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The “white screen of death” (WSOD) is a common issue experienced by WordPress users, where the website appears as a blank white page instead of the expected content. There are several potential causes of the WSOD, and it can be difficult to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.
Common causes of the WSOD
PHP errors or fatal errors
One of the most common causes of the WSOD is a PHP error or fatal error. These errors can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as a plugin or theme conflict, a problem with the website’s code, or a server-side issue. When a PHP error occurs, it can cause the entire website to stop functioning, resulting in the WSOD.
Theme or template issues
Another common cause of the WSOD is a problem with the website’s theme or template. A theme or template can become corrupted, or a theme or template update can cause an issue with the website’s code. This can cause the website to stop functioning and display the WSOD.
A plugin conflict can also cause the WSOD. When two or more plugins are not compatible with each other, they can cause a conflict, resulting in the WSOD. This can happen when a plugin is updated and is no longer compatible with another plugin, or when two plugins use the same function or class name.
Another potential cause of the WSOD is a problem with the website’s server. A server-side issue, such as a server overload, can cause the website to stop functioning and display the WSOD. Additionally, if your website is hosted on a shared hosting, the problem could be caused by another website on the same server, or the server itself.
Memory limit issues
Memory limit issues are also a common cause of WSOD. WordPress uses a lot of memory to run and if the memory limit is not sufficient, the website will stop working and display the WSOD.
Troubleshooting and resolving the WSOD
1. Check the error logs
The first step in troubleshooting the WSOD is to check the error logs for your website. These logs can provide information about the cause of the issue, such as the specific PHP error or server-side problem that is causing the WSOD.
2. Deactivate all plugins
One of the most common causes of the WSOD is a plugin conflict. To determine if a plugin is causing the problem, you can deactivate all of the plugins on your website and then reactivate them one at a time until you find the plugin that is causing the conflict.
3. Switch to the default theme
If the problem is caused by a theme or template issue, you can switch to the default WordPress theme (Twenty Twenty or Twenty Nineteen) and see if the WSOD disappears. If it does, then the problem is likely with the theme you were using.
4. Increase the PHP memory limit
If the problem is caused by a memory limit issue, you can increase the PHP memory limit for your website. This can be done by editing the
wp-config.php file and adding
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );.
5. Contact your hosting provider
If you have checked the error logs and tried the other troubleshooting steps, and you still can’t resolve the WSOD, you should contact your hosting provider for assistance. They can help you determine if the problem is caused by a server-side issue and assist you in resolving the problem.
It’s important to keep in mind that troubleshooting the WSOD can be difficult, and it may take some time to determine the cause of the problem and find a solution.
In conclusion, the “white screen of death” (WSOD) is a common issue experienced by WordPress users, where the website appears as a blank white page instead of the expected content. There are several potential causes of the WSOD, such as a PHP error, a theme or template issue, a plugin conflict, a problem with the server, or a memory limit issue.
To troubleshoot and resolve the WSOD, you can check the error logs, deactivate all plugins, switch to the default theme, increase the PHP memory limit, and contact your hosting provider. It’s important to keep in mind that troubleshooting the WSOD can be difficult, and it may take some time to determine the cause of the problem and find a solution.
Additionally, some causes of WSOD are related to the server which can be hard to troubleshoot without the proper knowledge and access. It’s always a good idea to have regular backups of your website, so you can restore it in case of any issues. This can save you a lot of time and effort in case you ever experience the WSOD.
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