WordPress admin shows a white page

Horror!

You wanted to change something to optimize your WordPress website.
Most likely you added code to your theme’s functions.php file.
Code you wrote yourself or maybe a snippet you found on the internet.

Unfortunately you end up with a blank page, all is gone, nothing but white.

Ok, never mind, the code wasn’t good, let’s remove it.
Ugh, still a white page.

Chances are you have empty lines at the end of your functions.php file.
Somehow WordPress doesn’t like those. Make sure the last line in your functions.php file has text or code on it.

To prevent this from happening.
– always backup your file before you start making changes
– check the code you copy from the internet, don’t copy empty lines at the end
– remove empty lines before saving

If you didn’t manually add code you probably added a plugin. This sometimes results in not only a blank website but also blank admin pages. Nowhere to access your WordPress installation. Not all is lost. Access your site using a FTP program or the admin panel of your host (Cpanel, directAdmin). Browse to your plugins folder and remove the plugin you just added or rename its folder.

If this doesn’t help, rename your plugins folder for a moment and try to access your admin panel again. Once you are in, restore the name of your plugins folder. All should be good now.

Keep copyright up to date

At the footer of many webpages you will find the line

Copyright “YEAR” Company Name

or

Copyright “YEAR” – “YEAR” Company Name

and more than once you will find these years are incorrect.

With just a few lines of code in your footer.php file, you can keep the copyrights up to date automatically.

 
 
<div class="site-info">
   <?php 
     $startYear = 2013; //replace with your own value
     $currentYear = date("Y");
     if ( $startYear == $currentYear ) {
       $yearString = $startYear; 
     } else {
       $yearString = $startYear . ' - ' . $currentYear; 
     }    
     echo "Copyright $yearString Company Name"; 
   ?>
</div><!-- .site-info -->
 
never-changes-a-winning-team

Never change a winning team

It is tempting, I know, but don’t update until you have to.

Every update has some improvements, but every update also comes with a risk.
Read more

WordPress plugin or functions.php

You want to change something to the functionality of your WordPress website. A change more complicated than just removing or adding a tag. At that point you will have to decide whether to write a plugin or to add a function to functions.php

What is the difference?
A plugin is part of the WordPress installation in general, functions.php is part of the theme you use. Every theme has its own functions.php file.

So before you start, decide whether your functionality is theme related or WordPress (this includes other plugins) related.

Does it matter?
It does when you start to change things.

Let’s say you put a function that is in fact WordPress related into functions.php. This will work initially, but when you change your theme it will stop working. You will have to transfer your function from your old theme’s functions.php to your new theme’s functions.php to make it work again. If however you had written a plugin for this function, things would have kept working no matter the theme change.

The other way around, if you put a theme related function in a plugin you may lose track of it and forget to remove it when you change your theme. Leaving behind a not needed function, that may even cause unexpected errors.

Other option:
Ask the WordPress/plugin/theme developer to implement the functionality, this will make the feature available to everyone.

Developing a plugin sounds much more difficult than adding a function to your functions.php file, but it is not. We’ll show you the basics in another article.