Let’s start with an easy one. While many of the errors we’ll be looking at can be frustrating due to how little information they give you, the ‘parse error’ (or ‘syntax error’) is at least helpful enough to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

This error occurs when there is an issue with your site’s code, most commonly in the functions.php file. Instead of loading your page, a simple message will appear, which explains what the issue is and where it occurred.

To fix the problem, you’ll need to access the specified file using SFTP. We’ll be using FileZilla, as it’s a free and open-source tool. Just use the SFTP credentials provided by your web host, and access your site’s backend.

Then, you need to find the file in question. In the example pictured above, you can see that the problem is in the functions.php file for the site’s current theme. As such, we’ll access that theme’s folder, right-click on functions.php, and select View/Edit.

If you check the Parse error message, you can see that it even tells you on what line the problem exists. Now we just need to find that line and fix the problem. In our example, it’s a simple case of a missing parenthesis, so let’s sort that out.

Save your file, and select Yes when your FTP client asks if you want to replace the existing file on the server. You should now be able to check your site and see that it’s back to normal.


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