Fix Magento Cart/Checkout Blank Page with Compilation Enabled

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We’ve recently encountered an issue where in the Magento Community Edition v1.6.x branch, when compilation is enabled it can cause a blank page (also known as “White Screen of Death – WSOD”), in the cart and checkout sections of the Magento frontend.

It’s not the easiest problem to resolve, as it gives no errors, no logs or possible hints as to what’s causing the problem. But alas, we’ve found the solution/work around!

This is caused by having “Persistent Shopping Cart” enabled in your admin panel, if this is disabled then you won’t encounter this frustrating problem with Magento Compilation enabled.

To change this option, login to your Magento Admin Panel and go to:
System > Configuration > Persistent Shopping Cart > General Options > Enable Persistence (set this to disabled)


Hopefully this issue will be resolved in the Magento v1.7.x branch. Until then you’ll be unable to use compilation and persistent shopping cart together.

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  • Jed

    Dollars gained through cart persistence probably pay you to leave the compiler off. 1.5 and 1.6 have been optimized such that people running A/B tests find compiler performance underwhelming as a speedup. Don’t go cargo cult without testing if it really does what you think it does.

  • Markus

    I tried it with Version and even after deactivating the persistant cart (and recompilation) the problem with the white page is still there. Is there another known issue with the compiler?

  • Al

    Two years later, this post saved me a headache. Just made a customer site 3x faster but this problem began to appear. We were about to remove all of our hard work, but luckily we found this page!