White Page of Death (site not loading)

If your site stops loading and you are seeing a white screen... first don't panic it's most likely not as bad as this may appear.

Before you start taking desperate measures, there are a number of reasons for the WordPress white screen of death:

  • A Plugin is causing compatibility issues.
    • If you can access your Wordpress admin try deactivating all of your Plugins and then reactivating them one by one.
    • If you are unable to access your Screens, log in to your website by FTP. Locate the folder wp-content/plugins and rename the Plugin folder plugins_old. This will deactivate all of your Plugins.
  • Your Theme may be causing the problem.
    • This is especially likely if you are experiencing the white screen of death after you have just activated a new Theme.
    • Log in to the WordPress Adminsitration Screens and activate the default WordPress Twenty Fourteen Theme.
    • If you can't access your Administration Screens, access your website via FTP and navigate to the /wp-content/themes/ folder. Rename the folder for the active Theme.

Another possible issue may be your site is running out of memory. Contact your hosting provider to have them increase the resource limits for PHP. 256M - 512M is advisable when running Wordpress as an ecommerce store.

Memory Limits

To check your memory usage install WP Memory Usage.

It is advisable to minimally have 32M free. Meaning if your MEMROY LIMIT is 32M and your MEMORY USAGE is 25M your need more memory.

Memory use is not static and changes due to activity within your site both visitors and admin. During high use this can easily double at that point you would be out of memory and your may find your site crashing or not loading.

Inexpensive / Budget hosting notoriously provides minimal memory limits. It is not advised to run your store on budget hosting.

Steps To Resolve Memory Issues

When ever possible disable and limit the number of plugins you have installed and activated. Ever additional plugin requires more memory.

DO NOT try to use a cache plugin to bandage an underpowered server. If your server doesn't have enough resources to begin with ADDING ANOTHER PLUGIN will only make the situation worse! Often Cache plugins will only compound a bad situation.

If you have access to your PHP.ini file try to increase your memory limit. Add the following to your php.ini
memory_limit = 256M;
If you don’t have access to PHP.ini try adding the following to your .htaccess file (in the root directory of your site)
php_value memory_limit 256M;

This  is often not available, especially with budget hosting services. If you don't have this option available your best bet would be to contact your hosting provider and request they increase the memory available to 256M or 512M.

Once you have increased the memory available to PHP you will also need to make sure Wordpress knows to take advantage of the additional memory. Add the following to your wp-config.php
define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

Additional information can be found here  http://codex.wordpress.org/Common_WordPress_Errors