How to troubleshoot blank pages in WordPress

This article discusses what to do when WordPress displays a blank page. This problem is also sometimes referred to as the "white screen of death."

If you receive an "Error establishing a database connection" message when you try to view a WordPress site, please see this article instead.


When you try to view a page on a WordPress site, a blank page appears. This problem may occur on only one page, several pages, or the entire site. Additionally, you may be unable to log in.


The most common causes by far of blank pages appearing on WordPress sites are:

  • A malfunctioning plugin.
  • A malfunctioning theme.

To troubleshoot this problem, you can selectively disable plugins one by one until the affected page or pages load in your browser. Alternatively, if you suspect the current theme is causing a problem, you can revert to the default theme.

When troubleshooting blank pages, you can also try enabling debugging to see additional WordPress output. For information about how to enable the debugging feature in WordPress, please see this article.
Disabling plugins

If you can log in as the administrator, try disabling plugins one by one until the problem no longer occurs. When you determine which plugin is causing the problem, you can update it, leave it disabled, or remove it entirely.

If you cannot log in to the Administration Screen, however, you must disable plugins manually. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to cPanel.
  2. Use the File Manager to navigate to the public_html/wp-content/plugins directory.
    If you installed WordPress in a subdirectory, navigate to the wp-content/plugins directory in that directory instead.
  3. Each plugin is contained in a separate directory. To disable a plugin, rename its directory. For example, to disable the Akismet plugin, you could rename the akismet directory to askismet_backup.
  4. Retest the WordPress site. If the blank page or pages still appear, repeat steps 3 and 4, disabling a different plugin each time until you locate the cause.
  5. When you are done troubleshooting, make sure you restore the plugin directories to their original names.
Reverting to the default theme

If you disable plugins and still see blank pages, then the current theme may be causing problems.

If you can log in as the administrator, try changing the theme to the default theme. If you cannot log in, however, you can enable the default theme manually. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to cPanel.
  2. Use the File Manager to view the contents of the public_html/wp-content/themes directory.
    If you installed WordPress in a subdirectory, navigate to the wp-content/themes directory in that directory instead.
  3. Note the default theme name.
    The default WordPress theme names are years that are spelled out (for example, twentyfourteen or twentythirteen). If there are several default themes installed, note the most recent theme name.
  4. Return to the cPanel home screen.
  5. In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, click phpMyAdmin.
  6. In the left-hand pane of phpMyAdmin, click the WordPress database. A list of tables in the database appears.
    Typically, the WordPress database is username_wpXXX, where username represents your cPanel username, and XXX is a three-digit number.
  7. Click the wp_options table.
  8. In the option_name column, locate the template and stylesheet rows. The option_value settings in these rows contain the current theme.
  9. For the template row, double-click the option_value setting, type the default theme name you obtained in step 3, and then press Enter.
  10. Repeat step 9 for the stylesheet row. The default theme is now active.
  11. Retest the WordPress site. If the previous theme is the cause of the blank pages, the site should now work correctly using the default theme.
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