Your WordPress website, or the back-end of your website is entirely blank/white. WHAT HAPPENED!

You have three options:

  1. Read this article of 26 causes and find/fix the problem yourself
  2. Transfer your domains / hosting to us and we will solve your problem for free
  3. Let us solve your problem for $299 USD (usually within a few hours)

If you choose option number #1 keep reading, otherwise contact us directly so that we can get started right away.

What caused the White Screen

A white screen of death (WSOD) in WordPress is usually the result of a change, either by you, your webmaster, or your hosting provider, sometimes the change is indirect, but the result is the same.

Did you:

  • Migrate your website to another host or location?
  • Install or update a plug-in?
  • Install or update a theme?
  • Make any modifications to source files?
  • Update DNS- or website acceleration settings?
  • Change the server configuration?

If you are not aware of any changes, it is possible that your hosting provider made changes that resulted in the error message. An example could be when PHP upgraded to a new branch resulting in deprecated messages. A WAF or PHP setting could then be suppressing output as a security measure to avoid information leakage.

It is also possible – and increasingly common – that your website was hacked or has been defaced. This is usually the result of not keeping the server or plug-ins up-to-date. In this case damage, may be more severe.

Before you continue – Create a Backup

Before you do anything else, create a backup of your files and your database (if you can). I repeat, before you continue, ensure you have a backup of all the files (and databases).

Depending on the cause of the WSOD, solutions may include making modifications to important files, modifications that – if done incorrectly – can do more harm than good. If you cannot create a backup, please contact us for possible assistance.

Diagnose the WSOD

Assuming you have created backups, check the page source to make sure no content is in the DOM. If there is some (but very little), it is not always technically a WSOD. Most browsers allow you to check the source by right clicking on the web page and selecting “view source”.

Next, check if the problem occurs in the following cases:

  • Does the white screen appear when you use another browser?
  • Does the white screen appear when you use another computer?
  • Does the white screen appear when you use your phone and you’re not using WiFi?

Next, check if the HTTP status code is any other than HTTP 200. Most browsers have developer extensions that allow you to check the HTTP Status code of a HTTP request. Anything other than HTTP 200 can give important clues as to what is going on. Non HTTP 200 messages may not be shown depending on browsers settings, however they will be shown in the console of developer extensions.

Possible reasons for the White Screen of Death

There are many possible reasons and although it usually happens as a result of something we do, it can also happen – unfortunately – if we don’t do anything ourselves.

The list below – in no particular order – is a list of possible causes:

  1. A recently installed (or updated) plug-in is causing problems
  2. A recently installed (or updated) theme is causing problems
  3. A WAF (Web Application Firewall) is suppressing output
  4. PHPs silence operator ‘@’ is suppressing output
  5. A 0 byte cache file is resulting in a white screen
  6. Local cache of the visitor’s browser is corrupt
  7. An included PHP file includes a die() or exit() function
  8. Index.php or an included file is 0 bytes due a corrupt upload
  9. The script that is executing doesn’t have enough memory
  10. The visitor’s IP address is blocked in a firewall
  11. An already compromised theme / plug-in was installed
  12. Your website has been hacked through an exploit (usually through a plug-in or theme)
  13. Your website has been defaced
  14. Your site is not compatible with the current PHP version
  15. Server is overloaded / doesn’t have enough resources
  16. DNS misconfiguration of the domain name
  17. Local DNS server issue is causing domain names to resolve incorrectly or not at all
  18. Spyware on the visitor’s computer is causing the problem
  19. A hosts file entry on the local computer (of the visitor) is redirecting the visitor
  20. A network connectivity issue is causing a timeout
  21. The page takes too long to load due to a recursive redirect
  22. .htaccess rewrite misconfiguration
  23. The entire server or network is down
  24. An intermediate proxy server is causing problems
  25. Hosting provider suspended the website for abuse and has no informational message
  26. Hosting provider suspended the website for administrative reasons / non-payment and has no informational message

A WAF (Web Application Firewall) is suppressing output

A WAF (such as mod_security) will suppress output intentionally to avoid information leakage. While this is great from a security perspective, it makes troubleshooting more difficult.

If you succeeded

If the information in this post helped you to restore your website, please consider to thank us by:

  • Liking or sharing this page on social media
  • Leave a testimonial
  • Leave an honest review at either Google Places or Yelp

If all else fails

If – after reading this article – you still cannot resolve the problem, you have two remaining options:

  1. Transfer your domain / hosting to us and we will solve your problem for free
  2. Let us solve your problem for $299 USD (usually within a few hours)

Either way, please contact us directly so that we can get started right away.