Support » Fixing WordPress » Site down? Must install WordPress Again?

  • Your site was working great last night. Everything was great and you’ve done nothing. This morning, your site is down and/or you get a note that says you must run WordPress install.php again.

    With the recent viral worm hitting the net, I’m hearing from some people that their site host is now taking new security measures, often requiring a new password. This is great but it has some complications.

    Access the control panel of your site and you might be met with a new password required login screen.

    1. The password must now include a non-word character. This means $%&*()#@! type words so the password would be something like ab4cd#f.

    2. You may have more than one password. You have the password for your server site and another for your database. Both of these may need to be changed. If you cannot easily change you database password, contact your host

    3. You may need to change the wp-config.php in your WordPress root directory to the new password.

    4. If you use FTP or other site access software, make sure you change the passwords there, too.

    5. If you do the SMART THING and keep a record in writing of all your passwords, make sure you also update those.

    As soon as you get back online, test your site thoroughly to make sure all parts and pieces are working and backup your entire site.

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  • Another method that might help others in the future, since I personally am dealing with this issue, is to make a backup copy of an index.php file in your root directory – NOT THE THEME. Rename your root directory WordPress index.php to something like indexstillgood.php and upload the new version. This will great a “welcome” to your site, with the “look” or Theme of the site still present, and include a note explaining why your site is temporarily down.

    1. Copy all the code from the following templates and paste them into a text editor file in the following order:
    * header.php
    * index.php
    * footer.php

    2. Carefully go through every line in the code and replace the WordPress and PHP code with specifics or delete it, leaving only the CSS and XHTML structure.

    For example, in the <title> change it from:

    <title><?php bloginfo('name'); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>


    <title>This is my Site Name</title>

    In the style sheet reference, you will need to change it to a fixed address rather than a template tag:

    @import url('/wp-content/themes/mytheme/style.css');

    Keep going, removing RSS and FEEDs that are template tags and everything that is a template tag.

    In the Loop, carefully remove all the loop leaving just the CSS and XHTML. Inside of the entry or whatever your “post content” section is, change the heading to something like:

    <h2>Site Down Temporarily</h2>

    And change the content to something like this:

    <p>We apologize for the inconvenience, but our site is down temporarily for repairs.</p>

    Continue down through the footer, removing all template tags and PHP and plugin tags. Strip it down to the essentials.

    3. After double checking you have renamed the index.php in your ROOT directory (not your theme – leave that alone!!!!), save the file to the root directory of WordPress.

    Test it and if it works, then great. If it doesn’t, dig in and find out what tag or part is messed up.

    You can use this backup index.php any time your site goes down or has problems, if you can get access to the site. When the site is fixed, then rename it indexbork.php or something like that and rename the original back to index.php and you are back in business.

    If you have problems in the future, two quick file renames and you have a note that says “hey, we’re down for a bit” and people will see more than “run install.php” or “Database Error” until things are fixed.

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