Fixing the WordPress “white screen of death” (WSOD)

Fixing things with FTP

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If you can’t get into your WordPress admin dashboard and only have a blank white screen when you try — you most likely have a conflict of some sort.

Have you added any custom snippets to any of your PHP files recently? Uploaded any new plugins? Switched themes? It is always a good idea to keep a log of changes to your site and its files in such case that you need to back them off due to a conflict.

Here’s where I would start:

Check for plugin problems.

Login via FTP and rename your plugins folder in wp-content from “plugins” to “pluginsOLD”. This will deactivate all plugins. See if you can login.

If you can you know a plugin is the bad actor. Stay in your dashboard and go back in via FTP and rename “pluginsOLD” back to “plugins”. Now you can go into your dashboard and reactivate plugins one-by-one to determine the culprit.

Check for theme problems.

If after deactivating plugins you still cannot login, it might be your theme. Do the same via FTP and change your theme’s specific folder name to “themenameOLD”. That will deactivate your active theme.

Have you updated WordPress recently?

Make sure that you are on the latest version of WordPress and that your theme and plugins are compatible with the most recent version of WordPress, too. This will dramatically help to reduce the opportunity for conflicts to arise.

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Also published on Medium.

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Judith Kallos
Judith is an established Business Coach and WordPress Consultant who has run The IStudio® for more than two decades. She assists Netrepreneurs who want to create effective websites while tutoring them on the best practices that are necessary to their long-term prosperity. You can also find her extending a helping hand as a Community Founder and Trusted Advisor over on GoDaddy's Community Forums.