How to Fix The Joomla White Screen of Death

The White Screen of Death (WSOD) describes a situation where the Joomla website displays a blank white page and showing any errors. To any website owner, this can be a nightmare. But do not panic. There are steps that can be taken to restore a website affected by the WSOD problem and get the site to function normally again. That is the focus of this post.

So, let's look at some practical steps recommended to fix the Joomla blank white page error. The approach we adopt in this post is to identify the cause of the problem and provide a recommended fix for each situation.

 

Identify The Problem Causing The Joomla Blank Page Error

These steps have been generally very useful in identifying nearly every case associated with the White Screen of Death (WSOD) problem and should work for you:

  • Check your server logs
  • Adjust your error reporting in Joomla admin
  • Edit and Insert Shortcode to the configuration.php File

 

Check Your Server Error Logs

Firstly, you to login to control Panel you are using now. Go to “Files” > “File Manager” so as to access your Joomla website files. And then, head over to the installation directory of your Joomla so as to check your server error logs via the “logs” file. Note that, this method requires full access to the server files. Once you are able to identify the cause of the WSOD, you can proceed to fix the problem

Adjust Your Error Reporting in Joomla Admin

You can login to the Joomla administrator dashboard and navigate to “Global Configuration” > “Server.” You will have to adjust the “Error Reporting” to “Maximum.” In the meantime, it is required to enable the “Site Debugging” option and refresh your website to check the page (HTML) source. Once completed, do not forget to disable the above-mentioned “Site Debugging” option.Returning back to refresh your website, you will be able to identify the problem and fix it.

Note that: Alternatively, you can also choose to enable the “Error Reporting” functionality by making changes in the configuration.php file. To do this, you shall edit your configuration.php file via a text/code editor and change this “default” to “maximum.”

Edit and Insert Shortcode to the configuration.php File

If you still have a blank screen, you will need to embed the following short code to the above configuration.php file. Note that, this line of code should be put to the end of this file.

ini_set( 'display_errors', true );
error_reporting( E_ALL );

With one of those options above, you may get to know the detailed error message. If you still couldn't spot the problem, chances are that the white page on your Joomla homepage is caused by other reasons. If this is the case, here are some practical solutions for your reference.

 

Further Reading:

Joomla Security - The Complete Guide

Keep Your Website Safe From Hackers with these Easy Steps

How Secure is Your Joomla Website?

Recommended Security Checks For Your Joomla Websitee

 

Recommended Fixes For The WSOD Problem

Once you are able to identify the problem, then a fix is made easy. We recommend the following guidelines to address the blank page problem in Joomla.

Note: The most common cases of Joomla WSOD occur after an update to your Joomla website or server upgrade which causes a change in the minimum PHP settings requirements automatically and also could lead to incompatibilities with modules, plugins, extensions and themes. A manual adjustment to PHP settings using the cPanel MultiPHP editor can help PHP incompability issues.

Let’s now have a check on the common causes of the Joomla blank page and their respective fixes.

 

The following situations are known to lead to a blank page error:

  • Incorrect PHP settings
  • Corrupted Joomla core files
  • Changes to server directory structure
  • Faulty extensions
  • Theme conflict with Joomla site

 

1. Incorrect PHP settings

From our experience, a blank page in Joomla occurs mainly due to incorrect PHP settings. This is common after a website migration or your web host conducting an upgrade on their servers. Server upgrades can lead to the depreciation of PHP versions and if you run an outdated version of Joomla, the only option will be to update to the recent version.

If you have recently migrated to a new web host, consider that because different servers will have different PHP configurations, the PHP configurations may not be alike in both the source and destination servers. As Joomla relies much on the PHP configuration, it could end up in a blank page.

The best approach here is to make PHP settings similar to the destination server settings. Setting the PHP error reporting in configuration to the maximum and changing the display errors in the php.ini file can help to resolve the Joomla blank page error in this case.

 

Further reading:

Fixing Problems: Notices, Warnings and Errors on Your Joomla Website

How to manually update a Joomla website

 

2. Corrupted Joomla core files

Major Joomla files include administrator, components, cache, etc. During file uploads and in the cause of website management, files can become corrupted and the corruption of these core files can lead to Joomla blank pages. Usually, this can be avoided either by upgrading the Joomla version or by restoring a healthy backup.

 

3. Changes in the server directory structure

During migration, it is essential to transfer the website files and databases from the source to the destination server. Different servers will usually have different directory structures. For instance in Plesk servers, the website root folder will be at /var/www/vhosts/domain/httpdocs. Similarly, in cPanel it is at /home/username/public_html.

So it is always important to make sure that files and folders have the correct directory tree. This will prevent the blank page occurrence.

 

4. Incorrect rules in .htaccess file

Many Joomla website admins use rewrite rules to tweak the look and feel of the site. Often incorrect rules in the .htaccess file can also cause Joomla to blank page. In cases where .htaccess creates problems, you can copy and paste default htaccess code to correct the rules.

 

5. Faulty extension

Interestingly, this has been the most common cause of the blank page error in Joomla. Here, the real task involves finding the exact extension that creates problems. You may just disable the plugin, module or extension folder to see if the issue is resolved.

If you find the problem to be related to an extension, then check the error log to identify the faulty extension. Disabling the problem extension brings the website back online. If you have a set of healthy extensions you have used on your website, you may want to re-upload them to the extensions directory. If you face some difficulties, consider disabling all third party extensions so you can isolate the one that is problematic and then upload the extensions.

 

6. PHP Version compatibility issues

The immediate solution will be to use the MultiPHP Manager in cPanel to reset your PHP version. In most cases, this addresses the problem where server managers have upgraded their servers and set newer versions of PHP to run as default versions.

7. Conflict With Joomla Site

If you have an outdated or distorted theme, none of the solutions above will restore your site. The solution will be to update the theme to run the most recent and compatible version or you downgrade your Joomla installation to a version that is compatible with your theme.

Note

The process of fixing the issue is not always quick and straightforward. Here we make it clear how you can troubleshoot the white screen of death in Joomla whenever it happens. You will also learn how to minimize the risk of this problem happening again.

Usually, website owners do not prefer to display errors on the screen. It is the error reporting feature that decides on the type of errors that should show up on a website. Therefore, they set the error reporting in the Joomla configuration to a minimum or none. As a result, the error will be suppressed and what we see is a blank page without any error message displayed on it.

You can fix the Joomla WSOD with some proven methods outlined here. It is recommended that you begin by conducting a security check on the website to identify the cause of the error, then proceed to fix the problem.

We will look at a logical process below.

 

Further reading:

Real Live Case: How We Addressed a Joomla White Screen Error on a Live Website

My Joomla Website Displays a Blank Page, What Should I do

How to Revert Back to a Previous Version of Joomla

 

3. Still see a Joomla blank screen?

If you still see a blank screen with no error showing, you can restore a healthy backup, you can also revert back to a previous version of Joomla. The WSOD is actually an error page where the error is being suppressed rather than displayed on the screen. So if you can identify the error, then you can resolve it. This tutorial has taken you through the steps that can help you fix the Joomla blank page, also called the White Screen of Death.

There might be other reasons why you are getting a blank screen in Joomla. One of these reasons is that there might be an empty index.html file in the directory which you are trying to access, possibly in the root directory. Typically, an empty index.html file is used to protect the contents of a directory from being accessed manually. This is because by default, the index.html file is displayed and since the file is actually empty, the user would just get a Joomla blank screen. So to solve your problem, check whether there is an empty index.html file in the folder which is being accessed, and temporarily rename it.

Ordinarily, , you want to revert back to a previous state or even a previous version that worked well, you may also be considering undoing your most recent activity or simply restore a functional backup of your Joomla website to address this problem, Thread carefully here, many folders are going to have an index.html. If this solution does not work, don't forget to revert the index.html

 

Further reading:

A Practical Guide to Secure and Maintain Your Website

How to Prevent the most common Application Attacks against websites

 

4. Final Words

Because the Joomla White Screen of Death, WSOD, is commonly associated with update errors, installation problems and migration issues, we recommend you carefully review the status of your website, server specifications and extension status before you proceed with an update or a migration. We suggest you do not install any extension, module or plugin that has not been updated within the last two years. Also check to be sure that the extension is compatible with your version of Joomla.

If you are migrating to a new web host, please contact their customer support to be sure your website will run safely on their servers. Most importantly, check the server PHP version and the changes you can make if the default version is different. You may want to change your PHP version before you finally edit nameservers to point to your new host servers.

If you can fix the white screen of death with solutions above, it's probably time to call in outside help: The Todhost customer support will be the first point to seek more help. You may also need to contact your Joomla template developer.

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