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How to Fix a WordPress Site that is Totally Screwed Up!

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Part 1 – When Should You Use this Process?

Good morning everybody and welcome to this special presentation of How to Fix a WordPress Site that is Totally Screwed Up! There are times when WordPress site can get so badly mangled and you can spend so much time trying to figure out what’s wrong and so much mental energy and stress and effort that it eliminates your ability to use polite speech.

I think that our Member Peter has exactly that kind of a problem with this site and so I just don’t think there’s any word for it except it just feels like WordPress sitting out there giving you the finger. Plus I love this little cartoon I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use it. Okay, How to Fix a Screwed Up WordPress Website.

The Type of Problems we Not Talking About

Now, the first thing I want to say about this is that this is actually for relatively serious problems, right? If your font isn’t as big as you want it to be or if you can’t get Thesis to save your color or if your sidebar somehow stuck down below your content, well, these are not the kinds of issues we’re talking about.

They may seem frustrating but those are trivial problems and you don’t need to nuke the site in order to solve those problems. For those you just have to figure out what the operator error is and work your way through learning what you did wrong or learning why something isn’t working.

And I know that there are lots of problems. I’ve seen people say, I can’t figure out how to change my heading fonts so I just decided to leave the site and start all over again. It’s probably better when you have problems like that just to actually learn how to do the whatever it is right and how to problem solve errors that you’re making when you are customizing your site or trying to build your site.

The Type of Problems that we are Talking About

That’s not what this is seminar is for. This is for situations where you have fundamental failure in some aspect of the site. I’ve been through the process we’re going to talk about today many, many, many times but I’ve only had to go the nuclear option 3 or 4 times in the last several years.

The kinds of problems that I’ve had to do this with are things like permalinks not working properly so you can’t get the permalink, the site always crashes if you switch to pretty permalinks or the javascript in the admin site is so thoroughly screwed up that nothing seems to work properly or you get a fatal error everytime you try to restore a previous version of a post.

Issues on the Site we’re Working On

Things like that are sort of fundamental workability problems that require a relatively extreme effort to resolve and that’s the kind of problem that we’re talking about here on xceedhealth.com. Let’s just going to the site. When you get there, you get this 500 server error and you can’t actually see the site. The owner, Peter, has been through all of the normal kind of errors.

Actually, I haven’t seen this error yet that’s now showing up, I’ve usually been getting a 500 error. That’s really interesting. So what really happens here on this site is that all kinds of different errors are happening and have happened. The error message that was showing this morning is completely different than the error message we see right here. There are all kinds of things that can be causing this kind of problem and this is especially the case if you aren’t doing your own custom programming.

Now, I do my own custom programming, obviously, and I make this kind of error happen all the time in the course of my programming. It’s a problem with syntax or something like that but if you’re not messing around with your own code, the only way you’re going to cause this kind of an error is if something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work.

Typical Errors I See

This kind of error can often be overcome simply by fixing a problem. For example, somebody this morning mentioned that they’re getting an error like this when they uploaded a new version of Agility. Well, they uploaded a new version of Agility where they had changed the name of the zip file when they uploaded it. But the program Thesis and Agility are both looking for a folder called byob-nude-agility and since they changed the name of it, that folder doesn’t exists and things begin to fail.

Well, that kind of a problem can be solved simply by going into the site via FTP and fixing the name of the folder so that it just reads byob-agility-nude and I’ve seen this kind of problem often in Thesis. There are a couple of reasons. One of them is that people often download a box, a package or a skin more than once. It used to be that when you did that the browser would ask you or the operating system would tell you it already existed and ask if you want to replace it.

Now they don’t do that, they just rename the file for you and add a number after that and Thesis files just don’t work that way. You can’t rename a Thesis zip file and upload it and expect it to work but errors that may look like this can be easily resolved, however, this is not one of those errors.

This is a significant problem that we’re going to have to work our way through and has shown up in the course of this in many different ways. I’m going to bring your attention to the forum post that started this whole thing. Click here to go to the forum post. But this is sort of a description of the problems where it started. It starts with having the difficulty getting the image size from the Media Library and then images just don’t show up anymore and then problems just keep on steamrolling on the site. So, as I said, this method is not for small problems.

Next I’m going to identify where these major problems can occur on a WordPress website.

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