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WordPress wp_redirect() shows a blank page

Over the last few weeks, I have been working on my first WordPress plugin and I am quickly getting to grips with how it all pieces together but I ran into a problem with a rather basic piece of functionality that pretty much rendered the plugin useless until I figured out the issue.

The section I was working on was a form submission (within the WordPress administration) which saved the form values into the database and then redirected the user upon success to another page (using wp_redirect) but this resulted in a blank content pane.

This seems very strange to me as it showed some of the page contents i.e. the header and left navigation but the content pane was completely blank.

I searched around for a few hours trying various suggestions for similar problems, downloading other WordPress plugins and examining how they used the wp_redirect function to see if the authors of these other WordPress plugins had done anything differently, only to find that there was no difference.

I eventually managed to figure out the issue after I read a post regarding a problem another user was having where they were getting a completely blank screen and another member suggested the problem could be due to whitespace which was sent to the browser before the redirect was called resulting in a “headers already sent” problem.

This got me thinking that I did not have output buffering enabled which was strange as I usually have output buffering enabled to resolve this issue, however, in this case, I did not have output buffering turned on and this turned out to be exactly the problem. I added the following line to my .htaccess file and the redirection now works perfectly.

php_flag output_buffering on

I was glad to get this one resolved as I had to spend far too much time on something that I have resolved time and time again. Certainly one I’ll be aware of should there be a next time!

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