A client contacted me in a panic because he had the WordPress White Screen of Death. I knew I had not done any code development on the site recently or had made any WordPress updates to the core code or plugins. So I asked him if he had added any new plugins or had updated plugins recently. Nope.
WordPress doesn’t just break – something changed
Getting a blank screen in WordPress happens when something changes and code can not load properly. Core code and plugins have very regular updates, so this is the logical place to start debugging why the site broke.
I was able to access the admin are and log in. Viewing the plugins, I received an error that no plugins were installed. Same message for the themes.
I became suspicious that maybe WordPress was hacked. I logged into the server and looked at the source code files. I saw nothing that implied to me that there was any virus infection or malicious code on the server. The theme and plugins directories were on the server. Interesting. Websites don’t just break – something had to have changed. Since the code all seemed to be untouched without any recent updates, the web host, web server was my next place to look.
I asked the client if the web hosting company had communicated any recent changes to the server configuration. No, he had not heard anything. I outputted some debugging code and noted the file path on the server. Looking in wp-config, I saw this did not match the server path that was written in the file. All WordPress websites I build, I fully secure first. One thing I do is change the path to the wp-content directory so bad bots can not easily assume this path when looking for vulnerable code. I updated the changed file path and the site loaded.
WordPress White Screen of Death FIXED!
As you can see, fixing a WordPress white screen error is not a simple “you need to do this”. It takes some debugging to track down the source of the issue. If you have a white screen error and need a PHP programmer to help fix WordPress, contact me. I can fix it.