Support » Fixing WordPress » Crashed! Help Me!

  • Hello,

    We are not 100% sure that we were using version 3.2.1, when it crashed. That is what we are using now though.

    A month ago, we were in the back end, changing html code for a different color on a button. Something happened that caused the home page theme to be dropped. So the site loaded to our blog page and some other links visible.

    We then uploaded the theme and it crashed. The site went to white. And we couldn’t even log in to wordpress.

    Does anybody know what may have happened?

    Also, we had our site hosted through an independent “friend of a friend”. He told us that what we did corrupted the archive data. So he couldn’t simply install the site from the last save. He is using this claim to charge us to rebuild the site. Does this sound right? Or is he scamming us?

    Much appreciation for any wisdom on this. Thanks.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Moderator cubecolour


    If you were using the editor and (for example) missed out a semicolon at the end of a line of php, that would be enough to give the dreaded white screen of death.

    The way to fix it is to recall which file you changed before it went down and connect to the site by ftp and either download the file, fix it in a text editor and upload the new version, or if you can;t find the error in the file, replace the file with the last know good one you have. If you are in the habit of ensuring you have a recent backup before changing things, this will be easy. If not you will probably develop that habit before too long.

    Thanks. We, my wife and I, are not experts. In fact, at the time of the crash, we were novices. This “friend of a friend” reluctantly let us manage the home page because he didn’t want to work on the site for free.

    He designed the theme. And he hosted the site. He claimed, once this happened that we permanently ruined the theme, crashed the site to the point that he needed money to hire someone to get back into the site, and that our action “corrupted” the archive data, so he couldn’t simply upload a previous version of the site.

    Does any of this make any sense? Or is he lying, trying to get more money out of us? What do you think?

    Moderator cubecolour


    If you’re asking someone who to work for free fixing something you broke, his reluctance to help is probably not unreasonable. Would you expect a garage mechanic to fix your car for free if you damaged something they fitted?

    It is unlikely that the database is corrupt, although that is based on my own experiences and I have no way of knowing what state yours is in. Even if it was corrupt there should be a backup of the database as well as the files – even if they aren’t recent. It would be daft to have a backup of one but not the other.

    Perhaps this person does not have the skills to fix it himself or properly diagnose what is wrong, ie perhaps his interest is as a designer and he pays someone else to do all any coding or server administration? Or maybe he has not looked at it as it isn’t worth looking into as he believes there is no money in it and he has paying customers to serve.

    Sorry, I should have been more clear. In fact, I’m rethinking the title of my thread. It sounds like I’m somebody that wants something for free perhaps, instead of someone that is feeling cheated.

    He is a professional wordpress web designer. We paid him thousands of dollars to design the site of 10 pages. He then charged us $15 a month to host the site. We have since learned more about wordpress and have designed our own, using a standard template.

    He told us that he would make slight alterations for free to the site for a year, a verbal agreement. We had access to add or change pages, except for the home page. We asked him to make these specific changes to the home page(changing the color of some buttons along with making it have 2 columns instead of 3). He told us that he would have to charge us to do that.

    We felt that it was a minor change. But he didn’t want to make the changes. So, with some struggle, he gave us the permissions to do it ourselves. Of course, being novices, we made that coding mistake.

    I was trying to avoid a long back story for ya. But it seems important to communicate that, yes, this was a paid gig for him. He makes his living doing this.

    Thank you very much for discussing this with me.

    Just to avoid confusion, we paid $2,500 for the 10 page site. The amount of money is not the issue. We have since found out that we could have had all of this done cheaper. Even GoDaddy only charges $9 a month for hosting. Hindsight is 20/20. Again, this was a “friend of a friend”. We thought we were “keeping it local” so to speak, helping him out frankly.

    We simply want to understand our current situation. And, yes, we are investigating whether or not we need to take him to small claims court.

    The crux of the issue, as we see it, is this: did he lie to us by telling us that what we did in the back end “corrupted the archive data”?

    Our belief is that he’s lying to make more money from us. But I want to give him as much benefit of doubt as possible.

    Again, thanks.

    Do have way go in code to make changes if so what file were you working on as if you only made change on one file that will not corrupt whole website all you need to do replace that file from fresh download or theme and your wordpress should be back.

    I do not understand what he means by “corrupted the archive data”

    Moderator cubecolour


    The costs you outlined are not high for professional work.

    Hosting varies in price and quality. Cheaper hosting is often less reliable and has more quirks than more expensive hosting, so more expensive hosting may just be better, also maybe extra features are included. Also if there is a markup, would you consider your local supermarket to be ripping you off because they sell you a loaf of bread for more than they pay for it?

    A verbal agreement is not worth the paper its written on and sometimes there’s a misunderstanding where the client’s expectation of what constitutes a minor change or an update is way off what a designer would consider it to be.

    There is no way of knowing what state your database is in. Maybe he’s telling the truth – I don’t know. I’ve never personally experienced database corruption after getting a white screen of death due to cowboy coding a live site, but I don’t know what else may have happened to your site, so I wouldn’t want to comment either way.

    This isn’t a WordPress support issue, but rather it sounds like a communication issue between you and the designer. If you’ve been trying to sort this out over email or telephone with him, perhaps you should offer to buy him a cup of coffee and have a face to face chat to discuss how this can be settled in a friendly way and how you can manage expectations a bit better. Most people aren’t out to rip you off, but if you expect them to do their job for free they may feel like you are trying to rip them off.

    govpatel, thanks. I don’t understand what he means by that either.

    cubecolour, I’m feeling insulted by you. You seem to assume the best in this unknown web designer and assume the worst in me.

    The money isn’t the issue. We would gladly pay for something, if it is warranted. We have. and, in my opinion, we have paid handsomely for it. This is a small business website with text and pics only pages, numbering 10 pages total. We don’t need too fancy of hosting. GoDaddy, again, is $9, for a basic deal. We are being charged $15. And with that $15, what do we get? A corrupted archive from messing up code on a theme? So now, he wants us to pay him to rebuild the site.

    Not all car mechanics are good and honest. That’s been proven time and time again. Web designers are special knowledge types like car mechanics. So, you’re going to defend this guy, who you don’t even know, before just simply giving me the benefit of the doubt that I am trying, earnestly, to understand my situation.

    This is a free wordpress forum. I imagine that perhaps you get more than your share of people coming on here trying to get something for nothing. Well, guess what? It’s a free forum! You’re a moderator. If giving your knowledge away for free offends you, then don’t do it. Certainly don’t moderate it!

    And this is a technical question. Don’t tell me to go have coffee with the guy.

    You answered my question, condescendingly, with “I’ve never personally experienced database corruption after getting a white screen of death due to cowboy coding a live site, but I don’t know what else may have happened to your site, so I wouldn’t want to comment either way.”

    Cowboy?!? Get real DUDE!

    Looking at it, by “cowboy coding”, I think you mean “coding while the site is live”.

    But you’re still condescending. I understand the need to make a profit, without your bread analogy.

    Moderator cubecolour


    sorry I didnt give you the answer you wanted. it was not my intention to come across as condescending or insulting and i am sorry you feel that way. If my motives are being questioned, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered trying to help.

    cowboy coding does mean working on a live server –

    cubecolour, as a former moderator on a help forum, I appreciate the work you do. The fact that I am spending time to give you feedback on your style of commentary should be perceived as a form of caring on my part. I could just log out and go elsewhere.

    It is not your motives I am questioning, it is your perception. I feel that your motives here, for the most part, are to provide assistance.

    Again, you put all of this back on me. “sorry I didnt give you the answer you wanted.” – this isn’t about giving me an answer I want. In my last post, I stated that you did. You don’t even read what I write about and comment on that. You read what you want to read.

    I am obviously reaching out, right now, because I feel like I’m possibly being bilked for money. That issue comes down to a technical mishap and the consequences from it. I appreciate that you do not want to say something either way on it. That’s understandable. You don’t know the specifics.

    But please understand my side of this, as a customer of a web designer. I have just lost a 5 month old, $2,500 website. I want to know why. I want to know if he was a professional, why he wouldn’t have had a back up file. I want to know why he claims that our cowboy coding(the only option he gave us, btw)caused the archive data to be corrupted. Hence, we now must pay for the site to be rebuilt.

    My 2 cent psychological opinion is that you feel undervalued in your work. And you, ever-so-slightly, let that color your perception of posts like this.


    Moderator cubecolour


    I’m afraid your opinion on how I feel is not worth the 2-cent value you placed on it. This isn’t about me and how I feel has not clouded how I have posted. I have tried to help you realise that there *could* be another side to your episode, but you didn’t get the confirmation you were looking for and accused me of being condescending. I have not said that I am on one side or the other and have tried to illustrate how when disagreements arise that there are usually two sides to the story.

    It is not possible to ascertain what is actually wrong with your site from a technical point of view without sight of it and attempting a repair. Because of that, in my opinion your best remedy is likely to be to speak to the developer and try to reach some agreement. Tell him you suspect he is overstating that the database is corrupt if you think it will help. Alternatively post a job on for another developer to look at it and try to fix it. You will need to provide them ftp access details and access to the database via phpMyAdmin or similar. If you don’t have these and you have burnt your bridges with the original developer I cannot suggest any further options.

    Unfortunately the question of whether a developer is responsible for taking backups depends on what was agreed in writing before a project was started. This forum is probably not the appropriate place for that discussion.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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