What to do if a WordPress Plugin Breaks Your Site: How to Fix the White Screen of Death

We have all seen it at one point or another… the WordPress white screen of death.

(if you haven’t count your lucky stars)

That horrid blank screen that tells nothing and alerts us of that our sites are down for us and the rest of the web.

A plugin you just activated has taken down your site. WTF!

Not to worry though, it’s easy to fix. 

Just follow the tutorial below and your site will be back up and running in no time.

Step 1: Login to your Servers FTP

Login to your hosting account with an FTP client. I like, use and recommend Filezilla.

If you don’t have your FTP information, google your hosting providers name and FTP. You can figure out how to get it.

Step 2: Navigate to your WordPress Plugins Folder

This might be different depending on your hosting provider but you will want to head into your site’s directory and head into wp-content then into the plugins folder.

There you will see all your installed plugins, including the plugin that broke your site.

wp-content > plugins > plugin-folder-name-that-broke-site

Step 3: Change the name of the Plugin folder that took down your site

I typically just add a z to the end of the plugin name, so “google-sitemap-generator” would become “google-sitemap-generatorz”

Once this is done, the plugin will automatically deregister itself from the backend of your wordpress install and your should be back up and running.

Note: I just used google-sitemap-generater as an example, I’m sure it works great!

Step 4: Contact the Developer

The next step would be contacting the developer of the plugin.

Be nice and explain your situation and what happened. Including screenshots, error messages, and other information will help the developer figure out what is going on.

Don’t accuse the developer of having a faulty plugin (they hate that). Even if the plugin you activated took down your wordpress site, it might not actually be the cause of the problem, it could very well be another plugin you already have installed on your site.

For further troubleshooting you might want to activate WP_debug

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About the Author

David is Founder of Inbound Now and a Fanatical WordPress Designer & Developer. He believes that the internet is a magical place where wonderful things can happen. Say hi to him @DavidWells

4 comments

  1. David ,
    I try to activate your plugin on this domain but it gives several errors.
    I start with a clean wordpress on a new domain but it still gives the errors.
    When i install the plugin on another domain of mine it works fine?

    Can you help me out please.

    Regards Hans

    • Hi Hans,

      So it worked on one site but not the other? Can you give me some more detail about the problem?

      Are you running thesis or genesis for your theme? and are you running wordpress 3.5?

  2. You just saved my life!!! thank you so much, i spent hours searching WP blog forums to no avail!!! I was feeling sick and then i followed your steps and it restored my website!!!

    Im never installing plugins again!

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