Uh Oh! My WordPress Blog Is Blank!!!

Seeing that dreaded blank WordPress page is never a pleasant sight. There are no error message nor any other indication of what might have gone wrong. So finding and fixing the problem can be very frustrating and time consuming.

And as you can probably imagine, with over 50 WordPress websites under our belt, we’ve seen our fair share of blank pages.

So before you pull your hair our, take a look at our list below. Hopefully we can save you some trouble.

Blank WordPress: Things That Might Have Gone Wrong

The list is arranged in order of most common to least common, as from our experience.

1. Incomplete upload of core WordPress files.

If you have just installed or upgraded WordPress and it just shows you that White Screen of Death, you might not have uploaded all of the core files. And even if you are sure that all files are uploaded, its good to upload again just to be sure.

We had this problem, for example, when dealing with a bad web host which repeatedly timed out and didn’t give any indication that files were being selectively uploaded.

Your FTP client could also be at fault.

To ensure complete upload of files, one simple method is to upload the entire zipped directory and then unpack it on the server.

2. Theme files are not uploaded.

If you are upgrading your blog, be sure not to overwrite the wp-content directory. But if theme files have been deleted, you will need to upload them or switch to the default theme to see your blog. Additionally, when moving your blog, be sure to keep the wp-content directory, or at least your theme files.

3. Incompatible Plugins.

Plugins have very limited compatibility and do not function with all versions of WordPress. So before upgrading or installing a plugin, check for full compatibility. Additionally, not all plugins play nice with one another. So you might have to disable or delete any new plugins to restore your website.

4. Bad, Corrupt, or Incomplete Theme Files.

Sometimes, the problem lies with the theme. If you’ve just set a new theme or edited your theme and noticed this error, then go back and undo whatever you did.

5. WP config file

Believe it or not, your wp-config.php file could be the culprit. Colin McNulty, who spent half a day finding the problem on his blog, rants:

You getting it yet? Yep, it’s an empty line. That’s all it is. 1 single solitary NewLine at the bottom off the file, right after that ?> a Carriage Return & Line Feed in programmers speak. That’s it. You hit the Enter key in one wrong place and the whole pack of cards comes tumbling down! Shocking, just shocking.

So, if you are editing your wp-config file, beware! Avoid any unnecessary empty lines. Colin McNulty also advises us to beware of nefarious spaces, because who knows what they’re capable of!

6. Permissions

Depending on your web host, if your files do not have sufficient permissions, then your pages will not be shown. And you’ll get an instance of the Blank Page of Death. For information, on changing permissions, see the WordPress Documentation Changing File Permissions.

7. Not a clue…

If you’ve tried everything and have not been able to find a solution, you might just have to restore your blog from a backup, or simply reinstall WordPress. But before you do so, you might want to try Andrew Ooi’s fix below.

Make WordPress Tell You What’s Going On!

We didn’t even think of this one, but ex-PHP programmerAndrew Ooi did. On his blog, he explains the process of forcing WordPress to give error reporting, thus giving you an alternative to the mysterious blank page.

In a video tutorial, he explains the process of creating an error reporting file called tester.php with the following code:

<?
ini_set('display_errors','1');
ini_set('display_startup_errors','1');
error_reporting (E_ALL);include('index.php');
?>

For full details, visit Andrew Ooi’s blog here.

 

Have a different blank page fix? Let us know.

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47 Responses to “Uh Oh! My WordPress Blog Is Blank!!!”

  • Mike Landis December 21, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    What if the entire blog is fine except the default page? I can go to /whatever/ and the page is there, the widgets work, the links to other posts and pages all load completely, … except that / is blank after the 2.7 upgrade. The file permissions meet your spec above, it behaves the same if all plug-ins are disabled or if the four I’m using are enabled. The wordpress default theme behaves just as the others do – okay on all pages except the default one. There must be something else.

    • Velvet Blues December 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm

      Well, assuming that you aren’t implementing caching…

      1. How many posts do you show per page? I know of one fix, where someone simply lowered the posts per page to a ‘reasonable’ number. (ie. less than 1000)

      2. If that doesn’t work, do you have any error logs that you can look at? If not, use the code sample above to turn on error reporting… The only other think that I can think of is an incomplete upload of files…

      If you find a solution, please let me know. I’ve visited your site, and this is quite perplexing…

      • Mike Landis December 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm

        Sorry, I included something that looked like an HTML tag…

        There’s no caching enabled. Ten posts per page (I read that post too – he said 2000 wouldn’t work any more (in 2.7), but 1250 would work. I have injected the code above in index.php – no errors are coming out.

        There’s no content missing… I can switch the default page around. After switching, the page that used to be blank will display just fine (if you address it via permalink), but the new default page will be blank (from it’s permalink). The [blog_root] is blank no matter which page is configured as the default content, including configurations showing ‘the last 10 posts’.

        • Velvet Blues December 21, 2008 at 9:26 pm

          Yeh… I am at a loss here. The only think that I’d think might be the problem would be an incomplete upload of WP files, or perhaps an undiagnosed 2.7 bug. I’ll do some research for you and post whatever I find.

        • Mike Landis December 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm

          All themes behave identically, including the wordpress default theme.

          I reloaded the upgrade already. No change.

        • Velvet Blues December 22, 2008 at 10:54 pm

          I see that your site is up… What solution did you use?

        • Mike Landis December 22, 2008 at 11:36 pm

          First I renamed [blog_root]index.php so wordpress couldn’t find it and tried to get any permalink to load. Of course, everything was broken. Then I put it back and retried. After a very long wait (probably doing some sort of cache cleanup or refresh), I got the default content using its permalink.

          I also found that I could switch the default page around and get whatever was the new default from its permalink too. The [blog_root] was still blank though.

          Then I tried reloading [blog_root] and it came right up (no waiting). So, it appears to have been a browser caching issue.

        • Velvet Blues December 23, 2008 at 7:31 am

          Wow. We’ll I am glad that it is working for you, but it has got to be frustrating knowing that you did a whole lot of research and troubleshooting only to find that the problem was much simpler to fix.

          Thanks for letting me know how you did it.

          By the way, you have an interesting blog. Now that I can freely browse it, I’m quite intrigued. You’ll definitely see me over there. :-)

        • Mike Landis December 23, 2008 at 7:57 am

          It will be nice to see comments that aren’t SPAM. Thanks

    • Velvet Blues December 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm

      One more thing. When you checked compatibility with the default theme, was it the default theme which came with the 2.7 release? Or was it the default theme in your previous themes folder?

  • subbu June 2, 2009 at 9:10 am

    thanks for the tut. the theme was not uploaded and i had to reactivate the default theme for the changes to take effect.

  • Theodore Bagwell August 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I found that I had a habit of uploading index files and other files into my root wordpress directory instead of uploading into my Themes folder, as the files can look almost the same when looking at your directory structure. So re-uploading key wordpress files (excluding wp-config because I didnt want to lose my database info) and then re-uploading my theme files solved my problem quickly.

  • BrendanM October 17, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Another possible error: If you’re using .htaccess to modify your standard URLS into “pretty urls”, ie. www.site.com/index.php?p=4 to www.site.com/my-blog-post.html AND for whatever reason you actually have a physical “my-blog-post.html” in your site’s root directory, your blog page will not load.

    Simply delete the .html files from your site’s root directory that happen to match your dynamically generated “pretty urls”.

    This happened to me after I was copying and backing up files in a non-standard way.

    • Royaal February 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

      That’s it!! Add that one to the list. For some reason I had some rubbish html files and even a html_ file in there/ Deleted them and my index page came back.

      Same behavior where you would see all other pages but not the index, get rid of your html files in the root.

      Thanks!

  • theCaller January 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

    well i did that (uploading .htaccess) but i don’t find any html files as you told. I get blank/white for my post link (pages and others are still working).

  • sample letters February 11, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I have this problem on my letters site,

    I can not add new themes or plugin directly, when ever I am doing it, its just goes blank.

    I tried all the points above, Its still the same.

    any suggestions?

  • elisa March 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Hi, I’m a starter and need help…
    Today I checked my site and couldn’t find it. The homepage always shows just a picture, you can’t click further. But if I type other pages like this one: http://www.elisabethida.com/show
    then it works (it shows the real page).
    Can anyone tell me what to do to fix this?
    Thanks a lot before!

    Greetz,
    e.

  • Lheyanne March 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I uploaded a broken theme and deleted it in my server.

    Now, my site is blank. How do I change the theme back to default if if wordpress is blank?

    Anyone? Help? Thanks.

  • lea selley April 16, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    thank you so much… it was totally step 1 – didn’t have all the files moved over! Thank you so much for this!!!

  • rafaelromero April 24, 2010 at 5:13 am

    the changing themes back to the default helped me. Thx!

  • Boris October 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi, just to say thanks, I was in ‘blank-screen panic’ until I came across this post. As you suggested I was missing a theme, my fault for using a ‘clean install’ and forgetting. Five seconds to switch to the default theme and get the site back, then 30 seconds to ftp the old theme across. (Although I prefer the default theme, so I’ll work on changing that and ditch my old theme) Thanks!

  • Letters December 2, 2010 at 4:20 am

    I faced the same problem on my website few days back but solved it. I reinstalled the wordpress files.

  • Malaysia travel December 18, 2010 at 3:15 am

    This is what happened when I tried eStore wordpress theme, which is something that I couldn’t figure out till now :/

  • sample letters December 20, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I was also very much worried about this problem. Thanks to you for clearing my this problem.

  • Kendosrcboat December 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    My site also disappears after i change the permalink option to custom : /%postname%/

    Then All the admin page disappears. Please help.

  • Emad January 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Mine was the permissions :)

  • Ana January 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Hi!

    Thank you for your help! The culprit was indeed the last blank line of wp-config.php. Who would know that ONE BLANK LINE would cause such a major headache?

    Thanks again.

    Ana

  • Luke March 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/26-install-caused-indexphp-to-read-silence-is-golden

    Accidentally copied index.php file from the wp-content directory into root directory. Re-copied this code:

    …to my index.php file in the root directory and re-uploaded, and everything worked again.

  • zac July 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I’m using a custom plug-in, where I want to retrieve values from posts (whiche are posts that belong to a custom post type) to list them inside a metabox of some other custom post type.

    So i’m trying to do that using WP_query() inside the plug-in, and that gives me the blank page..

    I imagine that for some reason I can’t use WP_query() inside the plug-in… is there another way I could retrieve these posts?

    • zac July 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      I’d like to add this to my previous post:

      I turned debug mode on, and, when I call WP_query() from inside my custom plug-in I get the following error:

      Call to undefined function is_user_logged_in()

  • April July 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I know this is a very old post, but THANK YOU for keeping it up! That single blank line was my issue and I would have never figured it out!!

  • Claude August 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My blank page problem was hard to find because I had nothing whatsoever in HTTPD error_log file. I have 2 Web servers but WordPress was working properly only on one Web server:

    1. In the file wp-config.php, add a line right after the line like “<?php" :
    error_reporting(E_ALL); ini_set('display_errors', 1);

    2. In the same file, also enable debug :
    define('WP_DEBUG', true);

    3. Go to your WordPress site on both servers and check the debugging info that is output in your browser.

    4. I found out that the Simple Lightbox plugin was not loading on the defective Web server. So I disabled the plugin in WordPress.

    5. I can now see the exact error message that is causing the blank page! The blank page problem was because of :
    PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 23068672 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 32 bytes)

    6. In PHP.INI, I increased the value from 22M to 32M (33554432) :
    memory_limit = 33554432

    Then it solved the problem!

    • Velvet Blues August 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Thanks for including the details about your problem. It will definitely be helpful to other WP users. I’m glad your issue has been resolved. :-)

  • Jocke Webmaster August 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    The tester.php made the thing! Discovered that one plugin started to act strange, took it away, and now the site is working! Thank you very much!

    /Joacim

  • hairy October 16, 2011 at 2:09 am

    thanks for numerous ideas on solving this matter.. finally i just reinstall my wordpress and so far its working fine.. haha..maybe u want take a look at my website & let me know if it went white again.. really appreciate it..

  • AJ McClary October 21, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I’ve gotta hand it to you, the tester.php just saved my life. Thank you so much!

  • peter cummins January 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

    in my case it was the theme settings in myphpadmin wp_options i set the twentyten default and the blog was back there was 3 tables to set

  • jim January 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Thank you for saving me. I was missing the installed theme. You staved off my nervous breakdown.

  • Ben McKenzie February 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve been having the problem in a weird way – it was just the main posts page coming up blank, and only if I accessed the site without being logged in (you know – like regular people would). I tried everything here without any luck; I will let you know if I succeed!

  • Nate March 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    This is an old post, i know. But I found it on google and I wanted to post a solution to my problem.

    In my case, I transferred the site between hosts and it stopped working.

    I noticed that if i went directly to index.php it would work not directly to /

    The problem was that I had a blank default.html which my new host was prioritizing over index.php

    Took me several hours to figure this one out… :(

  • Marc April 4, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Thanks! Creating the tester.php helped me finding the culprit: a tiny line of php code in a theme file! I would have spent hours figuring out this one…

  • Steven Donea September 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

    My entire blog just disappeared, including my posts any suggestions for getting my wordpress blog back? All this has happened before, and I had to reinstall wordpress all over again.
    Now, I want to force WordPress to give error reporting using this method described above, unfortunately the link is dead, no more Andrew Ooi… I have uploaded this page tester.php and then what? page is not found again when I type http://www.studyenglishinuk.net/tester.php it redirects to http://www.studyenglishinuk.net/studyenglishinuk/tester.php

    Somehow is changing the URl and takes the theme folder name studyenglishinuk, how can I fix this proplem?

    All posts vanished, I will be grateful if someone out there explains how to fix this issue, please check my blog Page Not Found here http://www.studyenglishinuk.net/blog.

    I think there was a fault in Dreamweaver that cased the problem.

  • Guy Manningham October 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I updated my index.php page and it looked weird, so I reverted back to the original code and it gave me the blank page of death. I’m losing my mind!

  • Yasser El-Sherif October 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    the tester.php helped me to spot an incomplete installation of jetpack plugin on my site which was impossible for me to know it!

    here is what I got:

    Call to undefined method Jetpack_Sync::sync_posts()

  • StockCoach McLaughlin November 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Ok, I’m not a coder and no nothing about the above lingo – bud i just developed the white page issue in edit mode – when I left click and drag accross the white space I see the page code but no visual of the page content.

    Is there a solution to this – simple or otherwise (where I need to ask an expert to fix it any volunteers? heh he).

    The site is fine and I have the latest updates of WordPress.org + the Theme (ClickBump – V6)

    • Velvet Blues November 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      There are several things that can cause that problem and its hard to diagnose a website without seeing it or viewing your server’s error files… Have you recently installed any plugins? If so, deactivate them and see what happens. This could also be the result of too little memory. You might need to increase how much memory is allocated to PHP. (If you don’t know how to do this, your web host might help you.)

  • WP-User January 2, 2013 at 3:20 am

    In my case the plugin “BPS – Bullet Proof Security” caused the “White Screen of Death” just ater the update to WordPress 3.5. In the end, I had to re-install wordpress manually via a zip file.

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