The white-text-and-missing-buttons error in WordPress is one of these errors that you can run into both as a beginner and established site owner. It is usually caused by conflicting scripts, cache issues or corrupted WordPress files. There is no way to prevent the error from occurring but there is a quick fix to it, varying depending on the cause.
Cause 1: Corrupted TinyMCE
TinyMCE is a web editing plugin, which is adpoted by WordPress as their default text editor. This means in practice that every time you edit a page or post in WordPress, you are using TinyMCE. It has both a basic and advanced version. It is the basic version that comes with every install.
As this is what powers text editing in WordPress, corrupted TinyMCE files are one of the very common causes of the white-text-and-missing-buttons error.
To fix it, some suggest that you get the premium version of the plugin, which is though an unnecessary overkill. Instead, fix the files that have been corrupted. To do that, you have to follow these steps:
- Download a fresh WordPress installation package
- Unzip it and locate the tinymce folder
- Access the server via FTP or File Manager
- Navigate to public_html->wp-includes
- Choose the tinymce folder from the computer and drag and drop it onto the wp-includes directory on the server
- Wait for the transfer to complete successfully.
Now, you can go to your site again, clear the browser cache to avoid seeing a cached version of your site, and check, whether the error is gone. If yes, great! If not, continue reading to see, how the other causes of the white-text-and-missing-buttons error can be identified and fixed.
Tip: Optionally, you can refresh the whole WordPress installation, following the instructions for manual update. This is recommended because one error rarely comes alone. One corrupted file in WordPress might mean that the last update or installation went wrong. There is therefore no guarantee that there aren’t other errors on your site, maybe latent ones or such that are not visible to you as a user.
Cause 2: Caching and Optimization
Caching and optimizing is a great way to make websites load faster. Quite often though, they causes errors due to:
- Incorrect handling of scripts in the process of optimizing them
- Caching scripts that shouldn’t be cached in order for diverse functions to work (such as delivering only current script versions, managing stock of web shops, user privileges or displaying dynamic content).
- Using outdated versions of scripts due to incorrect caching rules
Many optimization plugins attempt to minify or combine scripts in order to make them load faster. For the most of the time, this works fine. However, minifying and/or combining some scripts causes errors, one of them being the white-text-and-missing-buttons-error in WordPress.
Likewise, caching plugins can implement caching rules, conflicting with the way scripts are supposed to work. This can cause many different errors, the white-text-and-missing-buttons error once again being one of them.
To test, whether an optimization or caching plugin is causing the issue, try disabling all such plugins that you are currently using. Then, clear the browser cache (if using CDN, clear also its cache or disable the CDN while troubleshooting) and check, whether the error is still there.
If it’s there, continue directly to Cause 3.
If not, try re-activating the plugins one-by-one, until you figure out, which plugin causes the issue (the error should reappear, when you activate the plugin causing it). Once you locate it, check its settings for anything that isn’t as it’s supposed to be.
In many cases, specific theme and/or plugin scripts must be excluded from optimization and/or caching to prevent errors. If they aren’t excluded, that can cause many different errors, depending on what the script controls.
To find out, whether it’s the theme or a plugin that you should take a closer look at, disable all plugins (besides the optimization/caching plugin) and start enabling them one-by-one until the error reappears. Once the error reappears, you can be almost certain that you have found the problem (sometimes it’s the combination of plugin/theme scripts that causes the issue though, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause).
After pinpointing the theme/plugin with the problematic script, you can try to find information about any scripts that should be excluded from optimization on the theme/plugin’s site. If you can’t find it there, contact their support for guidance.
As long as the optimization/caching plugin you use allows for exclusion of scripts, add the scripts that the theme/plugin author told you to exclude to the respective fields. If it doesn’t, consider to switch to one that does.
When done, check whether this fixed the white-text-and-missing-buttons error. If yes, that’s great. If not, keep reading.
Please note that plugin incompatibility can also be the cause of this error among others. To check, whether this is the issue, follow the instructions on identifying and fixing plugin incompatibility errors.
Cause 3: Script Conflicts
Plugins and themes use scripts that sometimes can cause errors on some or all admin pages, the white-text-and-missing-buttons error in WordPress among them. The most common reasons for such errors are:
- Concatenation of scripts. WordPress optimizes processes in the backend by combining multiple scripts to enable quicker execution. While this is a great thing, it always results in errors, if one of the combined scripts conflicts with another one or contains a bug.
- Plugin scripts loading on other plugins’ admin pages. Plugins and themes usually avoid loading scripts on other plugins’ admin pages, as it isn’t necessary and can cause issues. Sometimes, however, it happens – either due to an error or due to the fact that a plugin or theme is designed to work throughout all pages.
The two causes of script conflicts are quite different and need therefore to be handled in a different way.
To fix any issues caused by combining of scripts, you should instruct WordPress to not combine (concatenate) scripts, which will effectively resolve the white-text-and-missing-buttons error. Here’s how you can do that:
- Access the server via File manager or FTP
- Navigate to public_html and locate the loose file wp-config.php (make sure to not choose wp-config-sample.php!)
- Download the file
- Open wp-config.php in a plain text editor
- Add the following line in the beginning of the file, right after the opening <?php tag:
Save the file and upload it back to the server, into the same directory you downloaded it from. That’s it. The white-text-and-missing-buttons errors should be resolved now.
To fix the issue caused by conflicting plugin scripts, you should do one of the following things:
- Contact the plugin/theme developer and ask them to change the scripts’ behavior.
- Remove the problematic plugin
You can figure out, which plugin causes troubles by inspecting your admin pages with the Developer tools->Console, found both in Chrome and IE11.