Andrew P Watson

Web Developer

WordPress on PHP 5.3.0, “General Settings” blank screen bug fix.

Mon, 07/11/2011 - 19:58

I recently ran into a frustrating issue when WordPress (2.8.4) started acting bad once the server was updated to the latest php 5.3.0. The main issue is pretty well documented if you search Google, and is not a WordPress code problem rather a php bug. My issue was that my “General Settings” screen stopped loading, and hung with a mostly blank page. This was nothing more than a pain. I’ll wait to update my php for a real fix, rather than rolling back to 5.2.

Here’s what I did to make the problem go away.

Open your /wp-admin/options-general.php file and look for this:

<select id="timezone_string" name="timezone_string">
<?php echo wp_timezone_choice($tzstring); ?>

This “wp_timezone_choice” function is the culprit. Until the actual php bug is fixed, this will continue to fail. You can easily fix it by hard coding your timezone as a selected “option” like this:

<select id="timezone_string" name="timezone_string">
<?php echo //wp_timezone_choice($tzstring); ?>
<option value="America/New_York" selected='selected'>New York</option>

Notice how I commented out the function and added the “selected option”. You can update the value to be what ever timezone you live in. Here is a list:

Hope this helps someone, it made me crazy until I worked out this fix.



Hi, I discovered the problem on my site. At first general settings wasn’t loading. Then when i applied your fix as shown here, I was getting a blank (white) screen. Well to be able to access the general settings page, I removed those 3 lines of code entirely and then it worked, but I don’t have any options to choose a timezone now.

Removed the lines entirely as well… one problem fixed. Thanks both! Several other problems still occur though; wysiwyg editor doesn’t work, automatic upgrades won’t work…

[Thu Sep 01 15:54:27 2011] [error] [client] PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 491520 bytes) in /chroot/home/optimiz1/xn—– on line 254 I am getting wp-admin/options-general.php blank page.I have applied both your trick but it didnt work

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