If you’ve found this post, you’re probably at the point of frustration. The technical side to blogging can be one of the most frustrating parts, especially when you don’t understand coding.
If you’re here, it probably means you’ve experienced the “white screen of death” AKA the “Parse Error”. You may not be able to access your site at all and you might be worried that you’re going to lose all your hard work.
If this is you, don’t freak out. It’s fixable!
What Does the Parse Error Mean?
Normally a Parse Error or syntax error is given to a user when they have incorrectly manipulated the code within their site files. Sometimes, though, the error is given after someone has installed a plugin which is not compatible with their theme. In other words, you were playing around trying to get something to work and instead your entire site went nighty night and you are staring blankly at your screen unable to comprehend what just happened.
Parsing refers to analyzing sentences into parts (in this case, the CSS of your file)
Syntax refers to the rules used to join words together. This means that you have manipulated the words within your file to a point that they aren’t talking to each other correctly.
In a nutshell, while the system was parsing (analyzing) the CSS (the coding language that tells your site what it should look like), it became confused by the syntax (the joining of the words you were using). In other words, you made a CSS coding error. It’s like writing in Chinese when the system only understands English.
So How Do I Fix the Error?
1. Make Sure You Research How to Code Properly
Taking preventative measures is always the number one goal. Save yourself from a headache and research the code you’re trying to replicate before you attempt writing it.
2. Access Your Site Using FTP
What the heck does that mean? FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the protocol used to transfer files between a client and their server. So whoever you receive hosting from (Bluehost, SiteGround, etc.) hosts the server that your site uses. Accessing FTP is going to require you to download software. There are several different software programs from which to choose. Here are three:
Filezilla- For Windows
Core FTP– For Windows
Cyberduck – For Mac
What you’re doing when you use this software, is you’re transferring a file from one place to the other. While this was more commonly used in the past, it is still a viable option to use today.
Once you have the software downloaded, you will need a username and password. To find out your username and password, you’ll want to contact your host. This username and password is not the same one you use to access WordPress. This username and password will need to be set up with your host as a separate account.
3. Restore Your File with a Backup
The easiest way to fix this issue is to go through your host to restore your file with a backup. Here are instructions for restoring your backup through SiteGround:
- Log in to Accounts
- Select your cPanel
- Scroll down to Backups Manager
- Select Backup/Restore
- From the Backup drop-down menu, select Files
- From the Backup Date, select the most recent
- Double click public_html
- Double click your domain name
- Double click wp-admin
- Select the box of the file you want to restore and hit the arrow button to move it over to the right side of the screen.
- Select okay
If it is your functions.php file that you’re needing to restore, you will select admin-functions.php.
4. Chat With Your Host
If your host is helpful, they might even fix the problem for you. Sometimes the fix is not as easy as following a set of instructions because every site is unique. You may have a different theme, you have different elements, different colors and files and content. If none of the steps listed above help you, get it solved through your host.
I can tell you that my host, SiteGround has amazing customer service and their representatives will do everything they can to help you.
Getting the White Screen of Death is not the end of all your hard work. By following some simple steps, you can get your site back up and running in no time. Did any of these suggestions help you? Can you offer another suggestion?
Kelly is a veteran, former teacher, and blogging business owner who left her career in the corporate world to start a blog. Her research and time invested in blogging have developed into a passion for helping others realize their potential and successfully follow their passion of building a successful blog.