7 Reasons Your Joomla Site Is Suddenly Displaying a Blank Page

You haven’t done anything on your Joomla website for 4 weeks, and you are the only authorized person that has access to the backend of the website and to the site’s filesystem/database. Yet, you wake up this morning and you find out that your website (frontend and/or backend), is displaying a blank page. You call your host, and they tell you they know nothing about it. You panic, you google this issue, and you land on this post. You did the right thing, because in this post, we’ll reveal the top 7 reasons that may have caused the blank page that you’re now seeing on your Joomla site.

  1. Your website got hacked: In the majority of cases, a sudden blank page on a Joomla website is caused by a hack that didn’t go very well; the hacker tried to inject malicious code on your site, but instead, crashed the website. Look at the bright side of this, if the hack fully succeeded and your website still worked, then it would have taken you a long time to discover that your website was hacked, which may cause Google to penalize your website (it is not fun to get out of a Google penalty, and sometimes, you are stuck there for a very, very long time).
  2. Your environment has changed: The second common reason that can cause a sudden blackout (or a blankout) on your Joomla site is an environment change. For example, a MySQL update and/or a PHP update that is (are) not supported by your current version of Joomla. From our experience, asking the host to revert the update is a futile endeavor (although some hosts do have some tools that will allow you to use a different version of MySQL and/or PHP), so the best solution is to either update your website to the latest version of Joomla, or hire someone to resolve the incompatibilities between your Joomla website and the updated environment. Keep in mind that at times the issue is caused by one ore more 3rd party extension that are incompatible with the new version of MySQL and/or PHP.

  3. Your system/database ran out of space: On every page load, Joomla writes something to the database (typically in the #__session table). If Joomla cannot write to the disk for one reason or the other, then it will fail and will display a blank page (unless you have error reporting turned on, in which case Joomla will display the actual error). The solution to this problem is to delete the temporary/unnecessary files (especially obsolete backups) and reduce the size of the database by removing any backup tables/databases. You should also consider asking your host to increase your disk space or your database limits.

  4. You have some corruption at the database level: As stated in our last point, Joomla writes to the database on every page load. If there is a corruption at the database level or at a table level, then Joomla will display a blank page. There are several causes behind a database/table corruption, including, but not limited to, disk failure and bad sectors (which are mainly caused by power outages and forced shutdowns). InnoDB databases tend to fix themselves on database restart (if the cause of the issue is not a disk failure). MyISAM databases, on the other hand, must be repaired manually (which is another reason why you should switch the storage engine of your Joomla database from MyISAM to InnoDB).

  5. You server has hardware issues: Hardware issues include, but are not limited to: disk failure, motherboard failure, bad RAM, and overheating. Only the data center can fix any hardware issues you may have on your server. If you want to minimize the risk of having hardware issues, then you need to migrate to another, newer server every 12-18 months. Unfortunately, we know that most readers will take this advice with a grain of salt, and that they will only remember reading about it on the itoctopus blog when it’s too late.

  6. One of your Joomla plugins went berserk: One of our clients had a system plugin that loaded some content from a remote site. All of a sudden, the content format on the remote site changed and the plugin went berserk, causing the whole Joomla website to crash. Fixing the problem consisted of disabling the plugin (the client didn’t want it anymore). Admittedly, we only had this one case where a system plugin was the cause of the issue, so the probability for this happening on your site is very low. Still, it is not a bad idea to review your system plugins if the cause of your problem is none of the above.

  7. You have once worked with a wicked developer: It’s a wicked, wicked world and there are some wicked, wicked Joomla developers out there. It might be that a developer added some code somewhere on your website a long time ago that will make it die on a specific date. Fortunately, debugging this issue is not hard if you hire the right people to do it for you (such as us).

We hope that you found this post useful, and that it helped you address the sudden blank page issue on your Joomla website. If, however, your problem is not caused by anything in the above list, or if you need help with the implementation, then please contact us. We are here to help, our fees are always affordable, we are very reliable, and our work is very clean!

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