Resolving WordPress broken links, broken login, and site redirection

My WordPress is broke after migration.
My WordPress links are not working.
I cant login to admin page!
My theme and stylesheet is all messed up!
WordPress site images are missing.

If you are a Virtualmin/Webmin web host, you would recognize these support requests usually follow a WordPress site migration, a domain change or a new WordPress setup in a temporary URL.

Bobcares help desk support services routinely help web masters setup WordPress sites with minimal downtime. Below are a few common issues we’ve seen that cause WordPress site links to be broken.

Incorrect SITE URL

The configuration variable WP_SITEURL tells WordPress where the WordPress core files are located. We’ve seen that in the following situations the Site URL setting would be different from the actual WordPress path.

  1. When changing the status of an account from sub-domain to main domain or vice versa.
  2. When migrating a new site from development server to live server.
  3. When changing the domain name. When the primary reference URL changes, 
  4. When enabling SSL as the default mode. The Site URL by default would be using “http://”.
  5. When auto script installers like Softaculous uses primary domain name while installing WordPress on a temporary URL.
  6. When a temporary URL referenced through IP is made live.
  7. When transitioning the site from a sub-folder to document root folder or vice versa.

All the above situations cause a wrong domain name to be put in the Site URL path. This will cause broken links, redirects to old sites, redirect loops, broken images, broken themes and inability to login to WordPress. To fix it, either the database can be updated, or the WordPress configuration file can be updated. We usually edit the wp-config.php configuration file located in the WordPress root folder. Just make the following change to update Site URL.

 define('WP_SITEURL', '');
 define('WP_SITEURL', '');

Incorrect Blog URL

WP_HOME is the configuration setting that tells WordPress what the address bar URL should be. All the above situations that warrant a change in Site URL necessitate a change in Blog URL settings as well. Incorrect Blog URL settings result in broken WordPress login page, redirect loops, redirects to old sites, broken links and broken images. Since the admin page would be in-accessible, we resolve this issue by updating the wp-config.php configuration file as shown below:

 define('WP_HOME', '');
 define('WP_HOME', '');

Missing WordPress/Theme/Plugin files

Themes and plugins can affect how the entire site functions. We’ve seen that in the following situations, critical files of themes, plugins or WordPress core files do get missed out, which causes the entire site to break.

  1. Incomplete files upload/transfer – When uploading or transferring large sites, sessions sometimes break, and when a re-upload is attempted, critical files could go missing. Based on a comparative listing of source and destination, we get the list of missing files, which would then be used to update the site.
  2. Selective backup restores – Web masters sometimes try to selectively restore directories to roll back changes they have made to the site. This could result in old versions of files to be uploaded, or critical files to go entirely missing. We are usually able to restore such files from our weekly or monthly backup archives.
  3. Website intrusion – As we’ve covered earlier, stolen passwords and vulnerable WordPress versions are popular ways for hackers to take control of websites. In their attempt to inject malware, sometimes critical files get deleted. We are usually able to restore a safe website from daily backups.
  4. Aggressive anti-malware – Some servers set their anti-malware programs at “paranoid” setting, and this could cause valid theme or plugin files to be quarantined as malware. Malware logs show recent quarantines, and we white-list md5 signatures of files in popular WordPress themes and plugins to avoid such issues.

Incorrect permissions

As a rule, WordPress directories should have 755 permissions and files should have 644 permissions. When setting up a WordPress site with various themes and plugins, web masters are known to miss out on the required directory and file permissions. We quickly fix these issues by finding such directories through a find command and feeding that list into a chmod command.

Improper permalinks updates

Some web masters secure their .htaccess by write-protecting it, but WordPress requires that .htaccess be write-able by the web server when changing permalinks settings. When .htaccess is write protected, the site URLs would have changed, but the proper re-direction would not be present in the .htaccess file, causing the site to be broken. A WordPress site with custom permalinks setup should look like the following:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
 RewriteEngine On
 RewriteBase /
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
 RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

The above are the most common causes for broken links, broken themes, or broken login interfaces in WordPress websites, and we keep adding to the list as WordPress keeps evolving. In our help desk support services, we rely on systematic troubleshooting, that enables us to quickly and accurately resolve any WordPress issue reported by web masters.

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Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.

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