Unlike a majority of errors that might crop up with a WordPress website, the “White Screen of Death” is undeniably a key source of stress for avid WordPress users. If you too are one such WordPress user who has experienced the torment of the “white screen of death” then this is a tutorial that will allow you to take a good sigh of relief.

White Screen of Death - WordPress CMS

White Screen of Death – WordPress CMS

As you read through this post, you’ll get to know about two possible causes of WordPress white screen of death. Also, I would be covering the remedies for fixing this commonly encountered WordPress error.

Knowing the two key causes of WordPress ‘White Screen of Death’

Before heading on to the fixing methods, let’s get to know the two basic causes of the “white screen of death” issue in WordPress websites. Here are the ones I’m talking about:


The White Screen of Death might take place due to one of the following activities performed using the plugins:

  • Activating a plugin for your WordPress site/blog
  • Modifying an active WordPress plugin’s backend code
  • Changing the settings for an active WordPress plugin
  • Code

As per a scenario different from using a WordPress plugin, you might be engaged in modifying the functions.php file for your installed WordPress theme. Under such a situation, you might view the below message on the screen:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end in /home/name/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/themes/your_theme/functions.php on line 231

This message points out some or the flaw in the code. Since WordPress can’t work properly with a broken code, you need to modify and change it for smooth operation of your website.

And now, let me introduce you to the possible solutions for fixing the ‘White Screen of Death’ error encountered in WordPress powered websites:

Case 1 – If ‘Plugins’ is the reason behind the error

Under such a scenario, all you need to do is simply deactivate the offending plugin and you’re done with restoring your WordPress site to its original glory. If, prior to the white screen of death, you were modifying a plugin’s backend code, you’ll be required to delete this plugin and opt for uploading its original, unmodified version from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

In addition to above, there are situations when the white screen of death tends to replace the WordPress dashboard, making it difficult for you to deactive the offending plugin. Here, you need to use an FTP(File transfer protocol) client for accessing your site and deleting/deactivating the plugin that has caused the problem. For this, simply follow the below steps:

Step 1- Create a free FTP client account and login to your server using credentials provided by your web host
Step 2- Go to the directory containing WordPress files and open te wp-content folder. Here, locate the plugins folder.
Step 3- Open the wp-plugins folder and locate the plugin you were working on just before the white screen of death issue took place. Delete this plugin by clicking on ‘Delete’ link placed against the plugin name. However, if you don’t want to delete the plugin, you can opt for deactivating it by renaming the folder that contains it.
Step 4- Finally return to your browser and refresh the website. You’ll see the white screen of death having disappeared. Login to your site again to see its flawless stature.

Case 2- If faulty code is the reason behind the ‘White Screen of Death’

Explaining this scenario further, if you were modifying your theme’s functions.php file while the error took place, then you can simply fix the problem by uploading a working version of the functions.php file to your WordPress site using the FTP client. Follow the below steps for the same:

Step 1- Login to your server using the web host credentials and navigate to WordPress directory containing the wp-content folder. Here, locate the themes folder and open it to locate the folder for the WordPress theme installed in your site.
Step 2- Open the themes folder and check out the existence of the functions.php file
Step 3- Now, upload a working version of functions.php file. This can either be a copy of the file that you saved to the hard drive before performing the regular maintenance on your live functions.php file or it can be an original version which came with your theme, by default.
Step 4- Under a situation where you don’t want to overwrite the functions.php file, you can opt for renaming the folder for the current WordPress theme. Doing this will deactivate the installed theme and revert your site to the default WordPress theme. Here, you can manually remove any of the offending code for your functions.php file available within the inactive WordPress theme. Once you’re done with making the required code modifications, reactivate the WordPress theme for your site.
Step 5- Finally, return o your browser and refresh your site to see the ‘white screen of death’ all gone.

Summing Up

With such a handy guideline available on eliminating the white screen of death, I’m sure you’d definitely not get frustrated the next time you’re supposed to troubleshoot your website for smooth operation.

Author Bio: As a certified top-notch developer at OSSMedia Ltd, Edward Jones has an impressive expertise in WordPress & he provide concrete information on wordpress related tips & trends. If you need to hire wordpress developer then simply get in touch with him via his Twitter and Google+ handle. Having gathered a total of 5 years of experience in WordPress Development, Edward has delivered numerous projects within the allotted time-frame.