In a nutshell: try editing “functions.php”, in your active theme’s folder, to remove empty spaces from the bottom of the document. It worked for me.
Allow me to share my experience with the infamous “WordPress White Screen of Death”. In four solid years of working with WordPress, I had somehow been fortunate enough never to have encountered this nonetheless common problem.
Seek and Ye Shall Find.
In fact, when I Googled for a solution, there were countless posts and pages dealing with this issue. In my case, it happened with a new client’s site. I was conducting onsite WordPress training in Northern NJ, for staffers at a nonprofit agency. Everything was going well and as our session was winding down, I decided to show my participants how to process WordPress version, theme, and plugin updates.
WordPress Updates Can Be Hazardous.
Of course, I knew there was a slight chance of something going wrong – perhaps the theme or an important plugin would be incompatible with the latest version of WordPress – but that so seldom happens on any WordPress sites that I’ve created for myself or clients. I decided it was more important to show this client how to keep WordPress up to date, since that is an important way to stave off security threats as well as to enjoy the benefits of new features.
As soon as we processed the updates, we checked out the site. As I had warned my participants beforehand, something did go wrong. In this case, a banner slideshow was no longer working in Internet Explorer, even though the plugin for that feature was among the updates (along with an update to the latest version of WordPress).
A Stubborn Plugin?
I promised to fix that for them when I got back to my office, and set about trying to do just that. Oddly enough, the slider was working perfectly now in IE, even though my browser version was apparently the same version of IE that the client was using. But something new was afoot.
I could no longer log in.
When I would try to access the admin page, I got a blank one instead. There were no error messages, nor did the blank page have any source code. I had never seen this before, and I was stumped.
It was the first time I’d seen the “WordPress White Screen of Death”.
The most popular remedy for the issue, found amidst my Google travails, was to edit the “wp-config.php” file, found in the root directly of any WordPress site, and remove blank spaces at the top and bottom of the file. I got the FTP info for my client’s Web hosting and tried editing that file. No luck. I even tried typing “…/wp-login.php” in the address bar of the browser, rather than”. ../wp-admin/” – another suggestion I had found amongst my Google results.
Trial and Error
Nothing worked, though when I typed in “…/wp-login.php”, I at least got a login screen. It would let me type in login information, but then everything went blank again.
Another solution I tried was to disable the site’s plugins by renaming the plugins folder (again via FTP access). That still didn’t help. Yet another proposed antidote was to rename the active theme’s folder, which would knock out the current theme and force WordPress to let me in.
That worked – to an extent.
I was now logged in (probably because of that previous “…/wp-login.php” page login), but when I renamed the theme folder back to its original title, I was again treated to a blank screen.
I’m Sensing a Theme Here.
Concluding that the problem must be with the current theme, I contacted the site’s Web designer. I was, however, reluctant to switch to another theme, despite wanting to do so to make sure the problem was indeed with the theme. That’s because the home page was heavily dependent on sidebar widgets. I was concerned that I would lose all of the widget settings if I switched themes and then switched back (stranger things have happened).
Long story short: after coming back to the problem and trying various things, over a period of more hours than I am happy to admit, I finally tried something new. Something no one else had suggested on any of the posts and pages I found when Googling for a solution.
I thought, “why not see whether there were any empty spaces in the theme’s ‘functions.php’ file?” No one else seemed to have mentioned it in connection with this problem. Thinking it would be yet another dead end, I nonetheless gave it a shot.
It fixed the problem.
So…the moral of the story is this. If ever you encounter the “WordPress White Screen of Death”, you’ll probably need FTP access to your server to fix it. Check not only “wp-config.php” but all other important core and theme php files. The problem is most likely due to extra spaces in a php document somewhere in your WP installation, most commonly at the bottom of that document.
What You Need to Do
Try editing “wp-config.php” first. If removing empty spaces from the bottom doesn’t work there, try editing “functions.php”, which you’ll find in your active theme’s folder.
Just open the file for editing and put your cursor all the way at the bottom. Backspace until you’ve deleted all the empty lines and spaces (being careful not to remove any important tags or characters). Then save your changes and test the site by refreshing your browser.
Keep testing your site (always refreshing it in the browser) to see whether the problem is fixed. If not, repeat that process with another php file. Keep doing that and eventually, you may conquer, singlehandely, the “WordPress White Screen of Death”.
I know I did.