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Battling the White Screen of Death


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Battling the White Screen of Death - A Support Tale

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Battling the White Screen of Death

  1. 1. Battling the WSOD A Tech Support Tale
  2. 2. Keith Hyde Kayleigh Thorpe WordPress & Systems Specialist @Keithage WordPress Support Specialist @Kayleighthorpe
  3. 3. Coming up • White Screen of Death • Plugin issues • Theme issues • Useful tools • Hacked Sites & Restoration • Additional common support queries • Handy wp-cli commands WP-CLI
  4. 4. Have you ever visited your website to see this? We call this the ‘White Screen of Death’.
  5. 5. Plugin Issues
  6. 6. • The first step when faced with the WSOD is to check your error logs. These usually provide helpful insights to where the issue is coming from. • They are usually accessible via FTP - in most cases you can find error logs stored in a folder just below your site’s root directory. • Example log entry: Searching Error Logs
  7. 7. Finding logs via FTP
  8. 8. How do I fix a plugin issue? • Check for updates - updates may have been made to fix some plugin issues you may be having. • Disable the plugin - disabling plugins with coding errors in them usually fixes the problem, from there it may be worth re-installing the plugin. • In case of WSOD where there is no access to the WordPress admin panel - you want to know how to safely remove the plugin.
  9. 9. Safely disable plugins > Disable a plugin by renaming it via FTP / File Manager: Disable a plugin via WP-CLI: wp plugin deactivate plugin-name --skip-plugins
  10. 10. After disabling the offending plugin:
  11. 11. Theme Issues
  12. 12. Theme Issues Changing your theme FTP / File Manager: > If you rename your theme via FTP this will disable the theme - but it will cause your site to display a white screen on all pages except the wp- admin section. You can go directly to the wp-admin section and enable a safe theme after doing this.
  13. 13. Theme Issues Changing your theme via WP-CLI: wp theme activate theme-name --skip-themes
  14. 14. Memory Issues Memory issues are commonly caused because a theme needs more memory than WordPress has allocated to it. To fix this you need to allocate more memory to WordPress. You can add this line to your wp-config.php: define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M'); Depending on your hosting set up this value may need to be stored elsewhere - ask your host if you are unsure!
  15. 15. The Nastier Problems: Hacked Sites
  16. 16. ClamAV an open source (GPL) anti-virus engine which includes command line scanning to check files and folders for issues. WP-CLI WP-CLI allows us to scan the WordPress core feels for changes - the vast majority of WordPress sites should not need any changes making to their core files. This is a good indication of an issue. wp core verify-checksums Some quick checks if you suspect an issue:
  17. 17. Creating a clean WordPress Install 1. Use the WordPress Export tool to create a copy of your custom content - your posts, pages, comments, meta data and media. This will store the content in a .XML file for later import. 2. Create a brand new WordPress installation - new database, users and no theme/plugins. 3. Create your users - they are not backed up. 4. Run the import tool from within WordPress - this will restore your custom content on to the new site. 5. You will then be given the option to assign imported authors to existing authors on your website. 6. Re-install your plugins and theme from the WordPress repository.
  18. 18. WPScan WPScan is a command line tool you can install on your server which scans WordPress websites for known vulnerabilities, as well as offering advice on how you can make security improvements to your WordPress install.
  19. 19. Other common support queries
  20. 20. Changing your user’s passwords 1. Login to the WordPress admin dashboard 2. Select ‘Users’ then ‘All Users’ from the side menu. 3. Click on the username you wish to edit. 4. Scroll down to ‘Account Management’ to set a new password, change it, and hit ‘Update Profile’.
  21. 21. Preventing spam comments WordPress sites are victim to a lot of spam commenters. There are many ways to prevent and reduce the number of comments you are getting. Installing a plugin to tackle the spam comments is recommended. There are many spam protection plugins to choose from: • Akismet • SI Captcha Spam • Tick Captcha • WP Spam IP • Anti-Spam
  22. 22. define('WP_DEBUG',true); [06-Sep-2016 19:58:10 UTC] PHP Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /var/ www/vhosts/ on line 173 Enabling WP_Debug Sometimes you will encounter issues where your error logs may not be offering any clear insights. A good extra check is to enable WP_Debug - this will enable extra error logs to display directly on your WordPress pages.
  23. 23. Additional Safety Tips • Enable automatic updates • Security plugins such as ‘Sucuri’, ’Limit Login Attempts’ • xmlrpc.php protection • Host security - Fail2ban • Use passphrases and two factor authentication • Make sure you are setting the correct user roles
  24. 24. Additional Support Queries and Tips
  25. 25. • Running out of disk space • Set a reasonable backup schedule • Only backup wp-content and database. • Try to use a remote storage solution - Dropbox, Google Drive. Common backup plugin issues & tips
  26. 26. Fixing broken permalinks 1. Login to your WordPress Dashboard 2. Click on ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks’ 3. Switch permalinks to default 4. Switch permalinks back Note: Ensure .htaccess is writable by the server.
  27. 27. Managing Transients
  28. 28. Transient Issues Transients are options temporarily stored in your database. Many of these can cause your site to become slow. • You can remove unused transients by installing the ‘Transient Manager’ plugin. • Alternatively consider setting up key storage such as Redis on your server.
  29. 29. File ownership / permission issues Sometimes WordPress will behave strangely. Such as asking for FTP details to install a plugin: This is a common result of incorrect file ownership or permissions. Always ensure you have your files and folders set correctly. Most times files should have their permissions set to 644 and directories to 755. But ask your host if you are worried about setting the correct file permissions. Do not set permissions to 777
  30. 30. Always disable caching on your site when you are developing or regularly flush the cache to see your updated content. You can flush your cache using WP-CLI: wp cache flush Caching
  31. 31. Useful WP-CLI commands
  32. 32. wp core wp core offers commands related to the core WordPress file setup. Favourite useful commands: • wp core update • wp core download • wp core version • wp core verify-checksums
  33. 33. wp option wp option is used for managing options within WordPress Favourite useful commands: • wp option get siteurl • wp option get home • wp option update siteurl • wp option update home
 - Great for newly migrated sites

  34. 34. wp plugin wp plugin commands allow you to edit and manage your plugins Favourite useful commands: • wp plugin list • wp plugin deactivate plugin-name • wp plugin update plugin-name
  35. 35. wp theme wp theme commands allow you to edit and manage your themes Favourite useful commands: • wp theme activate theme-name • wp theme update theme-name
  36. 36. wp db wp db allows you to manage your database using WP-CLI Favourite useful commands: • wp db import mydatabase.sql • wp db repair • wp db cli
  37. 37. wp user wp user allows you to manage your WordPress site’s users Favourite useful commands: • wp user list • wp user delete # Creating a new administrator account:
  38. 38. Thank you! Link Credits https:// @Kayleighthorpe @Keithage Any thoughts or questions?