Solve problems after WordPress theme update

Problems often arise after a theme update. This article helps to solve these problems - More info in the WordPress Tutorial from

A little facelift from time to time - that's good for every blog. Because even websites are subject to trends. What looked modern three years ago can seem dusty today. Quite apart from technical innovations that otherwise escape you and possible security risks that can arise from outdated technology. As a rule, theme updates are no big deal - at least when you have finally picked your desired new theme from the multitude of layouts.

They are installed with just a few clicks and are usually quickly customized. But sometimes there is a sudden and unexpected bang: The update led to a crash, nothing works anymore. In this article we show you the most important first aid measures in such emergencies.

After the crash: First of all keep calm

When it comes to crashes, I'm a burned child. In fact, it has happened to me several times that a blog ended up in a different orbit after an update and was at least temporarily unavailable to me. Accordingly, I am not relaxed when I click on an "Update" button. The situation is similar when I click on "Activate theme". The problem, as bad as it may look at first glance, can usually be solved comparatively easily - you just have to know how.

If you clicked on "Activate Theme" and get a message about a "Fatal Error" instead of the new design, a crash is very likely. Your blog including dashboard is no longer available. First reaction: hectic clicking around, opening, closing. Then swearing. Sometimes everything at the same time. Unfortunately that doesn't make it better, but often even worse.

If you manage it somehow: Keep your fingers still for now. Take a deep breath, come down and start the emergency program.

Everything back to start: Emergency brake via FTP access

To fix the error and "repair" your blog, you need to access the corresponding data of your blog via FTP and reset it to zero with regard to the blog design.

  • Log in to your personal account at your webhoster
  • After logging in you can access the "Webhosting" area in the customer area. Here you go to "Security" (a little further down the page) and click on FTP accesses
  • Log in to the corresponding FTP access (if you have more than one). Additionally you need an FTP program like Filezilla or Cyberduck (only for Mac users), which you can download for free.
  • Then go to the folder "wp-content" and "themes". There you can delete the currently installed theme.

Did you make it? Then you should have access to your blog again and be able to reactivate your old layout. Usually such a layout crash leaves no traces on the data of your blog, everything should look normal again.

If the emergency brake doesn't work: Help in other ways

A blog is now so easy to install and run that you definitely don't have to be a technical genius to do it. The downside of this comfortable state is that if something goes wrong, a technology layman is up to no good. If you don't have to deal with your FTP access and the corresponding programs for the first time until the crisis strikes, you'll only be able to use them to a limited extent. So here are two alternatives to self-help:

  • The direct line to your web host: No, the support is not actually there to carry out repair work on customer blogs. But if you can't get any further by yourself, a support request can be the way out - especially if it's a small thing like in this case. To make it as fast as possible, keep your customer data ready and try to follow every step yourself.
  • Help from the WordPress forum : The WordPress forum isn't necessarily the place where average bloggers are constantly romping about - but in emergencies it's a good address. Either you search for your own way through the different threads or you ask directly. With a little luck you will be helped quickly.

So that it doesn't pop again: What led to the crash?

Good question. Unfortunately it is not always easy to answer, because such a crash can have very different triggers. Possible reasons:

  • The WordPress version you are using is not compatible with the theme. Either your WP version is outdated or the theme is no longer up to date. Especially with free themes, it can happen that they are no longer maintained by the developer at some point - so when searching for a new theme, always pay attention to when the last revision was made.
  • The new theme and certain plugins got in each other's way. Plugins are a great thing, but they can have unexpected effects on the blog's functionality. It is best to limit yourself to the really important plugins - this also reduces the risk of crashes.
  • The theme is flawed. Just like cars, clothes or computers, there are always models in blog themes that have bigger flaws and simply don't work properly. Check in advance if there are any ratings or warnings from other users. And: It's worth taking some money into your hands for a new blog theme - with premium themes you're not always on the safe side, but very often.

These are the most important tips in the event of a layout crash. Should you ever be affected, always remember: stay calm, keep your nerve, breathe deeply, drink tea - and then get to work. Such a crash may be annoying and cost unnecessary time, but it is not the end of the world.

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