I was just handed a broken Wordpress site that I am now in charge of Administering (administrating?).

EDIT: Since posting this, I have made some new discoveries about my issues.

When trying to access the Wordpress Administration page (by clicking the link from logging into the dashboard), I get a 404-not found page. This 404 error page is branded (has same background and styling) as all the other pages on the website being hosted.

I'm guessing my links are broken. The authentication page on the website doesn't work and I can't access the admin portal as stated previously.

I have access to the root directory and wp-content folder. The page is hosted by wordpress and I access root by enabling sftp. I also have access to phpMyAdmin, but I'm not sure what tables need to be there (or if any are missing). Having a look at the wp-config.php file, it looks oddly empty.

I had a look at an example wp-config.php file, and contained in the example are options for database name, database user, database password, mysql hostname, etc. My wp-config.php has none of these. Also when browsing my root folder, I don't see any 'sql' subfolder or any database related stuff at all. phpmyadmin looks to have all the tables, but nothing in the wp-config file pointing to the database or with any user/authentication.

Commented out in the wp-config.php file, it says: "Database connection information is automatically provided. There is no need to set of change the following config options: DB_HOST, DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD, DB_CHARSET, DB_COLLATE. HOWEVER- that's it. there are no uncommented configuration options for the above.

When viewing the table wp_admin_columns in phpmyadmin, nothing is returned. (SELECT * from wp_admin_columns returns 0 results. No entries.)

The guy who used to manage this website left and he was disgruntled. Trying to pick up the pieces and figure out whether or not he intentionally deleted/removed stuff.


  • 1
    Popular blogging engine – mostly considered off-topic. Questions about wordpress.com belong on WebApps.SE. Questions about installing and maintaining WordPress belong on WordPress.SE
    – Ramhound
    Nov 19, 2021 at 0:39

2 Answers 2


https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/ is the stackexchange website that deals with wordpress.

It seems like your website is hosted by Automattic so you can get their help by communicating with their support staff. Go to https://wordpress.com/support/contact/ and click on "I need customer service for a paid site hosted at wordpress.com"


Wordpress is a free and open-source Content Management System (CMS). Its URL is wordpress.org It can be hosted by anyone, anywhere.

Wordpress.com offers a commercial service, the hosting of that CMS.

Automattic is the company behind Wordpress (both .com and .org).


I am not sure how broken the site is but you can give this a try. If it doesn't work let us know which step fails:

Try logging in at https://wordpress.com/log-in

Click on My Sites (top-left corner)

Click Switch Site (if available)

Click the domain name

Click WP Admin (you may need to enter your username & password)

Go to Settings -> Permalinks

Click the save button (at the bottom of the page)

  • Popular blogging engine – mostly considered off-topic. Questions about wordpress.com belong on WebApps.SE. Questions about installing and maintaining WordPress belong on WordPress.SE
    – Ramhound
    Nov 19, 2021 at 0:39
  • I have since obtained access to the wp-content folder and the root directory by enabling SFTP access and also have access to phpMyAdmin. When I do as you say to access the WP admin page, I get so far as logging in and clicking the "WP Admin Dashboard" link and I get a 404 error. 404- page not found. This 404 error page is branded (has background and styling) of the website being hosted. I'd assume the links are messed up. The home dashboard cannot locate the admin panel pages. I have access to the wp-content folder and can make modifications, but I don't know what to look for. @Gantendo
    – boog
    Nov 19, 2021 at 19:32
  • @boog Try renaming the .htaccess file to something like whatever.htaccess with sFTP. A new one should get generated.
    – user210168
    Nov 20, 2021 at 2:36
  • If the login page works after you renamed the .htaccess file and you do not know the password you can (re)set it via phpMyAdmin (search for phpmyadmin on this page wordpress.org/support/article/resetting-your-password
    – user210168
    Nov 20, 2021 at 2:52

In case somebody stumbles upon this in the future and finds any relevance to their issue.

My situation was unique in that the site itself was hosted by wordpress as a managed service. I had no access to most of the source files for the wordpress framework itself (the managed service provider managed most of the core files, only the wp-content folder and files were unique for each customer)- so none of those solutions applied to my situation.

The site I was handed was running ~35+ third party plugins and was left untouched for almost a year. During that time many of the plugins fell out-of-update and needed updates. It turns out the theme we were using was the specific thing breaking the wordpress installation (causing 404-loops and disallowing access to wp-admin page, lots of links on the left nav-bar, etc).

Setting the theme back to a default/supported/non-third-party theme and disabling all third party plugins allowed the site to function enough to update and re-apply each of the plugins 1-by-1 until the site was in a functional state. We had to choose a new theme, as the one we were using originally continued to break the site and I didn't care enough to contact the support people for the theme.

Of course, I'm sure most of you know to begin troubleshooting by disabling all third party plugins. However I am not a web-dev and all of my website management experience thus far has been either IIS or LAMP based- new to wordpress.

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