Recovering from a Bad Theme Installation

If you’ve read some of my earlier website-related posts, you know that I host several web sites on a GoDaddy Windows server account, and I use WordPress as the CMS for those sites. I use a Windows server because I have several ASP pages that I run which access Microsoft Access databases, and I haven’t had the opportunity to port them over to PHP/MySQL. When that happens, I will probably migrate over to a Linux account, just to reduce the amount of headaches associated with running WordPress on a Windows server.

One recent problem (which, in fact, happened last night) occurred when I attempted to install a responsive theme (Montezuma by Bytes for All, a fantastic theme, by the way) that I had been successfully running on one site to one of my older sites. What happened immediately after I clicked on the Install link for the theme was I got an Internal Server Error, and I couldn’t access the Dashboard nor would my site come up. The detailed message said in bold: HTTP Error 500.0 – Internal Server Error, and the detailed message (which was displayed since I had made the changes to my web.config file listed in this post) said “Module: FastCgiModule, Notification: ExecuteRequestHandler, Error Code: 0×00000000.

I tried a number of different things to restore the site back to it’s original configuration, but the one thing that finally got things to a state where I could at least get into the Dashboard was to modify a few rows in the database table wp_options to ‘default’. This article tells you how to do it, although you need to know how to get into MySQL using GoDaddy’s Control Panel. If you’ve forgotten your database name and password, look in your wp-config.php file, which should be at the root of your site. Warning: if you are not comfortable with mucking around in the database tables, find someone who is. You don’t want to accidentally screw up your WordPress database. GoDaddy has a nice backup tool that will backup any of your MySQL databases to the /_db_backups folder, so I would strongly recommend doing this before you go about making changes.

I did the SELECTs first, to see what the options were set to, and then I did the updates to ‘default’. One commentor said that you had to use ‘twentyten’ on WordPress sites greater than 3.0, but I found I was able to get to the Dashboard by using ‘default.’