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

How to Fix the Syntax Error in WordPress

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

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 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.

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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.


  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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?


  15. 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

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

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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?

  22. 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!!!!

  23. Hi,
    I’m creating a site using local host on my pc so its not gone live yet and i tried to change a bit of code in the editor in WP in the functions.php file. I got this error: Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<' in C:\xampp 1\htdocs\wp\wp-content\themes\theme\keid-hosting\functions.php on line 43 and i now cant access my admin via the usual http://localhost/wp/wp-admin/.

    Ive tried to replace the functions.php file with an original from download and also i replaced all theme files with originals, still getting the error. I also tried to change the name of the theme and themes directory to try get it revert back to default theme (twentyfifteen etc…) but still getting the error

    Can you help me pls???

    Thanks in advance

  24. Hello –

    I have a similar error. The site had a theme and I changed it. It worked fine and I was customizing when the issue happened. When I go into FTP the new theme files are not there- only the old theme is shown. How can that be?

    I tried to upload the new theme here to overwrite whatever is causing it to stay down but nothing is working. Any advice?


  25. YOU are incredibly AWESOME! Your site will be carried around in my back pocket and shared with everyone I know that uses WP. Thank you for this valuable info. You saved my site!

  26. When I go to my website I get this error:

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘/’ in /home/cycletrk/public_html/wp-blog-header.php on line 12

    I know it’s a code error but I haven’t made any changes to the website for a while so the code just suddenly changed? I can log into the admin section site fine but I can’t find where this code is.

    Any help?

    • Try deactivating plugins. See how to deactivate all WordPress plugins when not able to access wp-admin. If this does not work, then try updating your WordPress site URL. Simply edit your wp-config.php file and add these two lines:


      Replace with your own domain name. It is possible that your site URLs are changed and have an unexpected ‘/’ at the end of the URL. IF this does not work out, then try deleting .htaccess file. If the .htaccess method solves the problem, then remember to visit Settings -> Permalinks page and click on update button to refresh your permalinks.


      • Updated WordPress to 4.2.3 and the problem went away. Thanks a lot for your help. Much appreciated!

  27. See our FTP Tutorial

    Once you are connected through FTP locate the file where you pasted the code. Most probably you added it in /wp-content/themes/yourthemename/functions.php

    Download the file to your computer. Edit it to remove the code and then upload it back to the server.

  28. Hey-

    I’ve downloaded FTP but I have no idea what to do once inside besides logging in. How do I find my error and correct it?

    A little more background:

    I was trying to change where an ad on my page was by the code. Put the code in wrong so I can’t log into the page now. No idea how to change it back.


  29. If i am using mamp as my wordpress server, but now I am locked out because of the “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected”, does this mean I need to get a ftp account in order to edit my error?

  30. Hi – I was able to login to my FTP by am unable to open the functions.php file. I keep getting a file transfer failed message. Any advice? Thanks!

  31. I’ve been trying to correct the syntax error I made whilst building my site, but the mapping for where I’m being told the error is doesn’t appear to exist when I try to access the site through FZ. I’m guessing it’s a similar issue to Jose’s last month. Any advice? Thanks

  32. I cannot connect my site to FZ, it says ” Could not connect to server ” I already installed wordpress. And now I cant access my site because I accidentally pasted theme_hooks into theme_function. I don’t know how to find my server. Please HELP me, thanks

  33. Hello, After editing the Functions.php I received a parse error on a certain line. Although I knew what the problem is the site is hosted on I can’t access the file via FTP. Any recommendations?

    Thank you in advance.

  34. Hello,

    I got this error when I tried to access the my blog :(

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_FUNCTION in /home/content/……../wp-content/plugins/easy-related-posts/easy_related_posts.php on line 75

    Please help. :(

  35. Seems like your theme’s functions.php file is broken. Here is what you need to do. First connect to your website using an FTP client. Go to wp-content/themes/laboratory_child/ directory and then edit functions.php file. On line 20 you will see a closing curly bracket ‘ } ‘ This bracket is not supposed to be here.

    If this is a child theme, then you can backup your functions.php file and then delete it from your webserver. The parent theme’s functions.php file will take over.

  36. Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘}’ in ………./wp-content/themes/laboratory_child/functions.php on line 20

    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…..

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.