Wordpress/GoDaddy woes
February 5, 2015 11:19 AM   Subscribe

GoDaddy-hosted site, built in Wordpress, loads only blank page. Do not want.

Talk to me like I'm five, please.

I'm building a site in Wordpress hosted by GoDaddy. I can preview what I've done via the Wordpress dashboard, but when I just go to the site, it's a blank page and "Maintenance" appears in the title of the browser tab. I have Googled like crazy and apparently I just don't know the right search terms because I'm not coming up with anything.

I have:
1. Deactivated all plugins.
2. Created a debug log in wp-config (per GoDaddy troubleshooting page) but can't find the actual log anywhere.
3. Updated WP and the theme. When I updated the theme, I got an error message saying: "Warning: An unexpected error occurred. Something may be wrong with WordPress.org or this server’s configuration. If you continue to have problems, please try the support forums. (WordPress could not establish a secure connection to WordPress.org. Please contact your server administrator.) in (domain name)\httpdocs\wordpress\wp-includes\update.php on line 295." I don't know what that means, but it disappeared when I reloaded the page.
4. Poked around the hosting files, but I don't really know what I'm looking for. Nameservers are set, site is "active" and "up and running", per GoDaddy. There are three other domains forwarding to this domain, and all forwarding seems to be fine.

1. Is there some arcane setting somewhere that I might have changed when I started building to make it so the site doesn't load till I'm done and ready to take it live? I don't remember doing this, but it's worth a shot.
2. But mainly, how do I fix? This needs to be live by the end of February.
posted by altopower to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What happens if you try to set the theme to the Twenty Fifteen theme? Does it work? If so, it's the theme. What theme are you using? Are you modifying it with a child theme?

That error you're getting from update.php is just wordpress looking to see if there's an update to the software.
posted by royalsong at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2015

There are plugins that will stop the site from displaying until you say otherwise, but not in Wordpress itself.

We can assume the DB settings are OK or you wouldn't be able to get into the dashboard, so this is most likely the theme.

The Wordpress codex gives the debug log settings as define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true ); in wp-config and you should see the log in the wp-content folder - is this what you're trying?

If you do a view source on the blank page, how far does the code get to? Do you see the same problem using one of the default Wordpress themes? Can you try this theme on a local test setup (WAMP, MAMP or similar)?
posted by jontyjago at 11:41 AM on February 5, 2015

I'm using the Minamaze theme, no child themes. When I tried switching it to Twenty Fifteen, it still loaded a blank page, but with a new and interesting black bar at the bottom.

After switching back to the Minamaze theme, I right-clicked to view source, but discovered that the page is presenting as an image, specifically the 404_background.jpg. I'm sure that means something, but as usual, I don't know what.
posted by altopower at 11:58 AM on February 5, 2015

Googling 404_background.jpg led me to this site which seems to be having the same problems as you describe. The jpg is not anything to do with Wordpress and the site I found is also hosted on GoDaddy according to builtwith so I reckon this is may be a GoDaddy configuration issue - have you spoken to them?
posted by jontyjago at 12:12 PM on February 5, 2015

Is there a file called .maintenance in the root folder of your site? If you remove it does the site work?
posted by backwards guitar at 12:51 PM on February 5, 2015

I pretty familiar with running WordPRess sites at Godaddy. Here's what I'd do.

#1. Don't freak out
#2. Call GoDaddy support. The WordPress people there are pretty knowledgeable and I'm sure can help you out.
#3. You might try:
A. installing another instance of WordPress in a temp folder off the root
B. exporting the content from the broken instance
C. importing your data into the new instance
D. GoDaddy has a button to "move Wordpress" which will allow you to move the working instance down to the root.

I'm pretty sure you won't get beyond #2.
posted by bricksNmortar at 1:33 PM on February 5, 2015

Is there a file called .maintenance in the root folder of your site? If you remove it does the site work?

This is always the first thing to check -- every time (and they number in the hundreds at this point for me) there's been a problem with the persistent 'maintenance' white screen in Wordpress for me, it's because the .maintenance blank file is sticking around for some reason.

FTP in to the root folder for the site, if there's a .maintenance file there, delete it, and try to load the site again. That's a good place to start, at least.

You can also just delete the WP install wholesale (preserving /wp-upload if you have images and stuff uploaded for current content) and start again with a fresh WP install. Your database will still be there, so you won't lose any of your content. This is kind of the nuclear option, but it can help when you start from a known-good state and then start adding plugins and theme stuff step by step to try and track down where things might be going astray.

But yeah, definitely don't freak out. Everything other than images you've uploaded is in the database, so it's just a matter of getting a working install of WP pointing to it.

Is there some arcane setting somewhere that I might have changed when I started building to make it so the site doesn't load till I'm done and ready to take it live?

Not in WP itself, no. There are plugins that let you throw up a 'coming soon' page but let you work in the backend until you're ready to launch, but if you didn't install one of those, that wouldn't be an issue.

(I build and fix Wordpress sites as a freelance thing, so if nothing seems to work and support can't help you, and you're desperate enough to spend some money to get it working, drop me a line.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2015

One other thing to try -- which is a weird trick that sometimes helps with this sort of thing, or has in the past at least -- is to go into the WP admin, go to Settings->Permalinks, just hit whatever option you feel like other than the default (for the moment), then hit Save, and see if the site comes back. Sometimes it actually does!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:52 PM on February 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

OK, I finally got around to working on this again. (This is not my actual job, in case you couldn't tell.)

I found the .maintenance file and tried to remove it, but GoDaddy threw up an "access denied" message. I have all permissions, I'm the only one using the thing, no clue why I don't have the access. So, I guess I'm going to have to contact GoDaddy and see what they can do. All your other suggestions are great, but they all sound way beyond my capabilities.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by altopower at 11:15 AM on February 12, 2015

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