HELP! Fatal error! I can’t access my site!

First of all, take a deep breath. This is very fixable.

I am all too familiar with the panic that occurs when you add a new code to your site only to see it has caused an error and you cannot access your site to delete the code you just added. When I first started making WordPress themes, I got many fatal errors that made my heart stop and made me hyperventilate. I still do get fatal errors, but they don’t give me panic attacks anymore because now I know how to fix them! These errors can be really scary and frustrating, especially because you are not able to access your dashboard to delete the code you just added and fix the problem.

It’s even more frustrating to try to find help on the internet and read forums where people tell you what to do, but not how to do it. Most people will say “Login via FTP and fix it there.” Well, what is FTP? How do you login? Where do you get your login details?? 

So. Frustrating. But I am here to help and expand on those vague answers.

Basically, FTP is just another way to access your site’s files if you can’t access them on the familiar WordPress dashboard. There are a few simple steps to follow to gain access. So take a deep breath, know that everything will still be restored, and read on, my friend.

I will keep this simple and to the point because I know you are probably freaking out. I would be too.

Note: these instructions will not tell you how to fix the code you added to functions.php, but will tell you how to access your functions.php file so you are able to delete/fix the code in order to gain access to your WordPress dashboard again. 

1. Download an FTP Program

First things first, we need to download a program that will allow us to access our site again. FTP stand for File Transfer Protocol. You can use a program like this to access all of your site files, and transfer/upload files from your computer to your website.

I use FileZilla, you can download it here.

2. Find Login Details for FTP

When you open FileZilla, you will see a small “Quickconnect” form at the top. The text areas say Host, Username, Password, and Port. This is where you login to access your site files. Now we need to find this information on your hosting site.

Your login info here will be different than you hosting login or WordPress login. The login info is provided by your website host, so you will need to login to your hosting account to find it. I use GoDaddy, so I will explain how to find your FTP login with them. If you use another host like SiteGround, Host Gator, Bluehost, etc. a quick google search should do the trick in helping you find where to find your FTP login info. Search – “How to find FTP login details on SiteGround” Obviously, replace SiteGround with your hosting website.


Finding Login Info on Godaddy (as of 11/7/2016, this is how to find the login info)

  1. Login to your Godaddy account.
  2. Next to “Managed WordPress Websites”, click Manage.
  3. Click settings next to the site you want to work on.
  4. On the right site, there is a section called Basic Settings. You will see SFTP user and then a username. Click view.
  5. Now you will see all of the information needed to login to FTP!

3. Find and edit the functions.php file

Once you find your login details and use quickconnect to login, all your WordPress site files will appear. Click the following folders/files to get to your functions.php file:

wp-content > themes > (click your current theme) > functions.php

To open and edit the functions.php file, right click on it, then click view/edit. It should open in a text editor program.

Once you finish deleting/editing the code, save and close the text editor. FileZilla will ask if you want to update the information on your site, click yes.

Now go back to your site and refresh your page! It should be working now. If not, you my have to do some more editing in your code. If you are having trouble with the code, I highly suggest either posting your problem and asking for help in a WordPress facebook group, or the WordPress support forums to get some help.

Happy WordPressing!

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