How to resolve a WordPress 503 or White Screen error

To make it easier to get in touch with us, from the 24th of March 2016 all support tickets will need to be submitted from your Crucial Control Panel.

Note: Please check your website after each step. A 503/White Screen error can have a few different causes, and you may only need to do Step 1 or another step to fix the problem. The steps are more "individual fixes" listed from easiest/most likely to most complex and unlikely. Once your website is fixed, please be sure to make sure to update WordPress and all plugins/themes

 

Step 1: Restore your website to an earlier backup. In case you haven't made any, you can use our automated backups (taken every 6hrs, they go back 7 days) to restore your site to an earlier date. Click here for a guide.

 

Step 2: Log into the WordPress admin section and update all plugins and themes to the latest version. Click here for a guide. You should also remove any unused plugins and themes.

 

Step 3: Change the PHP version and update variables. Click here for a guide on updating the PHP version. Note that while the latest version of WordPress recommends PHP7 you may have plugins or themes which will only work under PHP5.6 or older versions so you should change that as well. Also from Select PHP Version, click on Switch to PHP Options in the top right, change the max_execution_time and max_input_time to 300 then hit save on the bottom left.

 

Step 4: Your database tables may have corrupted and simply be in need of a repair. Click here for a guide on repairing your databases.

 

Step 5: Disable the plugins folder. In order to do that, access the cPanel File Manager (click here for a guide). Then go into the public_html/ folder and navigate to the wp-content/ folder. You will see the plugins and themes folders. Right click (or command_click for Apple users) on the plugins and rename it to plugins.old.

 

Next, check your website to see if your website comes up.

If your website starts working: Rename the plugins.old folder back to plugins, then go into the folder. Just like you renamed the plugins (or themes) folder, you will, one by one, need to rename each plugin (or theme), test the site to see if it starts working, and if it doesn't, change the specific folder's name back to normal and try another plugin. One of the plugins or themes will be causing your site to crash and the objective of this process is to find which one it is. If you have lots of plugins, click on Last Modified on the top of the File Manager to sort by date, and start from the most recently modified date. The faulty plugin is more likely to be one of these.

 

If your website doesn't start working: Repeat the above process with the themes folder instead of the plugins folder.

 

NOTE: After you find the offending theme or plugin you will need to delete the folder, then make sure that WordPress and all themes/plugins are updated prior to reinstalling the plugin

 

Step 6: Reinstall the core Wordpress files. This involves a few steps:

 

1 - Download the latest version of WordPress from https://wordpress.org/download/

2 - Use the cPanel File Manager to upload the WordPress zip file into the public_html folder (click here for a guide)

3 - Use the cPanel File Manager to find the file titled wp-config.php and rename it to wp-config.php.real

4 - Right click on the WordPress .zip file in the cPanel File Manager, extract the files and overwrite any other files if it asks (click here for a guide)

5 - Delete the wp-config file in public_html then rename the wp-config.php.real file back to wp-config.php

 

Step 7: This is generally the final step in case the others didn't work and it means you'll have to search through some forums for a possible solution. Enable debugging in WordPress (click here for a guide). Once that's done, check your website and you may see an error like this:

 

 

What you need to do now is a Google search for the first part of the error and the last part of the file directory line. In this case, your Google search would be something like "Wordpress Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $send in functions.php". Using that and a few variations including any themes/plugins mentioned in the error, you should be able to find a solution for the specific WordPress problem.

 

If you do find that you continue having trouble after following these steps, feel free to submit a ticket to our support team (click here for a guide). While we're not developers or WordPress experts by far and therefore can't guarantee a solution, we'll have a look and see if there's anything we can to to help you resolve this issue. Alternatively, there are professional companies who offer paid WordPress Support. These are your best bet for complex WordPress problems. 3 of these companies are:

 

https://wpcopilot.com.au/

https://wpcurve.com/

https://wpsitecare.com/

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