An Archnemesis Returns: The Word Press Blank Screen of Death

I sat down this evening to update this blog, and when I logged into WordPress, I find a message to upgrade the Atahualpa theme for the blog.

“Click here to upgrade automatically,” it states so plainly and unassumingly. It might as well have said, “Click here to waste the next two hours of your life.”

I click the button, and in the blink of an eye a screen appears announcing the upgrade has failed. When I go back to the blog, I receive the dreaded Word Press blank screen of death.

This is the second time this has happened with this theme. The first time it happened was when I first installed the theme. And of course, that was months ago, and I can only vaguely remember what I did to resolve it.

I google “blank screen of death” and “white screen of death” and read through some blog and forum posts on the subject. Their recommendations involve file manipulation, recoding php files, and modifying MySQL databases. These instructions would have been a walk in the park for brainiacs with a PhD in computer science. But to me, it looked like the giant garden maze from “The Shining” that crazy Jack Nicholson chased his poor son into at the end of the film. And we all know how that turned out for Jack.

I ended up reinstalling the old version of the theme, and this blog reappeared.

Shouldn’t Word Press and Atahualpa be better integrated so that this doesn’t happen to lay users like myself? What do we have to do to rid the world of this evil known as the WordPress blank screen of death?

6 comments to An archnemesis returns: The WordPress blank screen of death

  • As a veteran of Wordpress and many various themes, I actively avoid any and all theme updates. The last one I performed (unassumingly) caused more than 8 hours of down time while I undid all of the intended upgrades manually.

    While I’m usually cautious of Wordpress CMS updates, and seldom worry about plug-in updates…theme updates are my worstest enemy.

    Not that my comments help in any way, since you’ve already learned everything I said for yourself…but I thought maybe this might have the effect of a support group, as with people who accidentally get STD’s.


  • John, if you ever need any Wordpress help, let me know. I’ve been building on Wordpress for years and find it the best tool to use as a site framework…

    Love the site, just came across it searching for something news related for WGFA.

    Well done.


  • Have you worked with Joomla? What do you think of Joomla vs. WordPress? A couple of web developers I know have been talking up Joomla recently.

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  • Roy

    I outsourced a theme application to a pro and it made my life so so easy with WordPress. I mean I’ve paid maybe $40 and got so much more than just a theme, I got an upgrade of WP itself, I can easily approach everything I need on WP I understand now what I’m doing, and so it was worth it. I reckon – if you treat your blog like a business, you want to invest some money with a pro. It pays off in the end 10 folds.

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