WordPress White Screen of Death – What to do

You’re going by your day and decided to check on your site or do little updates…. And you type in your website address is this is all you get…..  There are two types of this.  Where you get this for anywhere on your site or just when you try to access Admin page/Dashboard.


This is what ‘White Screen of Death’ looks like…

Congratulations.  You have found ‘White Screen of Death’.  Now, to be clear, you can get this on your website itself or when you’re trying to log into admin panel. (Dashboard).  And if you google ‘WordPress white screen of death’, you’ll get plenty of results pointing to many different things.

WP codex on wcodAccording to WordPress.org Codex, two first thing they suggest upon white screen of death issue is plugin or theme compatibility issue.  And then they go on to other common issues like Internal Server Error or Database Connection issues.

And those are all great suggestions.  Little scary and serious if you ask me though…  From my experiences, if you haven’t touched any database settings and your server seems to be running, you can rule those out fairly quickly, going back to original idea of compatibility issue.

Here are few things you need to check first.

– Is my server running?

– Is my other WP sites on the same server working?

– Can I log in from the back-end?  For example Installatron

– Can I log in from my phone? (with WIFI off)

And chances are, your answer is Yes, Yes, No, and Yes.  And if this is the case, your issue can be narrowed down to one thing.  Security Plugin.

Congratulations!  Your security setup is working!  And your security setup is so good that it’s blocking you out!  I noticed that whether you’re aware or not, when you’re working in the back-end, you are access many different files and sometimes they causes error.  For example, I once had a theme that worked perfectly fine but had an old .css file that was no longer existed.  During the updates, developers probably replaced that file with something else and forgot to delete one line that was calling for the file by mistake.  This caused continuous 404 error where it logs that I’m looking for a file that does not exist which falls under suspicious activity.  And after certain number of error logs, it will lock you out showing ‘White Screen of Death’.  Unless you white-list yourself.  (And you should be able to figure out how easily)

But I white-listed my IP so that I can’t get logged out?

If you white-listed your IP address and your IP address has not changed.  Chances are you’re not locked out of website itself but just the back-end/Admin side unless you have multiple security plugins and one of them do not have your IP white-listed.  In this case, you are most likely blocked by brute protect.  Yes, this is that merged plugin that comes with JetPack that supposed to protect your site from brute attack.


So….. what do I do fix this?

changepluginfoldernameStep 1.  Identify the issue. – You need to know which plugin is causing the issue.  Log in to your FTP and go to your plugin folder inside of ‘WP-content’

Step 2.  Guess which is the cause – You probably have a few plugins you use for security purpose.  Pick any one or one that’s most likely causing the issue.

Step 3.  Change folder name of the plugin.  Just add ‘123’ after its name.  Once plugin folder name has changed, it disables the plugin right away.

Step 4.  See if your site is working.  Repeat until you find one that’s causing the issue.

in most cases, once you change folder name and change it back, you should be able to log in and the plugin you just renamed and renamed back to original name would act like it’s been just installed, asking to activate.  At this point, make sure you change settings so that you don’t get locked out again and then activate.

After a while, this becomes a routine and something you can fix within matter of minutes without stressing.  But the first couple times can get you worried.  All you need to do is calm down and find a web page that shared similar issues you are experiencing and in most cases, you can find solution fairly quickly.

Good luck!


A few more I found

Since I’ve written this article, I found a few more White Screen of Death that are caused by different reasons.  Here are my findings for your benefit.

  • White screen with ‘error’ on top left – Caused by iThemes Security
  • White screen with ‘-1’ on top left – Caused by WP Admin UI customization plugin
  • White screen with ‘too many 404 errors’ – Caused by WordFence
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