The White Screen of Death

Those of you trying to read HA and Publicola tonight between about 9PM and 10:30PM (and for about 15 minutes this afternoon) were greeted with the dreaded White Screen of Death.  No error message, no nothin’, just a blank, white screen.

At this point, I don’t know what causes it, or what fixes it.  It’s pretty damn frustrating.

Anyway, if anybody out there has some expertise with WPMU, and would like to offer their help, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Comments

  1. 1

    Gordon spews:

    Goldy, do you have access to the server PHP log files between that time frame? It sounds like something in the PHP is causing a fatal error. Could be anything, WP code, plugin code, bug in the theme’s PHP. The only way to find out is see the PHP error logs.

    If it happens to you again, and you have command line access to the server I would recommend logging in immediately and running the “tail” command on your PHP error logs. You might see something there.

    http://www.linfo.org/tail.html

    Assuming you are on apache and your error logs are in a conventional location the following command will give you the last 100 lines of errors from PHP.

    tail -100 /var/log/apache/php.errors

  2. 4

    spews:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have direct access to the PHP log files, or to php.ini to even turn logging on.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of moving from my shared host, but aside from additional cost, I’m also not sure I want to manage the server myself, as I’m not an Apache guy, and I’d have a bit of learning curve.

  3. 5

    Gordon spews:

    It is probably worth sending an email to your host support asking for PHP error logs between the time frame of this bug. I think that there should still be some basic error logging going on, it just likely not being presented back to the client due to a config setting in WP. That is the quickest way to figure out what is happening at the PHP level. If there are no logs available you will probably want to have those turned on.

    Likely something is borked in the WP upgrade process. Maybe a confused db table, or a plugin that is causing PHP to freakout.

    This might be useful info:

    http://www.colinmcnulty.com/bl.....-of-death/

  4. 6

    Gordon spews:

    It is probably worth sending an email to your host support asking for PHP error logs between the time frame of this bug. I think that there should still be some basic error logging going on, it just likely not being presented back to the client due to a config setting in WP. That is the quickest way to figure out what is happening at the PHP level. If there are no logs available you will probably want to have those turned on.

    Likely something is borked in the WP upgrade process. Maybe a confused db table, or a plugin that is causing PHP to freakout.

    This might be useful info:

    http://www.colinmcnulty.com/bl.....-of-death/

  5. 7

    spews:

    Gordon, I’ve gone through a lot of the threads on the WPMU forums, and the thing that is different here is that the White Screen occurs attempting to load any page, even admin, and that it occurs intermittently, and then resolves itself. Also, it started occurring, as far as I could tell, more than two weeks after I performed the upgraded WPMU.

    All this has me leaning toward some sort of memory limit issue.

    It also has me leaning toward addressing the server situation sooner than later. I don’t particularly want to switch hosts, and I don’t particularly want to manage my own server, but I’m going to have to upgrade from a shared hosting account sooner or later as JOA continues to grow.

  6. 8

    Gordon spews:

    All this has me leaning toward some sort of memory limit issue.

    That makes a lot of sense given the intermittent errors.

    HA growing fast, time for a beefier system. :-)

    Probably worth talking to your webhost. Perhaps they have a managed VPS solution for your higher capacity needs. Or at the very least carve out a bigger piece of the shared box you are on.