We’ve had a lot of our customers and WordPress users, in general, have an issue where their site is showing a blank page. This blank page is typically caused by a PHP error. If you have your php.ini file set to hide PHP errors, you’ll get a blank page displayed.
To find your error messages you have two options:
- Enable display_errors in your php.ini file
- Review your error_log file(s)
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Updating your php.ini file to show error messages
To diagnose PHP errors in WordPress, we will place a line of bad code on the site to show what happens when WordPress encounters and error. The image to the right shows my fully functional WordPress website.
We will add code to the site to intentionally break the WordPress site for testing purposes. See image to the right where it says “I am forgetting my closing quote“.
Now that we’ve added the code to intentionally break the website, you will see the WordPress website displays a blank page.
Note! We don’t see the PHP error message because we have set the directive in the php.ini file to hide the error message.
Enabling error_reporting in the php.ini
To fix this, we’ll simply need to update it so it shows an error message. Edit your php.ini in your public_html folder. To learn how to edit your php.ini page, see our tutorial on How to Use the MultiPHP Editor in cPanel.
- To fix this, we’ll need to update it so it shows an error message. Edit the php.ini file in your public_html folder (or the php.ini file that applies to your site). Find the error_reporting section and then lok for display_errors = Off.
- Change the display_errors so that it is set to “on”. Save the changes in the editor.
- Now, since we have adjusted the display_errors in the php.ini file, as you can see our site now displays the exact error message causing the issue and we can start to troubleshoot it! See snapshot to the right.
How to view your error_log to find error messages
One way to find error messages is to view the error_log file in file manager. All PHP error messages are logged to this file. You can use FTP or the File Manager in cPanel to view this file and any of the error messages logged.
- Login into your cPanel and go to the public_html folder in your File Manager and click Go.
- Find the error_log file with the file manager. Right-click on the error_log file, then select View.
- Now you can see the list of errors that your website is causing. In this case, the syntax error shows because we broke a line of code intentionally.
Being able to view the actual error message causing your blank screen is important when trying to resolve this issue. You can either attempt to debug the issue yourself or pass it on to your designer.