WordPressHave you ever visited your website and seen what’s known as the “White Screen of Death”? My stomach felt like it was dropping out from under me when I saw it for the first time and I saw it again today.

What’s really happening when you see the White Screen of Death is that your WordPress URL fails to load properly. There has been an error and it is being hidden by WordPress.  In my case, this problem occurred on a client website and she handed it over to me and said, “Can you fix this?”

From this error:

Error Code: php_code_error:64:/home4/mysite/public_html/wp-content/themes/Builder/lib/layout-engine/modules/class.module.php:153:Call-time pass-by-reference has been removed
Message: A fatal code error occurred.

they suspected that there was a problem with the theme and upon further examination, we found that the theme was old and needed to be updated to the latest one. The web host was running a newer version of php.

One thing that will help the situation is to change the theme to one of the native WordPress themes like twentytwelve. We usually handle this through the dashboard, but with an error like this, there is no way to access the dashboard. I found out about a way to do this that I found to be very useful, so I decided to share it with my readers.

The more I work with WordPress the more I see how valuable cPanel is in my BlueHost web hosting account. Log in to cPanel and look for phpMyAdmin:

whitescreen0Click on it and then look for the database:

whitescreen1Look below this and select wp_options:

whitescreen2 Look to the right and search for the lines called template and stylesheet:


Click on edit and then change the theme that’s causing the white screen of death and change it to one that you know will work. In this case, I chose twentyten. Make sure to spell it correctly. Save everything and then type in the URL once again. Your site should come up. It might look a bit jumbled, but at least now you can log in to the dashboard and make things right. The client was very happy when I gave her the good news.