maybe someone noticed it – my site was offline yesterday after an update of WordPress to version 4.3.
I found an easy way to trace back the issue and fix it (this is why you can read this text now) and I want to share it here.
The problem I had was the so called “white screen of death”. People who would visit this site would see nothing. Just a white empty page.
This problem occurred after I started the WordPress update routine without doing a health check afterwards.
Another big issue was, that I weren’t able to login back into the dashboard. It feels as if WordPress just died and all your content is lost – but don’t panic. Here is a solution.
First, I checked the chrome developer tools to see if I would get back anything from the server.
The server was not sending content so I connected remotely over SCP (WinSCP is a great tool, FTP is also fine). Getting remote access is very important to solve these kind of issues.
If you are facing the same problem, there are multiple potential sources so check them one after the other. For me it was enough to the themes and then the plugins.
For example, add “-old or -broken” to your child theme folder (as displayed in the screenshot) and reload the page.
When this is not working you can try to deactivate all plugins. I would guess that a broken plugin is the main cause for most of these problems.
To solve it, just navigate to your plugins folder which is e.g. /var/www/myblog/wp-content/plugins.
Create a sub folder “test” in plugins and move all the other content into it. Reload the site. You should now have a 80% chance to see your site again.
To “re-install” your plugins just move them one by one back to the plugins folder (see screenshot) and reload the page. Once, you see a white page again you have found the broken plugin. In my case it was the “recaptcha” plugin.
If nothing is working for you, there is always the option to save you wp-content folder and restore the content to a fresh new install of WordPress. Tutorials on how to backup and re-install WordPress should be easy to find.