Blank Page on Joomla Login

One of Joomla’s interesting (and common) problems is when a user logs in to Joomla’s administrator’s control panel only to be greeted by a blank page instead of seeing Joomla’s control panel. The blank page doesn’t have any code in it, at all, not even the <html> and the <body> tags. So what’s going on?

This means that there is an error on the page. In fact, when you have a blank page after you login to Joomla, 99% of the times Apache will return a 500 Internal Server Error. But where did that error come from, and, more importantly, what caused it?

The error results from a PHP error, but you don’t see what the error is because Joomla, by default, and for security reasons, hides all the PHP errors from the outside world.

Now where did the error come from? In most of the cases we have encountered so far, the error comes from PHP trying to include a plugin that no longer exists in the filesystem. Here’s an example that we encountered today:

Warning: require_once(/home/yourwebsite/public_html/components/com_joomfish/helpers/defines.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/yourwebsite/public_html/administrator/modules/mod_translate/mod_translate.php on line 15

Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required '/home/yourwebsite/public_html/components/com_joomfish/helpers/defines.php' (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/yourwebsite/public_html/administrator/modules/mod_translate/mod_translate.php on line 15

We were able to see the error above (instead of the blank page) because we forced PHP error reporting in /public_html/administrator/index.php using:

ini_set('display_errors', '1');

Now what caused this error? Regrettably, we have to say that it was you, but without knowing, here’s how:

– You installed an extension (in the above case Joomfish).
– It didn’t work for your, you didn’t like it, or it caused you problems.
– Instead of uninstalling the extension from Joomla’s control panel, you deleted all the physical folders related to the extension on the file system.
– Since the extension was not uninstalled properly, then it is still considered, in the eyes of Joomla, as active.
– Joomla tries to load the extension (usually extensions that cause these problems are plugins) and fails.
– PHP reports an error and you will see the blank page.

How do we fix the error?

We cleanup the filesystem, we cleanup the database, basically we remove everything that has anything to do with the problematic extension.

This job takes an hour, for a total cost of $75 according to the our fee structure. If you’re having this problem, then contact us, even if it’s 2 AM in the morning, on a Sunday, which happens to be New Year’s eve! We know that your website is very important to you and we’re always here to help you!

10 Responses to “Blank Page on Joomla Login”
  1. Comment by SCOTT DUBE — January 22, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    Where do you put the code to force the error to show on the index.php?

  2. Comment by Fadi — January 30, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Hi Scott,

    You just need to add the following two lines to your index.php:

    ini_set('display_errors', '1');

    Please keep in mind that this will display the errors to all the visitors to your website. If you want to show the errors only for your IP, then we advise to enclose the above code in a: if ($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] == 'your_ip') statement.

    Please contact us if you still need further help!

  3. Pingback by How to Revert Back to a Previous Version of Joomla? | itoctopus — May 8, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

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  4. Comment by Steve GS — May 22, 2012 @ 6:46 pm


    I’ve inserted the two error reporting lines to /administrator/index.php as you suggest, and I *still* get a blank page (again, no HTML code at all – the source is still NULL). (You didn’t say whether they need to be at the beginning or end of the file, but it makes no difference.) So does this mean there are no errors, or are they being turned off again somewhere else?

    The blank page problem started when we changed hosting provider. AFAICS, the only difference is the old provider had PHP 5.3.4 and now we have version 5.3.3.

    Where do I go from here?

  5. Pingback by Login Form Hidden on Joomla’s Administrator Login Page | itoctopus — June 2, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

    […] are seeing a completely blank page when they try to login to their Joomla website. In other words, they see the login form when they […]

  6. Pingback by How to Fix the “Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated” Notice in Joomla | itoctopus — November 13, 2012 @ 4:59 am

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  7. Comment by David — March 9, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    It turns out in my case that the installer busted something in the administrator folder, and merely uploading (and overwriting) it with a copy from an unzipped J3 package on my hard drive did the trick.

  8. Pingback by “Unknown or bad timezone” Error When Logging in to Joomla | itoctopus — June 25, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

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  9. Comment by Jim Heil — July 1, 2015 @ 10:05 pm

    I am still having troubles with the administrator white screen. I have set error report to maximum. There is no error. My cpanel reported an error logout earlier. Could that have something to do with it?

  10. Comment by Fadi — July 23, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

    Hi Jim,

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. What kind of error did your cPanel report? Also, have you checked your site’s/server’s error logs?

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