How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death (A Complete Guideline)

How to Fix the WordPress White Screen

The WordPress White Screen of Death (WSoD) is one of the most frustrating WordPress errors that can occur without notice. And it is especially worrying because it makes your site inaccessible to both administrators and visitors. However, this is one of the most common WordPress errors that can occur and can be easily resolved if you know how!

While there are many reasons why the White Screen of Death (WSoD) could appear on your WordPress site, in most cases, it can be resolved by following some simple steps and best practices. 

This error occurs when an unforeseen issue arises during installation or updating the WordPress software, which results in a blank screen with no additional information except the text –  “There has been a critical error on your website.”

WordPress critical Error

We’ve all been there, and we understand your concerns. In this article, we’ll be discussing in-depth on – what the white screen of death error is, what the causes are, and how to fix the WordPress white screen of death error screen. 

So, let’s get started!

What Is the White Screen of Death?

A “white screen of death” (WSoD) is an error that occurs when the site’s server returns a plain white screen instead of the usual website’s layout with content. This usually indicates that there is a problem with the site’s WordPress installation or with one of its plugins.

“What Causes the White Screen of Death?” 

The error can be caused by a few things that may have gone wrong during an update. The white screen of death error can be associated with WordPress database errors or PHP errors. 

And they are directly related to plugin incompatibility with the latest version of WordPress, missing files from the theme or plugin installed on your site, corrupted files, server-side issues, or the plain white screen can also be associated with having exceeded PHP memory.

Here’s a Quick How-To Guide on How to Fix White Screens of Death 

Time is of the essence. The more time your website stays down, the more you lose out on monetization, visitors, and working hours. You should put your highest priority on fixing such errors and getting your website back on its feet. 

Solution 1: Verify the Server Availability

We should always start with the basics and rule out the possibility that this issue is not being caused by the WordPress hosting service that you’re using. You can check your server status by using a free tool called –  Is This Website Down? 

This free tool will let you know whether your IP address is having problems, your browser’s cache is full or corrupted, or your hosting server is down.

Checking server side status with

If your website shows up green, then you’ll need to move on to other possible causes and their fixes. And if the results show up negative, that indicates your web hosting server is facing issues and you need to get in touch with their tech support.

Solution 2: Cleaning Browser Cache & WordPress Plugin Cache

Cleaning Browser Cache

Over time, your browser and certain WordPress caching plugins accumulate cache and cookie files on your browser. Websites use such caching files for a faster, smoother browsing experience. However, as time passes, more and more such files will gather up and might start causing issues. And it might even cause a critical error such as WSoD. 

To get rid of such files, simply navigate to your browser options, select all cookies and site data, and then clear the cookie files for your particular website. For your convenience, the links are given below. 

For Chrome users:                  [chrome://settings/siteData?search=cookie].

For Edge users:                         [edge://settings/siteData]. 

For Firefox users:                    Search for the option in the settings tab.

Cleaning Browser Cache

If you wish to remove all the cache and cookie files, head over to browser Settings > History > Clear Browser DATA > select the options that you want to remove and click on Clean Now.

Google Chrome - Clean Browser Data.

Cleaning WordPress Plugin Cache

If you have a WordPress caching plugin installed like WP Rocket or WP Super Cache. You can clean the plugin cache by heading over to Settings > WP Super Cache > Delete Cache. Similarly, you can do the same for the WP Rocket plugin. 

If your white screen of death issue was being caused by the browser cache or WordPress plugin cache, clearing these files should resolve the issue immediately. To check, head over to the wp-admin screen and click F5 to refresh.

If the issue still persists, move over to the other methods mentioned.

Solution 3: Try Disabling WordPress Plugins 

The simplest solution to the WordPress WSoD issue can be to disable all your plugins. Often, your WordPress version can run into conflict with one of your recently updated plugins that were optimized for an older version. 

Or the plugin itself was poorly coded and caused the issue by itself. 

If you still have access to your WordPress admin area, then just please head over to your Plugins dashboard, select all, and deactivate all the plugins from the Bulk Actions dropdown.

WordPress plugin bulk deactivation

Suppose this fixes your issue, then good. Now let’s find out which plugin was behind the WSoD. Start reactivating the plugins one by one. And check if your website is reloading all the content usually or not. 

This way, you can pinpoint the plugin causing the issue, and you can replace the plugin for an alternative or reach out to the plugin’s author for a solution by opening a ticket at their support desk. 

And in case you’re unable to access your WordPress admin area, you can try disabling the plugins via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. This is a simple way of accessing your WordPress system files manually from your site’s files directory. If you don’t know how to do so, it’s very simple. Just simply log into your FTP client and from the files directory, click on the ‘’wp-content’’ folder and rename the plugins folder to ‘’plugins_old’’.

WordPress website FTP Directory

Now you can head back to your website’s frontend and refresh the page to check if your website is back online or not. If it works, you can repeat the steps mentioned above to test the plugins one by one. 

To do so via the FTP client, head back to your ‘’wp-content” directory, and change the renamed ‘’plugins_old’’ folder back to ‘’plugins’’, and then until you find the problematic plugin, rename each folder inside it one by one. 

If this method doesn’t work for you, try the other ones that we’ve shown below. 

Note: By following some best practices for selecting a reputed WordPress plugin with a high rating and regular updates, this kind of error can be easily avoided.

Solution 4: Switch to the Default WordPress Theme

If the plugins that you’ve installed aren’t the cause of the white screen of death, maybe it was caused by the WordPress theme that you’ve installed. To determine whether this is the issue, try switching to the default WordPress theme. 

If you’re able to access your WordPress admin area, you can switch to the default or any other WordPress theme via the WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Themes and activate a simple theme such as Twenty Twenty.

WordPress Dashboard Theme Installation

If you’re unable to access your admin panel, then you’ll have to do it via the FTP client. It is the same process as shown while disabling the plugins. Log into your FTP client housing your WordPress directory, click on ‘’wp-content’’ rename the ‘’themes’’ folder. Now WordPress should be able to go back to the default theme. If you don’t have any themes to revert back to, you can upload a WordPress theme manually

Start by downloading a free or premium theme .ZIP file from your preferred theme marketplace. Next, you’ll need to unzip your theme files into a folder. Now log into your FTP client, click on the ‘’wp-content’’ from the WordPress directory, and select the themes folder. From here, simply upload the extracted theme files to the WordPress theme directory. 

Now head back to your WordPress website and activate the uploaded theme. If this method works out without a hitch, then your theme was the one causing the conflict with the latest version of WordPress. 

If it doesn’t work! Here’s another possible solution… 

Solution 5: Switching to the Debugging Mode

The following solution involves turning on WordPress’ debug mode. This mode draws attention to several important details on this plain white screen error that may have led to WordPress’s White Screen of Death.

For this to work, you have to access the wp-config.php file to enable the debug mode. You may access the wp-config.php file by signing into cPanel or by using FileZilla to establish an SFTP connection to your server.

wp-config.php file from the WordPress FTP directory

Now open the wp-config.php file of your WordPress install with a text editor of your choice and search for the following piece of code: 

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );
WordPress' debug mode - code

Now change the false code snippet to true and save the change. If, for some reason, the piece of code is missing, you can simply add it to the top of wp-config.php and upload the updated file. 

And re-visit your website. Now you will be able to see a blank screen and some error messages. While not a significant improvement, this is simply the beginning. The file that caused the issue should be specified in the WSoD error message, like in this example:

Cannot redeclare get_posts() (previously declared in 

/var/www/html/wordpress/wp-includes/post.php:1874) in 

/var/www/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/my-test-plugin/my-test-plugin.php on line 38

You will be able to see a highlighted plugin that was causing the temporary issue affecting your entire wp website. By disabling the highlighted plugin, you’ll be able to resolve the issue that was plaguing your WordPress website.

Solution 6: Try Increasing PHP Memory Limit

Your WSoD issue might be occurring because of the memory limit getting exhausted during regular operation. It can be fixed by increasing the memory size. If you don’t already know how to ‘’how to increase PHP memory in WordPress’’, no worries, we’ll show you how. Start off by locating the wp-config.php file and opening it with a text editor. Once inside, search for the following snippet: 

Defining "WP MEMORY LIMIT" as "32M"

Now, simply increase the memory limit to 256M from 32M. 

define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );

When you’re done, save the changes made to the file, and upload it back to your WordPress directory. And re-visit your website.

Here Are Some Tips on Preventing the WordPress White Screen of Death Error

The solutions shown above will surely resolve your issue with this frustrating critical error. But it is always best if you can prevent such WordPress errors in the first place. 

By following some best practices, you can prevent the WSoD error screen from occurring in the first place:

  • Make regular backups of your website and keep them on a different cloud storage platform. 
  • Refrain from installing themes and plugins from unknown or untrusted sources. Always install themes and plugins from reputed development teams, marketplaces, and sources. 
  • Create a test bed for testing WordPress, themes, and plugin updates, to ensure the updates don’t conflict with your website. 
  • Test new code and tools on a test bed before implementing them on your WordPress website. 
  • Limit or manage user access to the backend of your website depending on their technical expertise. 

In Conclusion 

Undoubtedly, this can be a perplexing situation for any WordPress user. This is a straightforward error, but due to it having multiple possible causes, to begin with, diagnostics can be a daunting task for your average WordPress user. Luckily, it is such a common issue that it has been well documented and has been resolved with every possible cause of the WSoD error. In this quick guide, we’ve tried to show you some of the common issues that can cause this WSoD critical error and their documented solutions.

We hope by following these troubleshooting methods shown above, you’ll be able to fix this WordPress critical screen issue on your own. But in the case where none of the troubleshooting methods seem to be working, you should get in touch with your hosting service provider’s support desk or a WordPress troubleshooting professional as soon as possible. 

Problems may arise in a technical environment, which is not a big deal, but the best course of action is to prevent these issues in the first place by following the best practices recommended by industry experts. 

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