How to fix the WordPress White Screen of Death.

So, you’ve just launched your brand new WordPress site, but instead of the beautiful homepage, all you see is a terrifying blank white screen. Don’t panic!

It’s known as the White Screen of Death or WSOD for short, and, it’s one of the most common (and annoying) WordPress errors.

This is going to be a little bit more of a techy how-to, so don’t worry if you struggle to get the gist.

Tip: if you are struggling with this issue frequently, it may be worth reaching out to a WordPress Expert to fix the problem, and keep you covered if anything else goes wrong!

What is it?

WSOD occurs when there is something wrong with your site, so it can’t load correctly.

Instead of displaying content, the screen is totally blank, making you think you’ve royally f***ed up somewhere.

Most of the time, the error is caused by incompatible themes/ plugins, PHP errors, exhausted memory limits, or update issues.

So, here’s what you can do to try and fix it.

Check for Compatibility Issues

Sometimes, a newly installed plugin or theme might not fully compatible with your current WordPress version or other installed themes/plugins.

To figure out what the problem is, you’ll need to deactivate all plugins and temporarily switch to a default theme.

Deactivate Plugins:
  • Access your site’s files through an FTP client or use your hosting provider’s file manager.
  • Navigate to the wp-content folder and then plugins.
  • Rename the plugins folder to something like plugins_deactivated.

This action will deactivate all plugins at once.

Switch to a Default Theme:
  • While accessing your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance and then Themes.
  • Activate as default theme like Twenty Twenty-One.
  • Now, check if the WSOD is resolved.

If it is, one of the plugins or your previous theme was causing the issue.

Increase PHP Memory Limit

If the WSOD is still there after all that, it might be because of an insufficient PHP memory limit.

To fix this, you can increase the memory limit.

Edit the wp-config.php file:
  • Access your website files using FTP or the file manager.
  • Locate the wp-config.php file in the main WordPress directory.
  • Add the following line just before the line that says “That’s all, stop editing!”:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’ , ‘256M’) ;

Remember, the value can be adjusted based on your hosting package’s capabilities.

Enable Debugging to Identify Errors

If the above doesn’t solve it, it’s time to bring out and enable WordPress debugging to scan for any possible PHP errors.

Re-edit the wp-config.php file:

Like earlier, access this file.

Look for the line that says define(‘WP_DEBUG’, false); and change it to:

  • define(‘WP_DEBUG’, true);
  • define(‘WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY’, false);
  • define(‘WP_DEBUG_LOG’, true);

This will enable debugging, save errors to a log file, but prevent them from being displayed on your site.

Seek Out a Pro

You have followed everything we’ve suggested but it’s not helping?

The time has come.

Consult a WordPress developer or contact your hosting provider’s support team.

They will have more advanced tools and expertise to resolve the issues.

Still Lost?

Facing the WSOD can be unnerving, especially for those that are new to WordPress errors.

However, with the steps outlined above, you should be able to give it a go.

But if all else fails, don’t hesitate to ask for expert help, we can help you out with your WSOD troubles, and manage any other issues that my come up on your site.

Support packages help defend against any surprises, so you’re not left staring at a blank or broken website.

Lilli Foreman

Lilli Foreman

Lilli works on copy, content, site build and layout at Toast. She helps clients with optimised blogs, on-page SEO and general site work.