Blank White Screen(White Screen of Death)

If you load up a page on your WordPress site and you are met with a blank white screen this is what is known as the "White Screen of Death" or "WSOD" for short. The first thing to do... is to not panic! This is actually a pretty common WordPress issue. What is happening here is that you actually have errors on your site but because WordPress hides them by default you are met with a blank white screen hence the name "White Screen of Death". The first thing you should do is contact your host, that way they can check first to see if it is anything on their side causing the issue. If the "WSOD" is being caused by your host they should be able to fix it for you. But what if it's something happening on your site, and caused by something you added? How do you address it? Well, let's figure that out. 

WP_DEBUG

The first thing to do would be to enable WP_DEBUG. By default server errors are hidden by WordPress. Enabling WP_DEBUG will force WordPress to show the errors on the screen. Enabling WP_DEBUG is simple. All you need to do is open up the wp-config.php file within your preferred text editor. Then change define('WP_DEBUG', false); to  define('WP_DEBUG', true); All you are really changing is just the "False" to "True".  After you have made the change please then save your wp-config.php file. After the file has been saved please view the screen that you were originally seeing the WSOD on. There should be errors where there was a blank white screen before. Now that you are able to see the errors it is time to address them. If you look at the errors now shown on the screen if any of them reference a path to a theme or plugin please contact the author of that theme or plugin. They will be able to help you with the errors that is causing the WSOD. 

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );
 
When you enable WP_DEBUG this forces WordPress to show the errors that are happening on your site. That means your customers will be able to see the errors if you enable WP_DEBUG. If you don't want your customers or site visitors seeing the errors on your site you can have WordPress place the errors from WP_DEBUG into a log file. Please take a look at the sample code below on how to place the WP_1DEBUG errors into a log file. 
 
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true ); // Enable showing of errors in WordPress
define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPAY' false ); // Instructs WordPress to not show the errors
define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true ); // Tells WordPress to place errors in a log wp-content/debug.log
If the errors run on with no end or the page will not load after enabling WP_DEBUG then sending the errors to the log is the way to go. Because it will capture them in a file instead of displaying them all over your site. This helps if you have a site with a high amount of traffic and you do not want errors showing up all over your site when trying to fix the WSOD. As stated previously once you have the errors in the logs look for references to specific plugins or themes. Then contact the theme/plugin author of the error being referenced within your debug.log file. 

 

Google is Your Best Friend

When your site is filled with errors that you know nothing about one of the best things you can do is "google it". More often than not someone out there has already run into that issue and asked for help somewhere on some forum. Luckily Google(or your preferred search engine) makes it easy to find this info. So all you need to do is copy the error and paste it into the google search bar. You will then see there are other users that have run into that same issue and even posted their solutions! 

 

PHP Error Logs

Another place to check for errors to share with support is the PHP error logs. If you do not know where to find your PHP error log please check with your host as they will know the location of the file(s). If you have access to your server and they're enabled you can check them using your file editor of choice. PHP error logs can be in different locations depending on how you or your host has configured PHP. A good way to figure out the location of your server PHP error log is to view your phpinfo(); file. This file will show all the configuration details of your server's PHP install. There is a phpinfo.php file at the end of this article that can be uploaded to a users site. Just upload it to the main/root directory of your site. Then go to mysite.com/phpfinfo.php Once there you will see the phpinfo page. Scroll down till you get to the "Core" section. Then find the "error_log" item this will show you where the PHP error log is located. Now that you know the location of the log you can download it and address the errors located within. 

 

 

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