I'm working on a live website, updated a plugin and got the dreaded White Screen of Death. I know exactly how to resolve the problem; simply deactivate or delete the plugin I upgraded.

The problem is I cant access the WordPress Dashboard to deactivate or delete the plugin. The WSD occurs in /wp-admin aswell. To make things worse the owner doesn't know their web server login credentials so I cannot just FTP or CPanel in and delete the plugin that way.

Is there a way you know of to overcome the WSD that doesn't require web server access?

  • Tell your client to contact the host, or just use the forgot your password option at the hosts login. Then from there you can get or set an sftp user and once your on the server disable the plug-in how you said. It’s not your fault a plug-in update killed their site if they didn’t give you any way to create a dev site and test the update first. Feb 12, 2022 at 2:06
  • 1
    As an aside, I would prioritise regaining CPanel/FTP access, even if you resolve this situation without it. Unless the client can regain access they should know that your ability to work as a developer is blocked and you're unable to work, WSOD or no WSOD.
    – Tom J Nowell
    Feb 12, 2022 at 2:06
  • This isn't intended as an "I told you so"...whenever I'm working on a new environment I make sure I have all credentials before I start. Then backup, then start working. There are never enough backups. If you do get access, let me know. If I can help I'll do what I can to get the site running again as fast as possible.
    – rudtek
    Feb 12, 2022 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


No, without access to WP Admin you would need to rename the folder, but as you have no access to the filesystem this option is not feasible either.

The only remaining option is to connect to the database directly, assuming you know the login details from wp-config.php and the database is configured to allow this. If you do not know the details or the database is configured to not allow this then this option is not available to you. If it is though, then you can delete the activated plugins options in the options table.

Otherwise, you will need to speak with your host to regain access, no technical avenues exist to recover your site unless you can put PHP files up or modify the filesystem in some way.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer, this is what I expected but was hoping for some sort of hail mary. Always happens when a friend asks me to help out on their damn website and ofcourse they never know their bloody login credentials! I should of said no but they asked me before I'd had my morning coffee and was not thinking properly.
    – sazr
    Feb 12, 2022 at 2:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.