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IE6 occasionally displays blank page

Can anyone explain this?

     
11:46 am on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When navigating through a new website I've designed, IE6 occasionally displays a blank page. The URL for the page is showing correct in the address bar, however the source code is empty. The behaviour is completely random and can affect any page on the site. It's very hard to troubleshoot because sometimes it doesn't happen for some time and then just when you think you've cured it. It happens again!

I'm using PHP on Apache and have many sites operating on the same server without problem. It just seems to affect this one site.

I've checked that zlib output compression is off because I've heard that there is a bug in ie6 which can cause this issue if http compression is used, so obviously that isn't it.

I've also experimented with adding various headers like..
header('Cache-Control:private') and header('Cache-Control:no-cache') in case there was some sort of caching problem going on.

The site uses global variables throughout and I've tried register globals both on and off.

What's wierd is that it just affects this one site and I can't work out why it's different to any other site I've designed which runs on this server.

It definitely only affects happens with internet explorer and I've tried it on a friends computer with ie6 and the same problem occurs.

Any theories anyone?

9:25 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jab_creations is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Make a copy of your site's directory and rename it to IE6. Then start removing chunks of your code while refreshing IE. Eventually you'll remove what's causing the problem assuming it's your site and not something else.

- John

7:07 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that. I will try it if all else fails.

Actually, I've just noticed that my PHP script was outputting a line break before the <!DOCTYPE on every page of the site. I've removed it and so far it hasn't happened again, so I'm hoping that's the answer.

Does that sound a likely cause?

7:52 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No - you would still see the doctype in "view source." However I've had troubles, even with simple perl scripts, in this respect. No error, no indication, just a blank page. Often this can in some way be traced back to some programming thing that is causing IE to time out on the scripts, OR some server process that is just dying and not returning an error as it should.

First - have you ever, ever experienced this in any other browser? Sometimes it will blank-page in IE, but show an error of some sort in FF.

If you can repeat the issue, it may be simpler to take the blanking-script and begin cutting out portions of it until you eliminate the bad chunk. I've had scripts die that were just fine in themselves, but were using server resources that for whatever reason were choking. Mail is a good example, on a windows server (let's not go there . . . )

2:16 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just had the error in Firefox, except that instead of a blank page it displayed header information and source code. It's frustrating, because you can click around for an hour and everthing works and then suddenly you get the problem. So if I try to tackle the problem by eliminating code it could take months.

[edited by: tedster at 4:55 pm (utc) on May 21, 2007]

7:43 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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instead of a blank page it displayed header information and source code.

Think on this one. So you're saying it failed to execute and displayed the source of your PHP to the window, is this correct?

This could be as simple as some error in your code causing the entire script to output on a print command, or something malfunctioning in the php machine on the server. Unless you can duplicate it reliably, yeah it could take days, but your other option is to ignore it and do nothing. :-)

9:02 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, I meant html source code is displayed
 

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