Dreaded blank page of death


A search for "blank page" of the Drupal.org domain yields about 37,000 results.

This is probably one of the more common and frustrating problems for Drupal admins.

I've had the problem dozens of times myself. For no apparent reason, pages will simply come up blank. Drupal returns nothing at all, not even a set of empty HTML tags. As a developer, I'm used to seeing broken sites and fixing them. But the typical site administrator may not have the knowledge or experience necessary to debug something like a blank page.

The first thing you want to do is gather all available debugging info. The two primary places you'll find this information is in Drupal's logs (Administer >> Logs) and in your Apache log files (/var/log/httpd on Linux systems). If you're lucky, these logs will provide obvious clues as to what's wrong. Whether or not your able to gather any clues as to the source of your problem, below is a list of the most common causes of empty server responses:

  1. Memory: In your php.ini file there is a value called memory_limit, which is set to 8 megabytes by default. If you've installed a lot of modules, you can easily exceed 8 megs on a given page request. The solution is to increase this limit (I set mine to 32 megs because I have lots of memory on my host and few domains being served on it). If you're in a shared host environment, you won't be able to modify this value. In this case, you'll need to disable modules or get a new host.
  2. Buggy Modules: If you're problem began after installing and activating a new module, move the module's directory outside of /ROOT/modules/. Experimenting with modules is probably the easiest way to "break" your site. My suggestion is to test all modules on a non-production Drupal installation. Move them to your production site only after making sure they work properly (This message approved by Captain Obvious).
  3. Incompatible Modules: Using 4.6 modules on a 4.7 site is also a great way to break stuff. Make sure you've installed the module versions that match your Drupal version.
  4. Broken Themes: A buggy theme can easily render a site unusable. My suggestion is to preview themes at the Drupal Theme Garden or on a non-production Drupal installation. If it's too late for that and you're experiencing blank pages, you should try setting the theme to a "safe", stock theme. If you cannot access your administrative pages (http://.../admin/themes), you will need to move your custom theme from your /themes/ directory to another temporary location. Alternatively, you can run this SQL command on your Drupal database: UPDATE variable SET value = 's:10:"bluemarine";' WHERE name = 'theme_default';

I don't believe I've ever seen the 'blank page' problem in a production release of Drupal core. The problem only crops up when installing and playing around with new modules. So the bottom line is be very careful when experimenting with modules. I almost always use a sandbox installation of Drupal to test modules before installing them on a production site. (updated: Thu Jul 13 14:11:27 2006)
I'd add to #2 that sometimes you have to remove the module from the modules directory altogether, as all modules are read with every page view, whether they're activated or not, yes? -Laura
All modules are read when you're visiting the admin/modules page. For other pageviews, only the activated modules are loaded.
Because sometimes after uploading an experimental module, the site crashes immediately. Removing the module resolves that. I suppose I cannot say for sure that it wasn't only admin/modules that crashed. Hmmm.... -Laura
I had this same problem specifically with the CiviCRM module that is in the Drupal repository. When I deleted it, the site reappeared.
If you wrap the index.php in some kind of try: except: capture then you can have it give you the error instead of crapping out :D

Interesting, now I only get 11k results for "blank page" using Drupal now with your search query above. Wonder what caused this significantly lesser amount of results in just a month and a half time.... I do agree though, this error makes my stomach turn each time I see it.

SEO Position

Lost three days on this one :(((((
After playing with some modules things broke up. Removing the modules solved the problem half: all pages were back except the front page. The reason: a kind of broken .phtml file was stored in the browser's cache and was retrieved from there.

simple solution: CLEAR THE BROWSER CACHE !
(in Firefox: Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy -> Cache)

But it took me three days to find that out!

With 5.1 anyway, there is apparently no special checking in the admin themes area. If you select a theme as the default without putting a checkmark in the "enabled" checkbox for the theme you are setting the default to, you'll get a blank white page everywhere, including the admin panel.

Here's something that got me during a 4.7.3 to 5.x upgrade of a site that we inherited... In the Navigation block's "Page visibility settings" PHP code there was a call to a function that lived in module xyz. When I would disable module xyz, the only page I could visit without getting a blank page was admin/modules.

So there you go. Check your blocks' page visibility settings after you've tried all that other good stuff in this thread...

I'm having different issues. I'm getting blank pages after submitting forms, mainly editing nodes. Getting extremely frustrating. But it's not happening on my 4.7 site, only on my 5.1, and only in the last couple days. I haven't installed any modules lately either, or changed the theme.

I have had this same issue and thought that it maybe it had to do with my browser. After some testing, this didn't seem to matter.

You have mentioned an old Drupal Theme Garden which was closed with drupal 5 release.
A new drupal themes showcase can be found at Drupal Theme Garden.

thanx! I already thought it was the theme. I changed the theme to a new version and the blank pages were gone! good tip

thanks for good tip too, I changed the theme to a new version

Something frustrating :-(
I had a similar problem several weeks ago, and it was a theme related thing.

Now I have solved that !!



I've see the dreaded blank page only once. It so happens that I downloaded all modules for Drupal, and yes, I installed them all! :D

How else was I gonna find out what they do?

When I first had the problem, I switched to Wordpress, but since then have used newer versions of Drupal without problems. probably luck

Though customizable, Drupal as a CMS needs some good technical knowledge. I tried installing it myself and had the exact problem. Could not fix it by myself so had to get it installed again by a programmer. David - http://www.davidmoor.com

thanks post and site very nice.....
webmaster: www.dealerbeat.com

The technicalities involved in drupal is one of the main reasons why I'm hesistent to use it at the moment. But there's no doubt it's a powerful cms though :)


Wow these are the grate tips on Drupal.Thanks for sharing,hope you continue this in future also.grate post.

I don't believe I've ever seen the 'blank page' problem in a production release of Drupal core. The problem only crops up when installing and playing around with new modules. So the bottom line is be very careful when experimenting with modules. I almost always use a sandbox installation of Drupal to test modules before installing them on a production site
Queens Psychic

I try to install new modules very carefully after an experience like this. Once you have such an issue it becomes very tough to find out the cause of problem.