Blank White Screen or Unable to Access Admin

Troubleshooting  Last Updated: Time to Read: 2 minutes

Known affectionately as the “white screen of death”, blank browser pages on your WordPress site are probably the scariest thing to deal with, as they also block access to your admin panel.

The most common cause of this problem is a plugin conflict, either with another plugin, or with your active theme.

To solve it, you’ll need access to your web server either via an FTP client, or your hosting control panel’s File Manager tool.

  1. Begin by navigating to the wp-content folder.
  2. Rename your plugins folder to plugins-old
    • Renaming your folder forces all of your plugins to deactivate so they cannot conflict with one another.
  3. Attempt to access your WordPress admin again

If this solved it, a plugin was probably the culprit. Rename the folder back to plugins and then visit the Plugins page in your admin. Reactivate your plugins one at a time and reload your URL in a new tab after each reactivation until it breaks (or hopefully doesn’t!). If you get the white screen again, you’ll know which plugin is the problem. Simply repeat these steps again and delete the offending plugin rather than reactivating it.

If this did not solve the problem, then you may have a problem with the theme. Since we thoroughly test Layers and have it successfully running on hundreds of sites, the problem is not likely inherent to the theme itself, but the theme may have become corrupted, become infected with malware or have a problem with your sever’s configuration that prevents it from working. To ensure the theme files are sound, try reinstalling the theme and leave any customizations or child themes out for now.

Your white screen may be hiding a fatal error you just can’t see. If you right-click and view the source, you may be able to see this error, or you can download a copy of your wp-config.php file and set the WP_DEBUG value to true:

define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );

Once edited, re-upload the file to your WordPress root to overwrite the existing. See Editing your wp-config file for detailed help with this step

If any errors are available, this will allow you to see them. Don’t forget to set the value back to false once you solve your problem, or your visitors risk seeing all sorts of normal developer messages and errors, even on a working website!

define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );

Visit the WordPress Codex for a detailed overview of using WP_DEBUG

If all else fails, your problem may be with WordPress itself, or with the data in your database. Start by reinstalling WordPress, and if that fails, you may need to contact your host for further help.