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The famous WordPress white screen of death

  • # December 9, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Like mentioned in the title, i think this is by far one problem Automattic or WordPress team cannot solve until no matter what version WordPress will go in future. In this question, i am focusing to the white screen of death that i get whenever i want to activate certain plugins. I am developing a site that requires me to use 30 plugins. Yeah, some will say thats too many plugins for a site, no wonder i will get the white screen. But hey, this is WordPress, one of the reason that makes WordPress the most popular blogging platform is because the availability of the plugins that can make you achieve your goal in less time. For those who expert in php+wp development, you guys can say hack the wp is better than using a lot of plugins like what i am doing but hey, majority of wp users are not php guru. Most of them are normal user like me or even just know how to install and use what are available to them.

    So far, here the common steps we do when get the white screen of death (WSOD).

    1. Rename the wp-content/plugins folder name such as wp-content/plugins-temp, this will deactivate all plugins
    2. Like me, i prefer rename the individual plugin folder name, such as wp-content/plugins/akismet to wp-content/plugins/akismet-temp
    3. After that, reactivate all the plugins one by one, so we can know which plugin is the culprit
    4. Check for extra empty space at the end of the plugin file, especially after the php closing tag ?> make sure there is no extra space after the tag. Make sure check at the theme functions.php file (if any) or the plugin file.
    5. Increase the memory allocation for wordpress

    Usually, your site will be back to normal after that. **BUT** this will still not solve this problem.

    For me, this is very annoying to me, especially the step number 3. How can we know which plugin is the culprit?? At the first place, i thought the step number 3 is really a fact but now i think its a lie. WHY?

    Like right now, suddenly after i activate 25 plugins, one of plugin that i cannot reactivate is Akismet. What? Akismet? Yes, the plugin dev by the WP team itself. I know the step number 3 above is a lie because if i activate Akismet first, the Akismet is activated successfully. No problem at all.

    So right now the problem is plugins compatibility among the plugins. How can me as a normal user can identify which plugin that is not friendly to what plugin??? If i am using 30 plugins, how many probabilities from one plugin is not compatible to each plugin???? how can i know which plugins should be activated first so the WSOD will not appear?

    If there is error, then maybe i can have a clue, but its a plain white screen. I am clueless. This clash of plugins in wordpress is really an unsolved problem that makes me really stress.

    Anyone know how to fix this? At least know how to activate the plugins via mysql?

    # December 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Silly question, but when you see a white screen what does the view-source show – has it output any HTML at all? Could be likely that the plugins are messing up the ‘head’ section, leaving the site commented out? Have you tried creating an offline version of wordpress, with all of the same plugins and theme?

    Maybe also try WP_DEBUG (http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php#Debug) and it’s associated log file instructions (http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php#Configure_Error_Log). see if anything stands out.

    # December 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    this thing is happening even when i am using the twenty ten theme. i try to turn on the WP_DEBUG in the config file, but it just show warning about certain things that has been deprecated since certain wordpress version.

    there are too many combinations that i must do to know the right sequence to activate the plugins. Until now i never succeed to activate them all.

    If only we can know which plugin that clash to which plugin.

    # December 10, 2010 at 12:41 am

    So no HTML if you ‘view-source’?

    So if you activate plugins one by one, and it then breaks on say ‘askimet’, have you then repeated but with Askimet first then seeing where it stops? Maybe on another comment related plugin?

    It is very difficult to diagnose – maybe a list of all of the plugins? Have you had any luck in any other forum (i.e. WordPress)?

    # December 10, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Well yeah I too experience this WSOD many times while playing with my theme and plugins. SPecially whenever i activate the “Combine JS Files” in Total Cache or W3 Cache. Dunno why, Nothing comes up in the head section too.

    The plugins might be getting interfered by other plugins. But i dont know how to know this

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