← ServerPilot Docs

How to Fix a White Screen in WordPress

Many common WordPress errors result in a white screen when you visit your app's URL, a problem often referred to as the "white screen of death."

Try these tips to get your WordPress app back to normal.

Check your plugins for compatibility.

If only your public-facing site is showing the white screen, but you can access the administrative area, log into your WordPress Dashboard and deactivate all of your plugins. Then, reactivate them one at a time, checking your homepage with each plugin's activation. It's also a good idea to clear your browser cache before releading each time: How to Clear your Browser Cache

You can also use wp-cli to quickly and easily disable and re-enable your plugins and themes. Please see this guide to learn how to use wp-cli, a powerful, command-line WordPress administrative tool: Getting Started with WP-CLI

If you cannot access your Dashboard, SFTP in to your server as your app's system user and navigate to your plugins folder (if you are comfortable working over SSH, you can also make these changes that way.) In these examples, we're using Cyberduck, so your SFTP client may look different.


Rename plugins to plugins_old.

This will deactivate all of your plugins, and you should then be able to log in to your WordPress Dashboard and reactivate them one by one.

If you discover the plugin that is causing the white screen to appear, deactivate it again, and let the plugin's author know about the compatibility issues you are experiencing and provide as much information about the issue as possible. If the white screen does not reappear, sometimes simply disabling and re-enabling plugins or themes will fix low-level errors.

Check your theme for compatibility.

If you see the white screen after activating a new theme, log in to your WordPress Dashboard and activate the default WordPress theme (you can also use wp-cli for this: How to Manage Themes with WP-CLI).

If you can't access your admin login page, SFTP in to your server as your app's system user and open your themes folder:


Find the folder for the theme that is giving you trouble and rename it to THEMENAME-old.

This should fully deactivate the theme allowing your site to return. You can now contact the theme's support team and let them know about the compatibility issues.

Check for a missing theme directory.

If you see a white screen after cloning the database on your local development environment, your theme's directory might have accidentally been renamed or deleted. The database contains metadata on themes which may be incorrect and if the actual theme directory isn't found, WordPress may fail to load properly.

To correct this, first log in to your Dashboard at www.YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin.

Then, click Visit Site from the WordPress menu in the upper-left corner to view your front end.

It should tell you the theme directory that is failing to load.

SFTP in to your server as your app's system user and open your themes folder:


Check to see if your active theme has been renamed, if it exists at all. If the directory name is incorrect, and if you know the correct name, you can rename it. If you don't know the correct name, you can delete its directory and then simply uninstall and reinstall the theme from within your dashboard or by using wp-cli.

If all of these suggestions fail, please feel free to open a support ticket with our team.

Last updated: August 26, 2017

Launch your first site in 5 minutes