White Screen of Death :(

It’s quite a funny term to use – however it really is a screen of death.  Thankfully I was able to save myself.  Here is what I did.

Went to Google and told it what I was seeing.  Thankfully I’m not the only one who has seen this screen.  A number of bloggers who use WordPress (and Drupal) have seen this occur.  However for whatever reason, nobody has added default error logging when this occurs.  All you get is a blank white screen.  Check the page source and guess what – blank.

Well I dug into the sites looking for clues as to what had happened.  with no success.  So I decided to go on my own to try and fix things.

  1. Using FileZilla, a free FTP tool, I renamed my Plugins and Themes directories under wp-content.  I backed up my wp-config.php file which resides in the root directory of the blog.
  2. Downloaded the latest WordPress, in this case it was 2.9.1.
  3. Extracted the zip file to my desktop.
  4. Connected FileZilla to my blog location.
  5. Pointed the left screen (my computer) to my wordpress install directory and pointed the right screen (ftp location) to my root directory.
  6. Pressed upload, told it to overwrite, and let it do what it does best.
  7. After this, my site still showed a white screen.  However I was able to get into blog/wp-admin and log in finally.
  8. I changed the theme to the “WordPress Classic” theme and voila…it worked!

Now I wish I could tell you what had actually happened, but I can’t.  I’ll remember something though through this all…ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR STUFF!!!

Some points to make – when I renamed my wp-content directories from Plugins and Themes and tried to access the page, this should have “disabled” the themes and plugins.  However I’m not sure it did.  Something was causing this to fail before even accessing these directories.

From what I could tell, some plugin probably changed a necessary file.  I should have verified it worked with 2.9.1 before enabling it.  Oh well – live and learn.

Hopefully you don’t get into the same boat I did…and if you did…best of luck…it sucks!