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When Wordpress stops working.

Ah, and so the WordPress goblins strike again. The problem can stem from many issues, although there are some common things to try before calling in the black suits. A lot of times we’re working with a WPOD -White Page of Death. The White Screen of Death happens when:

  1. You load of your WordPress website
  2. And all you see is a white screen
  3. PANIC!

This tutorial will explain how to fix coding errors you may have created while editing template files. If you need help with basic WordPress configuration and have subscribed to Biz Pro – you can access 40+ training videos right now. (If you are uncomfortable with editing theme files, reach out to me at will@startrighttoday.com)

First, stop everything, what file were you just working on when WordPress stopped working?

Whether this was your functions.php file (common) or template files. Remember that. Copy what’s there to a safe place and try hitting Cmd/Ctrl – Z to undo the changes you made to that file. Save, and see if that brings your site back to where it was.

If that is the issue, then most likely it was an error with your PHP code.

  • Maybe missing a semicolon
  • Added a period in the wrong place
  • Closed PHP tags where they didn’t need to be.
  • Wrote the name of a function wrong
  • Closing brackets for if/else statements in the wrong place.

Those simple errors and be murderous and unforgiving. My son touches my keyboard one time and it took hours to figure out why WordPress stopped working.

Remove blocks of code, echo, die and refresh

So that didn’t work. Now it’s time to do some deeper diving.

write a simple echo statement

echo ‘<h1>Hello Ninja Master</h1>’;

Refresh your page, do you see that statement on the page?

If you don’t that means the script didn’t even get to your echo statement before crashing and burning.

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Now we have a starting place. Move that line of code up (refresh and view page) until you see it show up.

When you do, that will let you know that your offending piece of code is right below your echo statement.

Now create a new echo statement:

echo ‘<h1>I Love Audible</h1>’;

Add this right below the first echo statement. When you refresh the page, you should still see it.

Move it down each line (refresh and check page) until It stops showing up. Now you know that whatever offending code is between your two echo statements. Do some trial and error and look for some common PHP mistakes.

I do this on a day to day basis and it saves me about 90% of the time.

Use Cpanel Backup and Restore if WordPress stopped working

So what about the other 10% of the time when WordPress stops working?

The other 10% can consist of the following and more:

  • Installed a new Plugin (that has conflicting code in it) made your website blank out. Deactivate and see if that helps.
  • Your resources on your server topped out and everything is a mess. Check your stats and make sure your memory load hasn’t gone over 100%
  • Also, check your storage on your server, you may have run a backup last night and now your server can’t run because of required storage needed to run. (That one is a nightmare if you don’t know it. Pretty common when Cpanel creates nightly backups. SSH in and see if there are any backups you can remove to quickly save space.
  • PHP Memory Limit in WordPress. Typically your website will load, but when you try to edit a post you get a 500 Internal Error
  • If you’ve done anything with your database or made any calls in the functions you wrote, try restoring from a backup. I recommend UpdraftPlus or BackWPUp. They’re both great. BackWPUp will do it straight to your Dropbox – which I love.
    Restore from a backup if WordPress stopped working.
  • Try reverting to a default theme and see if that works.
  • Create a sandbox for WordPress, and see if that they work there – letting you know that it’s probably not the theme you were editing that’s causing the conflict. Though rarely it could be.
  • If you can’t bring it up with a backup and you’ve tried everything you can. Try restoring from a Cpanel or Plesk Daily or Weekly backup.
  • If that doesn’t work, if you’re using Digital Ocean or any similar server solution, you can restore from “Snapshots” made weekly if you’ve opted in.

Check your resources if WordPress stopped working.

If can be frustrating.

WordPress stopped working and now you’re completely stuck. In the worst case scenario where uptime is of utmost importance, I’d suggest hiring an expert WordPress developer like myself to get back up for you. I manage a million dollar eCommerce store where if things go down, we’re losing money by the minute. So you have to evaluate your situation.

I hope you’re able to resolve your issue without my help, but if you don’t, here are my retainers. will@startrighttoday.com

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William Mosley, III | Owner | 828.201.2702 | 6 - 8AM Micro Business? | will@startrighttoday.com | 60 N Market St C200, Asheville, NC 28803

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