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How to Fix the Syntax Error in WordPress

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Are you wondering how to fix the syntax error in WordPress?

There are so many WordPress tutorials that require you to add code snippets to your website. Unfortunately, a small little error can cause the whole site to break which is very scary, especially for new users. If you were trying something new on your WordPress site and got the following error “Syntax error, unexpected…”, then don’t panic.

In this article, we will show you how to fix the unexpected syntax error in WordPress.

How to Fix the Syntax Error in WordPress

Using Proper Syntax to Avoid Errors

The first thing you need to do is to look at the beginner’s guide to pasting snippets from the web into WordPress. This article lists some very common mistakes made by beginners when pasting code in WordPress templates.

The syntax error is usually caused by a tiny but crucial mistake in your code syntax.

Example of a syntax error in WordPress

For example, it could be a missing comma or an extra curly bracket that can break the entire script.

Did you recently paste a snippet from the web? Updated a plugin? Then chances are you know exactly where to look.

Video Tutorial

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If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Fixing the Syntax Error Using FTP

In order to fix the syntax error, you need to edit the code that caused this error. You can either remove it or fix the syntax.

Often beginners panic because this error causes your entire site to become inaccessible. If you pasted the code using your WordPress dashboard Appearance » Editor section, then you are locked out. Check out our guide on what to do if you’re locked out of WordPress admin.

So how do you edit the code?

The only way to fix this is to access the file you last edited using FTP. Read our guide on how to use FTP for step by step instructions.

After installing the FTP program, connect it to your website and go to the theme file that needs editing. In case you forgot which file you need to edit, just look at the error code. The error will tell you exactly which file and which line you need to edit.

You can either remove the code you last added or write the code in the correct syntax. Once you are done removing or editing the code, save the file and upload it back to your server.

After that, visit your WordPress site, refresh the page, and you should see that your site is working again.

How to Prevent the Syntax Error in WordPress

In order to prevent your WordPress website from breaking again, we always recommend adding custom code with a code snippets plugin like WPCode.

WPCode plugin

WPCode makes it easy to add code snippets in WordPress without having to edit your theme’s functions.php file.

Plus, it comes with smart code snippet validation to help you prevent common code errors.

As you’re adding your custom code, WPCode will automatically detect any errors. Hovering over the error will bring up helpful instructions so that you can easily correct your mistake.

Smart code snippet validation to find code errors

WPCode will also immediately deactivate your custom code when it detects a syntax error.

Now, you never have to worry about breaking your site when adding code snippets.

Error handling in your custom code snippet

You can learn more in our guide on how to easily add custom code in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you fix the syntax error in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate guide to boosting WordPress speed, and our expert pick of the best code editors for Mac and Windows.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

86 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
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  2. Roberta says

    This is a frustrating error and your tutorial allowed me to fix it in less than 5 minutes. Thank you so much!

  3. Jamie den Haan says


    Can someone please help me out? I keep getting a ‘SyntaxError: JSON Parse error: Unexpected identifier ”Error” when i want to check out on my website. I don’t know what to do and nobody can place an order!!

    Thanks a lot,


  4. Aaron says

    I get “critical error: could not connect to server” when I enter my server information. So I can’t even get to the point that your video begins at.

  5. Raffy says

    Thank you SO SO much! The bad snippet was invisible inside the Admin page in WordPress, for some reason, but fully visible in the functions.php found in the FTP!!

    You saved my day, thank you very much again!

  6. Kim martin says

    Thank you SO much! 7 days of getting My hosting service(a very large popular one) to try to fix this no luck just trying to upsell me on things I neither want nor need.

    Me thinking okay a whole new website and i found this, I just actually deleted the whole plugin(elementor) Whoo Hoo!

  7. Micah says


    I have run into this error helping someone else out with their website, so I wasn’t using my actual website when I got this error. I’m wondering how I can remove the error when I’m working on someone else’s site? I have their wordpress. org login information, but obviously I’m locked out of everything now. Any guidance would be appreciated.

  8. Tamia says

    Thanks for this tutorial. I had a parsing/syntax problem when editing functions.php in a new website. I was working on the admin page of my WordPress site when I attempted to comment-out a line of code (using instructions by the theme author) but that caused the error. I had copied the functions.php code to TextWrangler, made the alteration, and pasted the whole doc back into the edit window. In “updating” the page I got the error and was effectively locked out of the site. So I used FTP to upload and overwrite the relevant doc, using a backup I’d made the previous day (thank goodness for those). If it hadn’t been for WP Beginner’s clear instructions here and on the “What To Do When You Are Locked Out of WordPress Admin (wp-admin)” post, I’d have been tearing my hair out. Thanks!

  9. Tom Delano says

    In trying to log into my page via Filezilla, am I supposed to use my admin account or my WordPress account? I’ve tried both and the password authentication keeps failing. I have my original admin password and it’s worked consistently since I’ve had the website up.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hey Tom,

      You’ll need to use your FTP username and password. You will find it in the email you received from your web hosting company when you first signed up. You can also find this information under your cPanel dashboard.


  10. Justine says

    I urgently need help. CO-editor on my site (which is supposed to launch tomorrow) tried to change code to change our profile pictures. Something went horribly wrong and we locked out of our site. Get this error: Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘add_filter’ (T_STRING) in

  11. Giacomo Lawrance says

    Thank you so much! You really saved me there. So grateful of this awesome site, thanks again!

  12. Monica says

    Re: my last comment, I deactivated the plugin and the error went away. So you won’t see what I was describing anymore. I just decided to not use it than try to spend all night figuring out the problem.

  13. Monica says

    I am getting parse error syntax errors on all my product pages. This was brought to my attention by someone trying to shop my site. I have not made any edits to the code, installed any new plugins, or accessed the site at all in months. Not sure when this started but I haven’t had an order in few weeks. If I didn’t add or edit anything to cause this how do I know what to fix? All the error messages reference line 1 of the php file but all there is on line 1 is <?php. It's on all product pages. Here is just one example:

  14. shazwan says


    I’m managing a website for my society and its has been long since the last time everyone actually had logged into the hosting account and we kind of lost the log in credentials and didn’t even know what hosting we’re using because they paid years ahead before. And maybe changed providers. But I know that our domain is from Godaddy and checked, but the hosting isn’t from the same provider.

    It may take some time as we dig through the emails, is there any way to fix syntax error other than through FTP?

  15. Patrick says

    Hi. I tried uploading a theme though Filezila since WordPress was having issues trying to upload the theme and now I’m locked up and I get these two lines

    Please Help!!! Thank you!

  16. Francisco says


    I got this error after I updated some plug ins,
    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘var’ (T_VAR) in /home/smilesonbristol/public_html/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/sal/class.json-api-date.php on line 55

    Please help.

  17. Spring says

    I cannot thank you enough! You have saved my life! I was to a break point as I thought I’d lost my entire 2 days of work on my new website. Now I have ftp’d the file, and I am back in wp-admin again! Thank you so much for your wonderful site.

  18. sangeet kumar says


    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘define’ (T_STRING) in /home/designba/public_html/wp-content/themes/hestia/functions.php on line 1

    i got the above error message. i cant access any page. i did every steps you mentioned, but i am getting same problem again. actually i didnot change anything in functions.php

    Please Help

  19. Ashley says

    Parse Error: syntax error, unexpected T_FUNCTION in the theme section. I try to fix the error in FileZilla but I’m getting “Critical error: Could not connect to server”. PLEASE HELP

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Please check your FTP username, password, and host information. You may have received this information in an email when you signed up for your hosting account. You can also ask your hosting support to provide these details.


  20. daphne says

    Here’s another one:
    logged on to the FTP (as suggested by this blog…thanks for that!!), found the files…. but couldn’t download them:
    ….Status: Starting download of /www/wp-admin/theme-editor.php
    Error: Failed to open “/theme-editor.php” for writing
    Error: File transfer failed…..

    idea? Anyone?

    • Raffy says

      I had the same problem, a red error message when I tried to download it from the right-click window: so I simply searched for my desktop, dragged the file there, edited it, deleted the old functions.php file in my wordpress and dragged the new edited file in the same place. Hope this helps.

  21. Kathleen says

    I am getting this error. I did what you said, pasted in some code that didn’t work. When I took the pasted code out, it still gave me the error. So, fine, I just copied the whole file from a fresh download, and I’m still getting the same error, so I have no idea of what to do now.

  22. Stephen says

    This article saved my life – lol. Thank you so much for the step by step. Fortunately, I had copied and pasted the good code into a text file so going back was easy after I understood what I was looking for.

  23. Tracie says

    OMGosh, thank you for this post! That just happened to me, and I thought I had lost my site for good. What a relief to know the solution was as simple as using FTP.

  24. Walter says

    Hi guys,
    I need some help to solve this issue below quickly please

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_FUNCTION in /home/cardapio/public_html/wp-content/themes/zerif-lite/inc/customizer.php on line 41

    I saw a comment below talking about a video explaining an solution but i didn´t find the link… somebody could help me please?

    • Walter says

      This error happen after I made the plugin´s update by WP Painel.. and now I can´t access the WP Painel anymore… only by FTP

  25. Mikael Andersen says

    Would it be possible for the WP developer team to develop some kind of a script, that is checking out the code syntax in the functions.php file in order to prevent the user from saving the file if it contents any error.

    I think it could be of a big help for many users, especially if a user has taken a copy of the file before making any changes in it.

  26. Imran says

    Hello guys ,

    Can anyone help me with this, I’m having an error when i check my blog health on I dont know how to fix this error. I have tried so hard but couldn’t fix it.

    Improper use of href attribute

    The href attribute specifies the URL of the page the link goes to. Without this attribute, the <a> is not a hyperlink.

    How to solve this issue

    This is essentially a broken link and therefore should be fixed asap so as to not affect SEO negatively.

    Thank you

  27. Samuel Muiruri says

    I’ve got an error Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘;’ in /home/runningw/public_html/test/wp-content/themes/travel-lite/inc/customize.php on line 167 I was editing customize_register for a theme and on upload on complete it crashed.

  28. Rachel says

    Thank you. This video saved me! Clear information for someone who would not even call themselves a beginner yet! Very much appreciated!

  29. fran garcia says


    I got the same problem, but searching for the theme folder, THERE IS NO FOLDER named like that, so I can’t edit the php!

    Any ideas about how to proceed?


  30. Raj says

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘:’ in /home/rev/public_html/wp-content/plugins/facebook-pagelike-widget/short_code.php on line 28
    i got above error message cant access my website please help me

  31. Nick says

    It really was a moment to freak out, but thanks to your article it was fixed in a matter of time. Thanks a lot!!

  32. inas dan says

    i have this error in function.php in twenty sixteen chiled theme

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<' in /home2/hmh49/public_html/myplog/wp-content/themes/twentysixteen-child/functions.php on line 10

    please help

  33. alex says

    It worked beautifully! Thank you!
    I was on a verge of having a shock seeing that my page was not available anymore but thanks to your help I managed to fix the issue! Thank you million!

  34. Kay says

    Hi there,

    I am needing help to fix this error please
    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘}’ in /usr/www/users/ogbuldwqdf/wp-content/themes/theme53993/includes/sidebar-init.php on line 51

    I pasted the same code back, but still getting the problem

  35. Sibel Baklacı says

    I have changed my theme’s functions.php file a little bit and now I have an syntax error. Functiıns.php parse error. I can’t access my site anyway. I can’t use ftp to access to it because my site hosted on and they don’t allow using ftp. What I can do to solve this problem. Please help!

  36. zad says

    i have big problem, help me please :(

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘$content_width’ (T_VARIABLE) in /home/u369283888/public_html/wp-content/themes/mharty/functions.php on line 1

    i used FTP what kan i do to fix it?

  37. Jaideep Bedi says

    I’m stuck in the white screen of death…i did not pasted a code but did a very tiny editing(Appearance->editor) ….it worked and i got what i wanted but later when i tried loading page, it never loaded. On inspecting Element it says: Syntax error Unexpected ” } ” .
    I undo that tiny editing but nothing happend….. please help!!!!

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