We've just set up a new server with the identical set up of a previous server, with one small difference: php 5.4 instead of php 5.3.

This is an EE install, version 2.6.1.

When I go to the site I get the white screen of death, and debug = 1 doesn't give me anything of use.

I tried digging through the execution path, adding an echo('test') and a die() after every line and the first thing that causes an issue is in system/codeigniter/system/CodeIgniter.php on line 88:

get_config(array('subclass_prefix' => $assign_to_config['subclass_prefix']));

If I comment this out, the next hiccup is at line 106:

$BM =& load_class('Benchmark', 'core');

From my research, it appears that even 2.6.1 should be fine on php 5.4, so does anyone have any ideas on a) how to fix it without downgrading to 5.3 and b) how to debug it properly to find out what might be causing the issue?


  • 2
    To get the PHP errors to show, try removing the conditionals around the error reporting code in the main index.php and the CP index.php files all together.
    – Anna_MediaGirl
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 17:02
  • 2
    Try to set $config['send_headers'] = 'n';.
    – Sobral
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 18:39
  • 3
    Try $config['allow_extensions'] = 'n'; as a first step. Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:06
  • Urgh. It was a simple solution (Focuslab config environment issue) but I'm baffled why I couldn't get the normal error message to show up. Thanks for everyone's help, should I delete this ticket?
    – Rob Hodges
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 16:52
  • @RobHodges, nothing changed. Most of the times I saw this white screen was on Chrome, but not on Firefox. So I figured it's a browser issue, not a server one. Sometimes the error occurs after the headers be sent and the browser get crazy, so you can't see the error report. My suggestion was intended just to help you see the report. If possible, edit your question to focus on the white screen and post this answer. This way, we can help others.
    – Sobral
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


The white screen of death is often caused by this:

Sometimes EE is set to output content as Gzip data. When a PHP error occurs, the PHP error spits out first, and but the browser is expecting content that it can un-zip. So you get a white screen of death.

Disable the Gzip preference, and the content will be served with a different mime-type, and then you'll get the error message displaying properly above a page of regular HTML, because the browser interprets the data correctly.

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