WordPress White Screen of Death

Suddenly all of the managed sites I have have gone “white”. That is WordPress just returns nothing to a curl. This is apparently a very common thing and there are three common issues:

  1. You are out of PHP memory
  2. You have a bad plugin
  3. You have a bad theme. Change back to a default them

Here are the diagnostic procedures

  1. While you can use ftp to do this, It is way more convenient if you enable webdav so that you can actually edit things directly from your computer.
  2. If you do this, then you can connect to the server from say the Mac with Connect to Server and then typing in the appropriate url https://box211.bluehost.com:2078 is an example that would you connect to Bluehost.com and their server named box211. Note that you definitely want to use encryption, so that is why you have port 2078
  3. If you do this then you can go to terminal and just edit or you can see if in finder.
  4. The fix is to go to wp-contents/plugins and rename it to something else, this disables all plugins and you should be able to get access to your wp-admin page. Now rename it back and all the plugins are deactivate.
  5. Activate them one at a time and keep refreshing your home page until you find it.

In our case, the automatic update is normally a great thing, but if a plugin distribution is bad then this will happen. It looks like the latest version captcha fwiw has the problem. You shouldn’t need it if you do not have comment and so forth enabled.