There’s never a convenient time to encounter the “White Screen of Death” on your site but unfortunately it happens to all of us at some point. In the past you’d be locked out, leaving you with few options: manually disable the themes and plugins or enable debugging–even before you see what the error even is. Don’t worry though, WordPress 5.2 to the rescue. This latest release includes a new “Recovery Mode” that provides white screen of death protection for your site. It’s a critical tool when recovering from a fatal theme or plugin error as you can still access the site and troubleshoot despite the error. Here we take you through this new feature so you’ll be ready the next time you encounter this dreaded fatal error.
How does it work?
When a fatal error is detected on your site several things happen. Here is a breakdown of how the new Recovery mode feature works. In my tests, only theme and plugin related errors triggered Recovery Mode, fatal errors due to core file issues did not.
- Your site will display a message saying that it is “experiencing technical difficulties”
- The theme or plugin causing the error will be turned off
- An email will be sent to the admin address with a private link to the site, after logging in you will be in Recovery mode
How do I fix my site?
The email sent to the Admin Address will include specific information about the errors that occurred. Most likely a plugin or theme will be listed as the cause of the fatal error. Here are a few options for resolving these issues.
- Disable the plugin
- Apply theme/plugin updates
- Change Themes
- Restore website and avoid the cause of the fatal error
Congratulations, now you are more familiar with the new Recovery mode option in WordPress! Next time you experience a fatal error you can avoid the white screen of death and get your site working with some of these fixes.