I got a call a few days ago from a Search Engine Optimisation agency in Salisbury, who were having a problem with their WordPress website. They had bought a custom theme, DirectoryPress, which enables you to quickly develop a “Listing” website. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line something had gone wrong and the Home page was showing content in the wrong theme, even though all the inner pages seemed to work ok and used the DirectoryPress theme. Proper weird.
Now it’s impossible to be familiar with the quirks of every custom theme, but when things go wrong my first thoughts are always take a look at the Plugins and see if there are any I’m unfamiliar with. And boy were there! Over 50 plugins had been installed. We also had the TwentyTen theme that was partially installed, and there was evidence that the W3 Total Cache plugin had been used at some point. Trashing the caches seemed a good place to start…
We grabbed a copy of the database and all the files from the live server and started to build a test environment on our local development servers. Firstly we reinstalled the default WordPress files, then grabbed the latest version of the theme. The Home page now displayed in the correct theme, but had no content in the main content area. Disabling all the plugins did not resolve the issue, so we ended up reinstalling a default installation and configuration of DirectoryPress,, then copying across the tables that store the Pages, Posts and Category data. Lastly we had to recreate all the precise settings for the blog and the theme.
Not exactly delicate surgery, more like butchery – but it worked and the client is now able to continue to work on the site. The lesson in all this is when using any WordPress theme, be cautious about the plugins you install. Take a database backup before you install any new plugins, and be prepared to rollback to a previous version if things go wrong.
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