Just when I thought I had my blog “under control” and motoring along nicely, along came a horrid glitch that I couldn't sort out, and – randomly – my posts were either completely normal or stretched out and with the sidebar appearing at the bottom. NOT a pretty site / sight !
It looked a complete mess and I had no idea how to fix it. It just happened one day. Well of course it didn't “just happen” I did something, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what – because it displayed randomly, so I didn't even notice it for a few days.
Fixing My Theme Problem
Or not…. 🙁
I spent hours looking through the theme settings, installing a completely up-to-date version of the theme and deactivating plugins. Finally I had them all deactivated and the blog was still a mess. So I had to “go quiet” for a little spell, while I figured out what to do next.
June was always going to be a week of very little business progress because of a steady traffic of family visitors, which of course is one of the perks of being self-employed. So I really didn't need a broken blog to consume the few spare hours I had.
- My Dad came to stay for a week.
- As regular readers may remember I have Dog-dog staying with me – he takes up many happy hours of my day for walks and cuddles
- My son, wife and their dog came to visit – (a) for Matt to replace my broken shower (b) so that I can “Bailey-sit” while they have a long overdue night out. Aaadgh – two dogs staying overnight… potential for more chaos if they didn't like each other.
- Laura will be coming to collect Dog-dog later in the week.
- A client popping round to bring me his “books” to be done during June. Some hope! Poor chap ended up on the floor helping me fit a stair-gate to “corale” the dogs when necessary. It's not that I'm totally clueless – there were only 4 fitting points – but I didn't have enough hands to attach it and hold it!
- Plus various friends popping in to meet Dog-dog and offer walking support at the times when I have both dogs. Daren't let either off the lead in case they didn't come back.
Too Many Plugins?
One possibility was too many plugins, and at 38 it probably was time for another prune.
I must confess that having deactivated most of them while trying to fix the problem I'm not completely sure why some of them were there. (They're still deactivated!)
Here's what I've reactivated at the time of writing:
- Akismet and CommentLuv I really missed and had a day or so of spam-fest
- PrettyLink I had to reinstate because I use it for most of my affiliate links
- WordFence I wanted back as soon as possible to secure my site
- Digg Digg Floating Social Bar I put back to help my users share my posts (thanks in anticpation)
- Fancier Author Box
- Table of Contents Plus
- EWWW Image Optimiser
- WordPress SEO and Google Analytics By Yoast
Those above I consider most important to me so I have reactivated them. Will review the others on a case by case basis and see what happens!
But deactivating ALL my plugins wasn't the answer.
Solution to Broken WordPress Theme
When checking settings and deactivating plugins didn't help I emailed the theme developer InkThemes and they helped me and apparently fixed the issue for me.
Sadly it was a temporary fix and the glitch came back. So they did another fix, and the effect still came back. Of course it was appearing randomly, so what seemed like a fix, wasn't.
Finally, they suggested that the problem was to do with caching/style.css and suggested I contact my web host.
I have to give a big thank-you to InkThemes for their support, because this theme was one I received free when I bought something else, so I wasn't completely sure they would give me support.
But they did, and I'm truly grateful – because I like this theme and have spent a lot of time getting my site the way I wanted it!
Top marks for their efforts, because although they didn't fix the fault, they spent time working with me and finally gave me some magic words that pointed to the solution.
I passed the message InkThemes gave me onto my web hosting company, SiteGround.
Why My WordPress Theme Broke
I have to confess I don't really understand what they told me … but I'll pass the info along in case anyone else finds it interesting.
Your style.css is getting renamed continuously / compressed by CDN
which to be completely honest is Double Dutch to me….
I passed the problem they had found onto SiteGround support and literally in less than 10 minutes – honestly – I had a reply from them to say that I wasn't using CDN but the issue could be caused by use of:
Google Pagespeed caching system
I turned that off and – fingers crossed – my site has been fine since then.
Yes – I had been “tweaking”, trying to speed up my blog, I came across something that sounded as if it would – flicked the switch then forgot I'd done it, and so never connected it to the random duff appearance.
Anyway, for the moment I am extremely grateful for the fix and hope the issue is resolved. Thanks to those of my readers who spotted the problem and contacted me to tell me.
Trying to think positive about the whole time-consuming and stressful activity, at least it's given me another post and reinforced a lesson I already knew about online business, which is – buy products that have support built in!
Other than that I'm not exactly sure what the lesson is…. it's starting to feel like “Go back to pen and paper!” However, I expect I'll put it behind me and live to fight another day. I usually do!
Out of interest, over to you….
How Technical Do You Want To Get?
Did you know (or care?) what Google Pagespeed caching system is?
Do you use it, and does it work for you? Do you use it with WordPress?
Would you like access to guru level support as part of your web hosting package?
If the guru support sounds good to you, make sure you get a supported theme and the best web hosting support possible – SiteGround.
Update August 2016: I no longer host my site with SiteGround, but I do remember with pleasure how fast their support was.