The blank screen of death. We’ve all seen it, it can come in various forms, a gray screen, a blank screen, a screen that won’t load, etc. It can be scary if you are a blogger, particularly if you have invested some time and expense into a custom blog design, to see your beautiful blog design template suddenly go blank. But there’s really nothing to be afraid of, as most of these issues are easily resolved. So, here are a few steps you can take before calling 911 if you are having blog problems.
Okay, so most likely, you have seen a screen that looks something like this. Scary, right? It can have any number of error messages, but it will have a sad piece of paper face if you are using Google Chrome (the recommended browser for Little Blue Deer blog design templates). I pay the big bucks for cloud hosting from Bluehost (only because I maintain a number of blogs and websites) and even I see that screen sometimes. When you see a screen like this, and I cannot stress this enough, the error is through your hosting provider. NOT the blog designer, and it’s not necessarily something that you did, or that anyone did, it’s just a hosting glitch. Most good hosting companies guarantee around 99% uptime, but you have to consider the other 1% of that. So, when you see a screen like this on your custom blog design, the first thing you can do (and I know this is hard) but wait. Generally it will resolve itself within a few minutes. You can also try clearing your browser cache to see if the page reloads.
If you have given it 30 minutes or so and the blog or website has still not appeared, it’s time to call your hosting provider. Who or what the heck is that? Your host is the company that provides the real estate where your custom blog design or custom website design files live. To read more about hosting and domains, you can check out my tutorial here. Common blog hosts include Godaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator or iPage. Because Little Blue Deer does not offer hosting, we ask all of our clients to set up and purchase their own hosting before we begin on their custom blog design or custom website design. So, if you have a blog design template designed by Little Blue Deer, you will have set your hosting account up prior to beginning the blog design process. If you are still unsure who your blog or site host is, you can easily check by using this website: http://whois.com
This will show you what company hosts your blog. It will also show you where your domain is registered. If these are different companies, check the nameservers as these will reflect where your blog is hosted. And then, give them a call!
Errors like this do not involve any custom elements created by your blog designer, they are always an issue with your site host and are often easily and quickly resolved. So, when you see a screen like this or your site or blog is not loading properly, follow the above steps to contact your site host to rectify the issue.
Help! My site has been hacked! As a blog designer, I have gotten this email many times, and it is almost always a hosting glitch, not a site hack. Your hosting company will be able to assist you in determining if malware is part of the problem (9 times out of 10 it isn’t) and will assist you in rectifying it. You can help by keeping your blog or website theme and plugins updated (see this post on how to do that). Additionally, all major hosting companies do offer a Sitelock package that helps by scanning your files for malware. Most hosting companies also back up your site at least once a week as part of the hosting fee, but you can also purchase Site Backups that back up your site more frequently – consult with your site host to learn more, these packages are generally only a few dollars per month and can be added on to an existing account.
Sometimes it is a WordPress plugin that is causing the issue. It is very easy to figure out if a plugin is causing your issue by deactivating your plugins to see which one is causing the problem. See this post on how to do that.
Finally, though Little Blue Deer has been in business for 9 years and is one of the most well-established custom blog designers in the game, we do not offer ongoing hosting support and of course are not always available to assist. So I like to share a few of my favorite and most reliable “WordPress Troubleshooters” as a reference as well. Since no one can do everything, even we need help sometimes, and one of the handiest tools I have found is a site called Fiverr.com. Maybe you’ve seen their commercials, it’s a marketplace of freelancers and is incredibly easy and inexpensive to use. To use Fiverr you just need to sign up and create an account, which is free. Then, it’s like an online shopping mall for web design. These are my go-to freelancers for quick WordPress fixes:
Atiq: As you can see Atiq offers a variety of WordPress packages most starting at $5. He offers a quick WordPress fix which is his bestselling package and which I recommend should you have an issue that using the above steps does not resolve. Also in the event that your blog or site is hacked, he offers a malware removal and fix that is literally hundreds of dollars cheaper than most hosts.
Fiverr has saved me a number of times and it can save you! Keep in mind you do have to create an account, and the sellers will need to know your WordPress and often hosting login information so that they can get into your blog or site to fix the issue. But if you are looking for a speedy and reliable quick fix to a WordPress problem, this is a great route. I stick to Level II or Top-Rated sellers who have an established presence on Fiverr and you can also view reviews of their work, just like on Yelp! to help you pick the right seller.
In a nutshell, even though I like to provide tips regarding how to manage your custom blog design, it’s also good to know the difference between a blog design template and site hosting. The blog design template is like putting the makeup on your blog, and the hosting is the actual structure of your blog itself, so if you run into problems with your blog designs as outlined above, you will want to contact the doctor (site host) not the facialist (blog designer). Happy blogging!