Is your WordPress theme broken? Learn how to troubleshoot exactly what the problem is in just a few minutes. My clients hire me as a WordPress Consultant to fix their broken blogs, and many of them don’t have the technical ability to do it themselves, or they just don’t want to be bothered with these kinds of things when they could be concentrating on their work.
This post is part of my series Managing WordPress More Effectively.
There are, however, thousands of people, some trying to make money online – and some just ordinary bloggers – who have no budget and are trying to figure things out on their own. This post is for you – if you’re trying to fix your own broken theme. These are actually the exact same steps I take when fixing blogs, in fact this blog had an issue for awhile now where when visitors clicked a search results to come here from google, only the header would load, and no content. Even reloading the page wouldn’t fix it. This only happenned from google or google reader, and all other visits to the site worked fine. Once I deactivate all plugins, and reactivated them one by one I figured out (by process of elimination) that the problem was with the “Psychic Search” plugin I had installed. Once I removed it, all the broken pages were fixed.
The first thing you should know is that WordPress works great out of the box! If you’re current theme is broken, things aren’t displaying properly, pages aren’t fully loading, pages are not found or 404 error, or clicking or certain things breaks stuff – here are the steps you should take to get your theme working again.
- Deactivate all plugins. Reload your your blog page with the problem. Does it work now? Activate all your plugins one by one, reloading your blog page each time – and the one that breaks it is the problem (deactivate and delete it).
- With all plugins still deactivated – activate the “default” WordPress theme. Does it work now? If so – you’ve hacked your theme and broken it. Try downloading a fresh copy (or just switching themes)
- Links to your own blog pages don’t work? Go to “Settings->Permalinks” and just hit “save” to update them again. Do they work now?
- Blank pages, blank WordPress dashboard login – or can’t login: check your wp-config file first and make sure it’s there and has the right connection information. Reupload all the WordPress core files again to see if one was corrupted, and check your theme page again.
- If you’re still having problems, the first thing I would do is to contact your web host and ask if there were any recent upgrades to the server you’re hosted on. Sometimes upgrades to apache or security rules can screw up WordPress sites, and you might not be the only customer affected. If that’s not it, search the WordPress Support Forum – there might be someone with the exact same problem as you, that has already found a solution!
98% of the time when your WordPress theme breaks it’s something simple, and the steps above will get you back in business again. If you’re already in there mucking around with themes and plugins – I would also advise that you read my WordPress Security Guide for DIY info on how to secure and harden your blog. If your WordPress blog has been hacked and you need immediate help, follow that link for information on asking me for assistance.