Can you help me with a WordPress site problem?
November 11, 2012 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I need a WordPress guru to help me figure out what happened to my friend's site. When I launched it months ago, it was working fine. Tonight, it is not. And nobody has made any changes.

The site can be found here. If you are seeing the problem, what you should see is the WordPress toolbar at the top, "Edit Page/a>" toward the middle, and "Howdy, david" possibly over at the far right and pushed down to a second line.

Viewing the source tells me that the "Edit Page" link in the toolbar is incorrectly formed, and it is messing up all the other links in the page. If you click on either of the portraits on the home page, it should take you to my friend's acting or clowning resumes, but instead every link just keeps you on the home page.

I tried upgrading from 3.4.1 to 3.4.2 and that did not help. Also, I checked the development site I created on my own personal site when I was building this out, and that dev version is working fine. See?. That site is still running 3.4.1.

Like I said, no one, not me or my friend, has made changes since this site launched. Why would this just happen all of a sudden?
posted by starvingartist to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If your question is where is the error, then it is in a malformed closing of the A link after the words "Edit Page" around line 174:

li id=wp-admin-bar-edit class="" a class="ab-item" tabindex="10" href="" Edit Page/a

(Clearly I don't know how to paste code in MetaFilter.)

Oops. I already see you figured that out. So, how are you getting everyone to see the admin bar, is that a plugin?
posted by phaedon at 9:53 PM on November 11, 2012

No upgraded plugins? I'd remove all plugins and see if it fixes things. If it does, start adding them back until the problem returns.

Could there be some errant caching going on? Seems odd to see the admin bar for a non logged in user.
posted by backwards guitar at 10:00 PM on November 11, 2012

I see the error. I believe you should immediately change to a default theme and disable all plugins.

If the problem is still there, then there is something wrong with your wordpress install. Why? Impossible to say, but something touched core files and broke them. So that's a computer, a person, or a virus/worm that changed those files.

The best course in that case is to back everything up, (wordpress files, theme, plugins, database). You're going to want to install WP clean, and then point the database at the new site (being careful not to wipe it out) and bring things back on line one at a time.
posted by artlung at 10:03 PM on November 11, 2012

Is that a copy you're showing us? Because it's also extremely odd that it's showing non-logged on users the admin bar.

I would get some caching plugin is causing the problem. Or maybe the webhost added a dumb (opposed to smart) caching server recently and that broke things.
posted by sbutler at 10:22 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

The best course in that case is to back everything up, (wordpress files, theme, plugins, database). You're going to want to install WP clean, and then point the database at the new site (being careful not to wipe it out) and bring things back on line one at a time.

Just a note of caution, if you plan on changing directories or servers, you should read up on how to do this because it's actually a little trickier than I personally thought it would be.
posted by phaedon at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would guess this is a plugin which is supposed to add functionality to the edit bar and it's not very well coded (typical example would be a map plugin that adds a button to make a new map to the edit bar). That location in the bar is where plugins typically add their stuff.

I don't see any obvious signs the installation has been hacked, but it's not a bad idea to check. Your install is out of date, and so I would triple-check for hacks. This could be a poorly coded hack that broke the site instead of adding in links to viagra or whatever.

Do you have a plugin to make the admin bar visible all of the time? I'd kill that, it serves no useful purpose that I can imagine and exposes information you'd rather keep private.

Also, I see from chatter on wordpress forums that having a cache plugin installed, if it's not coded well, can lead to the admin view being cached if someone is logged in when the cache is rebuilt. That seems idiotic, but...yeah. Unless the site gets crazy traffic or is on a shitty host, I'd consider skipping caching plugins.
posted by maxwelton at 11:34 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

No plugins were added to the site related to the admin bar. I don't want it to be showing for everybody, just my friend when he's logged in.

One thing I just noticed... the site should be running three plugins: Akismet, jQuery Colorbox, and NextGEN Gallery. On the live site, NextGEN seems to be missing, but on my dev site it is there. I know I installed NextGEN when I launched the site, because I wouldn't have launched it without all my friend's photos. Could the NextGEN plugin have been removed somehow and broken the site?

NextGEN is still running. On the live site is not looking for an update; on my dev site it is. But it's still there.
posted by starvingartist at 4:56 AM on November 12, 2012

You need to start all over again.
Unpublish (save as draft) all posts and pages.
Deactivate NextGen and any other plugins.
Change the default theme to Twenty Ten or Eleven.
It doesn't matter if the live site isn't looking for an update - click on Updates on the Dashboard and press the Re-install now button.

Does the admin bar still appear after that ?
If it does then I'd say delete everything and start again.

If not then begin with activating the them you were using. Admin bar ? Then it's the theme.
If not - go to the page and publish again. Admin bar ?
If not - activate plugins... admin bar... and so on...
posted by Webbster at 7:52 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everyone. I'll post an update if I figure it out.
posted by starvingartist at 8:31 AM on November 12, 2012

And it's fixed! I followed the steps Webbster gave me and the site is now working properly. I still think it was something wrong with the WordPress backend files, but whatever it was, it's resolved. Thanks, everyone!
posted by starvingartist at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2012

Great news.
posted by Webbster at 9:00 AM on November 13, 2012

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