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How to Fix a Blank WordPress 3.x Dashboard

Broken WordPress InstallationIf you are one of those people just like I was yesterday, then you are staring at a blank WordPress screen, where your dashboard should be.  That was me yesterday.  There were a lot of tutorials out there about fixing 2.x installations, but they involved manipulating a plug-in database table, which did not exist in my WordPress 3.x installation.

So, here is the picture.  I can’t get into my backend dashboard.  However, I can see the frontend of my website.  With nothing but my 10 years experience in computers, and my wits, I tackled the problem and won…

The Fix

WordPress is a CMS framework, with all extended functionality being provided to your website by plug-ins.  The truth I came to realize is that since I had not modified the core framework at all since the website’s creation, then the fault lies with one of the 3rd party plug-ins that I have installed.

I was right.

To uninstall all of your plug-ins (now I know you might be freaking out, but your plug-in settings will come back) you must rename your plug-ins folder in your WordPress installation directory.  The directory lies at wp-content/plugins directory in your website’s root directory.  I renamed the directory to plugins1 but you can name it whatever you like.  Now refresh your WordPress Dashboard.  If you are having the same problem, you will now be able to login.

The next step is to create a new plugins folder where the old one was, and move the plug-ins folders back in one by one from plugins1 to plugins.  Make sure to refresh your plug-ins administration page after moving a single plug-in back to the folder, and re-activating that plug-in.  This one at a time approach is a little tedious, but eventually you will move a plug-in folder back to the plugins folder, and the screen will not refresh again.  That is the plug-in that is causing the problem, and will have to be updated or removed.

The beauty of the individual plug-in folders that reside in the plugins folder is: they keep their settings stored within the folder.  Therefore, every plug-in you re-add to the plugins folder, and re-activate will remember their previous settings.

I recount this tale in hopes that the process I went through to restore a WordPress installation will save someone (maybe even you) a lot of time and headache in finding the solution to “the blank dashboard”.

About Duncan

Duncan Harmsworth has written 66 post in this blog.

I’m a Web Designer/Social Media Manager/Blog Writer. If it happens on the web, I probably have heard of it.

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2 Responses to How to Fix a Blank WordPress 3.x Dashboard

  • Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Cheers!

    • Thank You. I think a free WordPress blog is a great way to start for aspiring writers, due to the low cost ($0). After you get the popularity you are looking for, then it might be time to move your WordPress to your own hosting.


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