Beginner's Guide for WordPress / Start your WordPress Blog in minutes

How to Fix the Syntax Error in WordPress

There is such an abundance of WordPress tutorials, guides, and code snippets available on the web. They are all intended for users to try new things on their website and learn more about WordPress. Sadly a small little error can cause the whole site to break which is very scary specially for new users. If you were trying something new on your WordPress site and got a following error “Syntax error, unexpected…”, then don’t freak out. You are not the first one to receive the syntax error in WordPress, and you will not be the last one. In this article we will show you how to fix the unexpected syntax error in WordPress.

Using Proper Syntax to Avoid Errors

Syntax error in WordPress

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. A missing comma, or an extra curly bracket 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

Subscribe to WPBeginner

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 freak out 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. So how do you edit the code? Check out our guide on locked out of WordPress admin. The only way to fix this is to access the file you last edited using FTP (How to use FTP).

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 correct syntax. Once you are done removing / editing the code, save the file and upload it back to your server. Come to your WordPress site and refresh the page, and your site will be working.

We hope this article helped you fix Syntax Error in WordPress. Please leave your questions and feedback in the comments.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit – a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

85 CommentsLeave a Reply

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

  2. Hi,

    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,

    Jamie

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. Hello:

    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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      Admin

  9. 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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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:

  13. Hi,

    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?

  14. 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!

  15. Hello,

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. hi

    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

  18. 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

    • 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.

      Admin

  19. 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?

    • 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

    • 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

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

  28. Hi.

    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?

    Thanks.

  29. 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

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

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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

  34. 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 wordpress.com and they don’t allow using ftp. What I can do to solve this problem. Please help!

  35. hi
    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?

  36. 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!!!!
    URGENT

Leave A Reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.