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How to Fix Broken WordPress Admin Dashboard?

Is your WordPress dashboard showing an unstyled HTML backend instead of the familiar layout? Don't worry, we have the solution! In this blog post, learn how to fix the issue and get your site running smoothly again. Say goodbye to frustration and hello to a properly functioning WordPress dashboard.
Mohammed Wasim Akram
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Last Updated: March 6, 2023
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Are you tired of logging into your WordPress website and seeing an unstyled HTML backend instead of the familiar dashboard?

It's frustrating when you can't access the plugins or themes you need to keep your site running smoothly. The good news is that you no longer have to settle for this problem.

In this blog post, I'll share with you the possible reasons and their solutions to fix the unstyled HTML backend issue and get your WordPress dashboard looking the way it should.

Here is the screenshot of the actual issue of the unstyled HTML backend of WordPress on our website:

And here is the next screenshot after fixing this broken WordPress dashboard and making the admin area just like any normal website:

Keep reading to find out the solutions that will have your website back up and running in no time.

Possible Reasons for WordPress Broken Dashboard

  • Plugin Conflicts: Some plugins may not be compatible with the current version of WordPress or with each other, causing conflicts and breaking the dashboard display. It is important to keep all plugins updated and check compatibility before installing new ones. In some cases, conflicting plugins may need to be removed or replaced with alternatives.
  • Theme Conflicts: Issues with your WordPress theme such as outdated code, conflicting plugins, or coding errors can also cause the dashboard to display as unstyled HTML. It is important to choose a well-coded and regularly updated theme from a reputable developer to avoid such issues. Additionally, theme conflicts can sometimes be resolved by switching to a default WordPress theme temporarily.
  • SSL/HTTPS Issues: Issues with SSL/HTTPS settings or mixed content can cause the dashboard to display incorrectly. It is important to ensure that your SSL/HTTPS settings are properly configured and that there is no mixed content on your website. This can be checked using online tools or by inspecting the page source.
  • WordPress Core Issues: Core files of WordPress may become corrupted, causing issues with the dashboard display. This can happen due to failed updates or other issues. To fix this, a fresh installation of WordPress may be needed, or specific files may need to be replaced.
  • Server or Hosting Issues: Issues with server or hosting configurations can cause a variety of problems, including a broken dashboard display. It is important to choose a reliable hosting provider and ensure that your server configurations meet WordPress requirements. Additionally, some hosting providers offer specialized WordPress hosting plans that can help avoid such issues.
  • Cache or Browser Issues: Caching plugins or browser caching can cause issues with loading the dashboard styles correctly. It is important to clear browser and plugin caches regularly and disable caching plugins temporarily to troubleshoot such issues.
  • Unsupported PHP Version: Running an outdated PHP version on your server may cause issues with the dashboard display. It is important to keep PHP updated and ensure that your server meets the minimum requirements for the current version of WordPress.
  • Wrong File Permissions: Incorrect file permissions on WordPress core files or plugin/theme files can also cause a broken dashboard display. This can happen due to incorrect ownership or permission settings. It is important to ensure that file permissions are properly set and that ownership is correct.
  • Database Issues: Problems with the WordPress database, such as corrupted tables or failed updates, can lead to a broken dashboard display. It is important to regularly back up the database and use plugins or tools to optimize and repair the database if needed.
  • Script Optimization: Certain script optimization techniques or plugins can cause issues with the dashboard display. It is important to disable or adjust such plugins and techniques temporarily to troubleshoot the issue.
  • PHP Memory Limit: If your website exhausts the available PHP memory limit, it can cause the backend to display as an unstyled HTML page. This can happen if your website has a lot of plugins or if the memory limit is set too low. Increasing the PHP memory limit in the server configuration or using plugins to optimize memory usage can help avoid such issues.
  • Corrupted Files: If one or more WordPress files are corrupted, it can lead to issues with the backend. This can happen due to a failed update, malware, or other issues. To fix this, specific files may need to be replaced or a fresh installation of WordPress may be needed.
  • Malware Issues: If your website is infected with malware, it can cause a range of issues, including problems with the backend. Malware can modify core files, create new files, and cause general instability on your website. It is important to regularly scan your website for malware using specialized tools or plugins and remove any detected threats immediately. Additionally, preventive measures such as using a security plugin or firewall can help avoid such issues.

Possible Solutions to WordPress Broken Dashboard

  • Deactivate All Plugins: This involves temporarily deactivating all plugins on your WordPress site to identify the problematic one causing the issue. Reactivate each plugin one by one to determine which one is causing the problem. This can be done from the WordPress admin panel under the Plugins section.
  • Switch to Default Theme: Switching to the default WordPress theme can help you identify if the issue is with the current theme. If the dashboard displays correctly after switching to the default theme, the issue is with your current theme, and you may need to contact the theme developer for support.
  • Check SSL/HTTPS Settings: Make sure SSL/HTTPS is properly configured and there are no mixed content issues. You can check this by using an SSL checker tool or by examining the source code of your website.
  • Reinstall Fresh WordPress: Reinstalling WordPress will replace any corrupted core files with fresh copies. This can be done by downloading the latest version of WordPress from the official website and uploading the files to your server via FTP.
  • Increase PHP Memory Limit: If your website exhausts the available PHP memory limit, it can cause the backend to display as an unstyled HTML page. Increasing the PHP memory limit can help resolve the issue. This can be done by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file: define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '512M' );
  • Repair WordPress Files: If one or more WordPress files are corrupted, it can lead to issues with the backend. This can be resolved by replacing the corrupted files with fresh copies. You can do this by downloading the latest version of WordPress and uploading the files via FTP.
  • Check File Permissions: Make sure WordPress core files and plugin/theme files have the correct file permissions. This can be done by checking the file permissions using an FTP client or by using a plugin like WP Security Audit Log.
  • Clear All Cache: Clearing the cache of your website and browser can ensure that the dashboard styles are loaded correctly. This can be done by using a caching plugin or by clearing your browser cache.
  • Update PHP Version: Running an outdated PHP version on your server may cause issues with the dashboard display. Updating to the latest version of PHP can ensure compatibility with WordPress and resolve the issue.
  • Optimize Scripts: Certain script optimization techniques or plugins can cause issues with the dashboard display. Disabling or optimizing these plugins can help resolve the issue.
  • Repair the Database: Problems with the WordPress database, such as corrupted tables or failed updates, can lead to a broken dashboard display. This can be resolved by using a plugin like WP-DBManager or repairing the database manually.
  • Remove Malware: Malware can modify core files, create new files, and cause general instability on your website, including issues with the backend. To remove malware, you can use a security plugin or contact a professional security service to scan your website and remove any malicious files.
  • Contact Hosting Provider: If all else fails, it may be necessary to contact the hosting provider to check for server or hosting configuration issues that may be causing the problem. They can help you identify the issue and provide a solution.

The Problem I Faced & The Implemented Solution

The problem was coming due to Failed to Load Resource Error and I tried most of the things to fix my unstyled HTML backend on WordPress for this very Toolonomy website but was unsuccessful until I found a code snippet on an internet forum and added this snippet of code to my wp-config.php file resolved the issue.

I added the following code snippet before the require_once line in wp-config.php:

define( 'CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false );

Here is the step-by-step process on how to add this code snippet to your wp-config.php file using a File Manager or FTP client application:

  1. Log in to your web hosting account and navigate to the file manager or FTP client.
  2. Locate the wp-config.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  3. Download a backup copy of the wp-config.php file to your computer, just in case anything goes wrong during the editing process.
  4. Open the wp-config.php file in a text editor such as Notepad++ or Visual Studio Code.
  5. Add the provided code snippet before the line require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-settings.php');.
  6. Save the changes to the wp-config.php file and upload it back to the server, overwriting the existing file.
  7. Clear the cache of your website and browser to ensure the changes take effect.

This method allows you to modify your wp-config.php file directly without having to access the WordPress dashboard. However, it requires a bit of technical expertise and can be more time-consuming than the first method.

The function of this code snippet is to prevent WordPress from concatenating all script and style files into a single file. This can sometimes cause conflicts with certain plugins or themes, resulting in the unstyled HTML backend issue.

While this solution may fix the issue of the unstyled HTML backend, it can also slow down the loading time of your site as multiple script and style files need to be loaded separately. Therefore, it is crucial to keep debugging properly and keep finding another solution until then using this method.

Adding the code snippet to the wp-config.php file is an effective solution for resolving the unstyled HTML backend issue in WordPress. However, it is important to weigh the potential downsides before implementing this solution.

Conclusion

A broken dashboard display on WordPress can be frustrating, but with the right steps and solutions, it can be fixed. We covered various reasons why the dashboard might display as an unstyled HTML page, including plugin conflicts, theme conflicts, SSL/HTTPS issues, server or hosting issues, and malware.

We also outlined possible solutions, including deactivating plugins, switching to the default theme, repairing files, removing malware, and more.

One possible solution we discussed is adding a code snippet to the wp-config.php file, which can fix the problem by preventing script concatenation. This is a quick and easy solution that can work in some cases, but it may have downsides such as slow loading times for your website.

Ultimately, it's important to properly debug the issue and try different solutions until you find the one that works best for your website. Don't be afraid to seek help from your hosting provider or a professional developer.

What about you? Have you experienced a broken dashboard display on WordPress? What solution worked for you? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

If you found this blog post helpful, please share it with your friends and followers on social media. And if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, feel free to contact us.

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Article Author
Mohammed Wasim Akram
Hello myself Wasim, I’m from the city of Mother Teresa Calcutta (currently Kolkata), which exists in India, a country of unity in diversity.I belong to the sales and marketing field with 10+ years of experience. In December of 2017, I switched my career from a 9 to 5 traditional job to the digital entrepreneurship.Currently, I am a Google and HubSpot certified Digital Marketer, a WordPress Specialist, Web Designer & Strategist and the founder of SyncWin.
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