Documenting Gutenberg Blank Screen Reports

👋 Hello! I work mainly on the make/test team where our current focus is GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. I’ve spotted a common issue that’s tricky to troubleshoot and wanted to reach out to see what you think!

The problem is that sometimes a blank screen or a white screen appears when trying to create a new post or page. I wanted to note a few example reports here for reference and as a starting point for working out how best to troubleshoot these types of issues.

Recent blank screen reports

  1. 9990 – blank pages after updating to 3.8.0
  2. 9845 – one user is on, another reports clearing browser cache fixed the problem
  3. 9834 – editor is blank for all posts/pages, existing and new
  4. 9591 – user reports the problem only happens for child pages
  5. 9295 – likely a Cloudflare conflict
  6. 9222 – likely a pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party or theme conflict
  7. 9221 – user reported back that it started working but didn’t say why
  8. 8891 – possible Safari extension conflict

Older blank screen issues with resolutions

  1. 9926 – solved after making an unrelated change to php config
  2. 9585 – solved by preventing plugin admin notices from displaying on the edit page and post listings page
  3. 9101 – solved by disabling the “Disable REST APIREST API The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”)” setting in the WP Cerber Security plugin
  4. 9095 – solved by clearing browser cache
  5. 8960 – solved by flushing rewrite rules
  6. 8534 – solved by updating file permissions and restarting the server
  7. 8455 – solved by fixing a race condition in wp.domReady
  8. 7461 – solved by avoiding conflicts when a plugin resets the $post variable (plugin conflicts noted: Strong Testimonials, Webcraftic Clearfy, Table of Contents Plus)

There are a number of possible causes for a blank screen problem. In my experience so far, the most-likely culprits are: plugin or theme conflicts, strict security rules which blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. the APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways., and/or some other server configuration problem. When I see the problem reported, I typically start by asking for browser console errors to be documented and if that is already done I ask for a list of plugins in order to try to spot one to ask them try disabling as a test. Recently, a few users reported that clearing browser cache solved the problem for them (which I find baffling 😆). Perhaps I should always note clearing browser cache as a first troubleshooting step? I noticed that a pinned support topic for Gutenberg mentions the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin. Should I be recommending that more often, at the beginning of interactions even?

How would you typically approach troubleshooting issues like these?