wp-admin issues – going blank without loading after login
WordPress and the wp-admin environment has worked like clockwork for years. I’ve never had issues. Suddenly, the wp-admin (WordPress admin environment) started going blank after I logged in. The problem came without warning and persisted for days.
I decided to tackle the problem head on to stop my wp-admin from going blank. In this state I was unable to publish and edit content. Not exactly the most ideal situation for a site I use for content marketing, huh?
About Stefan Nordström
Digital marketing consultant
7 years of experience
Expertise: SEO, copywriting, newsletters, conversions, digital strategy
In the end, the fix came quite easy. But it was a nervous process. For content marketers without high-level technical know-how, there are few things more scarier than when technical stuff goes wrong. Some people even call these wp-admin issues “the WordPress white screen of death”.
I figure I’ll share it plus the links that made me solve it. As a result, I hope some of you others out there will avoid some WordPress-related nail-biting.
This is much more technical than the stuff I usually write about. But if this is common enough to happen to me during content work, it’s probably happened to thousands of other WordPress users. Let’s go to the bottom of why the wp-admin goes blank after login. Also, let’s look at some things we can do about it, including what I did to make it work.
Useful links about wp-admin going blank
I started out my process by Googling terms like ”wp-admin does not load after login” and ”wp-admin goes blank”. Luckily, it seemed like many people had the same problem in the past. Since I really didn’t want to break my most successful WordPress site, I did some research before doing something about it.
One thing I learned pretty quickly was that these errors can occur for many reasons. That’s why I’ll start by sharing some links to useful information. Later on, I’ll share what worked for me. It was actually way simple than what many people in the Stackoverflow thread had to endure.
Some links that helped me solve the problem were these:
The one that really nailed it for was the conversation from Stackoverflow. There are also many other similar threads and how-to’s out there that seem legit. Another whole different direction of discussion is brute force attacks. It seems to be unusual. Therefor, I’m just going to talk about site-related wp-admin issues and, also, what eventually fixed the problem for me.
Reasons for the wp-admin to go blank and what you can do
Let’s summarize what I learned from the forums and guides. Wp-admin issues can have many different reasons. It’s far from an exact science, but it seems most people with issues found a solution among these methods. Luckily, most of them don’t require that much technical know-how.
Some of the issues and solutions are:
- Spaces in functions.php
- Empty line in wp-config
- Code errors
- Password reset for WordPress admin
Plugins – a common source of wp-admin issues
Plugins seem to be the most common reason for a blank wp-admin. One reasons could be colliding plugins. Naturally, the risk of this happening increases if you use a lot of plugins. I’m definitely sometimes guilty of this. A solution for fixing wp-admin plugin issues is to log in on the WordPress site through FTP, rename the plugins folder, and then login again.
This allows wp-admin to start fresh, without plugins. If it works, you can start adding them back into the original plugins folder again. Hopefully, this method will highlight which plugin caused the whole issue to begin with.
Reason number two is theme errors. Similarly to issues with plugins, a common solution is to rename folders and then log in to WordPress. Renaming theme folders allows WordPress to start fresh, just like the plugins. Hopefully, you can find the theme error when adding themes back one by one. Or if the theme causes issues, why not start using a better one right away?
Spaces in functions.php
Spaces in functions.php can cause your wp-admin to malfunction. The solution for this is to delete all spaces above or below the PHP tags. It’s a bit of a brave thing to do for people not used to coding, but it worked for some people that had issues with a blank wp-admin.
Empty line in wp-config
An empty line in the wp-config file can cause problems with wp-admin. Wp-config is one of the most important files in a WordPress installation. You can find it in your root directory. The easiest way to access is through an FTP client.
Code errors and wp-admin issues
There can also be errors in the code. The best method to find these are to go in to debug mode. This is way overkill for me, but from what I’ve read, it can help fix the problems. It goes without saying, but don’t starting editing code you don’t understand. It can cause you to break your site even more.
Resetting the wp-admin password
It seems that a few people fixed their blank wp-admin by changing the WordPress admin password. Very ”have you tried turning it on and off again?”-ish tip. But hey. If it works, it works.
What did I do myself?
Oh. I almost the forgot the most juicy part. What did I do myself to get access to wp-admin again? Well, I was pretty sure it had something to do with plugins. I have many of them, and sometimes they act sketchy while updating. My overall plugin handling is also not on point. I do SEO and write. Most of the WordPress stuff is above my knowledge level.
I decided to log in to my WordPress through an FTP client. Remembering the tips from the online guides, I went straight for the plugins folder in /wp-content/. I renamed it ”pluginss”, just like many people said. At this point, there was no celebrating. Wp-admin still came up blank when I tried to log in.
After this failure, I was preparing for hours of grueling research and hazardous methods. Firstly, I renamed ”pluginss” back to ”plugins”. Just as a precaution, I decided to log in to WordPress again. To my surprise, wp-admin was working again. Everything back to normal. Not blank. All plugins visible and working.
I don’t know exactly what I did, but I guess it must have reloaded the plugins and the wp-admin somehow. Maybe cache issues? Who knows? I’m just happy my site got through this unscathed. Also, I spent way less time on it than I expected to.
Update: This wasn’t enough. I had to head into my WordPress installation through FTP again. Eventually, I learned that the wp-admin issues were caused by a cache plugin. Deleting the cache plugin wasn’t enough. When I did that errors in my WordPress admin persisted. I had to find a related .php file and rename it. After that I could re-install and delete the plugin properly. Now, it seems like everything is fine with the site.
Did this teach me anything? Well, one thing: I should brush up a bit on my technical WordPress skills. It’s also a reminder how fragile a webpage really is. Don’t forget to do those backups. And be careful with plugins and themes. Many things can go wrong very fast.
I hope this guide to wp-admin issues can help out some fellow content marketers and WordPress users. If you’re looking for someone to help out with digital marketing services like SEO, copywriting and/or newsletters, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. The best way is to connect with me on LinkedIn or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.