plugins with favorable reviews, as they are unlikely to conflict with your site’s settings.
  • Test your WordPress updates in a staging environment to make sure they don’t conflict with your site’s settings.
  • When you make any changes to the code, first implement them in a test environment to be sure they don’t cause bugs.
  • Limit user permissions if multiple people have access to your site.

In this blog post, we discussed the White Screen of Death error – what it is, how to fix it, and how to prevent it.

We at Dreamtech will be happy to help if you have further questions. You can check out our blog, if you want to learn the latest and most intriguing information in the world of digital business.

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