Deactivating All WordPress Plugins when Locked Out of WP Admin

wp-login-white-pageYou want to log in to your website and are greeted by the White Screen of Death (WP login screen stays white)? Don’t panic, in most cases a plugin or theme causes this problem.

If you cannot access your WordPress admin area (dashboard) after updating your plugins, you should deactivate all plugins and then reactivate them one by one. This makes it very easy to isolate the plugin causing problems.

There are two options to deactivate all active plugins without having access to the WordPress admin area:

  • Access your webspace via SFTP.
    You can use FileZilla as an FTP client, for example.
    Learn more: Accessing your webspace – SFTP Connection Credentials (1&1 Help Center)
  • Open the folder /path-to-my-wordpress-website/wp-content/
    Under wp-content you can find the plugins folder.
  • Rename the plugins folder (FileZilla: right click on plugins folder > Rename).
    For example: plugins_deactivated.

If the problem has been caused by a plugin, you should now be able to log into your WordPress website again.

  • Log in as usual.
  • Rename the folder plugins_deactivated to plugins.
  • Switch to the Plugins section in the WordPress admin area.
  • Activate your plugins one by one until the problem occurs again.
    You now know which plugin causes the problem.
  • As a last step, rename the plugin folder again, log in to your website and activate all unproblematic plugins.

Deactivating plugins in the database via phpMyAdmin (for advanced users)

If you have never heard of phpMyAdmin before, we recommend to use the FTP method.

For all advanced users, there is another option:

  • Open phpMyAdmin.
    Learn more: Access phpMyAdmin (1&1 Help Center)
  • In your WordPress database, open the wp_options table.
  • Search for: active_plugins.
  • Set the value for this option to: a:0:{}

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