How to Fix the WordPress White Screen of Death

The WordPress white screen of death is one of the common issues that people ask to solve. You’re not the only person who finds this problem and browses forums to find out how to fix it. It’s similar to errors with the database connection and much more. But first, why do you get that white page when trying to access your site in the browser?

WordPress white screen of death causes

There are multiple causes for that problem, and the most popular are:

1. Broken theme

If you’ve tried to upload a new theme that you think it’s the best for your blog, without testing it on your local machine, or, on another online server. You may find yourself in a situation where you can’t log in to WordPress. But also, you can’t delete that theme. Your theme will cause many problems, and as a result, a WordPress white screen of death will appear and will still be there.

New bloggers try to install free themes from unknown sources. We understand that people want free things, but, the problem is that the majority of these free themes break your blog, and in other cases, they can be used by shakers to stop the site completely.

So, stay away from free things. If you really need a theme, browse the official WordPress themes and select the one that you need. Sure, it’s limited in functions and options, but, the official free there is better than a theme that stops your blog from working again.

2. A problem in a Plugin

Exactly as themes, if you’ve uploaded a new plugin and noticed that you get a white page, then, your plugin is the cause. A non-functional plugin can stop your site from working as normal. At the same time, you can’t access that plugin to deactivate it from the WordPress dashboard.

So, next time when you have a new plugin that you don’t trust, or, that you don’t have a rating about it, try to test it in your local machine, or directly, in an online server, just to make sure that it works. Thus, you will avoid these problems in the future. Now, let’s solve the site White screen of death problem.

Fixing the problem

There are two ways to fix the white screen of death, the first one is to use your cPanel account and deactivate a theme or plugin. The second way is to access your server from your FTP software and do the same.

1. The cPanel solution

Before starting, please make sure that you have a full backup of your entire site, or the database, at least. If you don’t have a daily backup, you can learn how to back up a WordPress database from cPanel. What we’ll do is rename the last theme or plugin that you’ve uploaded.

That way, your WordPress theme functions will ignore your theme or plugin and make them deactivated. So, you can get access again to your site and use your first theme. This is a method that deletes the theme function, and the site will be without an active theme.

Login to cPanel, and click on ”File Manager”, or any other nomination for your blog files editor.

How to fix WordPress White Screen of Death

Then, open the ”wp-content” directory where your themes and plugins are located, as the next screenshot example.

Open wp-content file

Next, select ”themes”, or ”plugins” depending on your exact problem, to open the parent folder.

Select themes or plugins to rename

Now, let’s suggest that a newly uploaded theme caused the problem. So, we will select it to rename, you can rename that folder as you want. We need another name to make WordPress ignore it as a theme, and as a result, it becomes deactivated. It’s better to add “off” or “deactivated” at the end to make things simple for you to remember later.

WordPress white screen of death fix

Then, rename your theme and click the “Rename” button.

Theme renamed

As you can see, your broken theme is now deactivated. All you have to do is log in as normal to the WordPress admin dashboard and activate another theme that can be the default one added during the blog installation. Or, use any trusted and tested theme, and your problem is solved.

2. The FTP solution

This is the same solution, but, with FTP, this way, you can access your themes and plugins (if you can’t do it through the cPanel), but, you need to have your FTP login details first. If you forgot them, just check the first email that you’ve received when signed up to your hosting account. In general, your login details are in this form:

  • ”FTP username”, your hosting username.
  • ”Password”, the same as your hosting account (cPanel)
  • ”FTP host”, something like this:

You need a file transfer software like Filezilla, it’s free and the most popular. After installing Filezilla, you get this window:

Fix WordPress white screen with Filezilla

Forget the left part in the Filezilla dashboard, and focus on the right part only. It shows all your blog or site files. As in the cPanel, you just need to locate the ”wp-content” file. Normally, you can find it under the “public HTML” folder.

WordPress White Screen of Death

You will get the themes or the plugins directory. Click the one that you think is causing the white page issue, then “right-click” and rename it to what you want. Then, refresh your browser page to access your WordPress admin panel again, and add another functional theme.

The above two solutions are the same, but, using different ways to access the blog files. If you forget which one of your themes caused the problem, rename them all, one by one, and refresh your blog URL in the browser to detect the one that has the problem. The same thing applies to plugins; rename them one by one to find the issue.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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