How to fix WordPress theme not displaying correctly issue?

WordPress theme not displaying correctly

WordPress theme not displaying correctly is a serious issue. If you don’t fix this issue, the website visitors may leave your website without going through your content. When visitors leave the site without exploring the site, the website’s bounce rate increases, and when they leave the site immediately, the “Average Time spent on the site” value would be very low. Below we’ve shared the reasons why the WP template doesn’t display correctly and the solution for the same.

Your custom code has broken the layout or the element

WordPress content management allows users to make changes to a template or plugin by adding custom CSS or JS code or custom function to the functions.php file of the parent or the child WP theme. Users are also allowed to edit the PHP files of a plugin/theme. Although WP gives you the freedom to edit files, you should stick with the options that the template/extension provides and not add custom code to the site, which the developer itself does not provide. This is because the code you’ve written may break an element. For example, if the div’s width is 300 px and your custom CSS code increases the margin of an element inside the div considerably, the element may appear broken.

You have not cleared cache

You’ve made some changes, but you don’t see the changes when you open your website page. Get rid of the cached files with the flush function of the plugin. All WP caching extensions have this function. When you click the clear cache button/option of the plugin, the plugin will delete all pages that it has created and will regenerate the files when you access the page. Clearing the cached files is another way to fix the WP theme not displaying correctly error.

Minifier function has broken the site

Sometimes, the minifier feature of a WP caching plugin may break the site. One of the plugins that are known to break layouts of sites is W3 Total Cache. Although W3TC is a good plugin, it has many options which users must configure by themselves. Users will have to test the plugin settings to find out which is the best setting for them. The WP theme not displaying correctly issue caused by minification can be easily fixed by finding and adding CSS files that are responsible for the template’s layout or design of an element to the list of files that the plugin must ignore when it is running its minifier.

The security extension of the browser has blocked the file

A plugin such as adblocker can block lines or lines of code from executing and make a template appear broken. For example, if you install unlock origin and open the ShareASale website, you’ll find a broken ShareASale website instead of the beautiful website. If you disable the plugin/extension or configure it to ignore the files or URLs, the WP theme not displaying correctly issue will be fixed instantly.

The file is not readable

If the WordPress theme stylesheet file is not readable because of a server-level permission issue or the file is corrupted, the pages of the site may not look great. If the file has errors, you should download and open the file with a CSS editor such as VScode. When you do so, VS Code will highlight all issues in the CSS file. If the permission is causing the error, you must change the permission with the chown Linux command.

Missing stylesheet

If the template’s stylesheet file is missing, the browser won’t be able to stylize the elements or create a layout, and the site may look broken. To check whether the stylesheet file is missing or not, open the browser developer tools and then open the browser’s console utility. If the JS/CSS files are missing, the console will show the URLs with the HTTP 404 status code. Go through the URLs carefully and note down the ones that link to JS or CSS files. Now, fix the error by uploading the missing JS or CSS file.

Closing words: So, these are the most common reasons why WordPress may not display correctly in the user’s browser and their solutions.


Pramod is the founder of wptls. He has been using WordPress for more than nine years. He builds web applications, and writes about his experiences with various WP products on this site.

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