WordPress Theme Keeps Reverting Default (6 Easy Fixes)

WordPress theme keeps reverting default

[ctoc title=”Table of contents” type=”ol” items=”The WordPress theme keeps reverting default issue,Two Scenarios for the error,Update or Downgrade the WordPress version,Check the plugins,Rename the theme to ‘default’,Modify the WordPress settings file,Update the PHP version,Increase the value of the maximum variables of your server,Conclusion”]

Are you facing the WordPress theme keeps reverting default issue?

It can happen for a number of reasons, but you can try and fix it yourself.

So let’s see how to fix broken theme in WordPress.

The WordPress theme keeps reverting default issue

The WordPress theme keeps reverting default issue is caused by either missing files or conflicting plugins or wrong server settings To resolve the issue check the plugins installed or rename the current folder to default or update the PHP version or increase the number of input variables in PHP settings.

Two Scenarios for the error

If your current theme reverts to the default WordPress theme, you may get an error message as “The active theme is broken. Reverting to the default theme”.

This may happen when WordPress cannot perform a function due to missing files.

This is actually a security feature of WordPress itself.

So, instead of seeing a blank page, the visitors of your site may get to see a basic version of the site.

You may face either of the two scenarios for this type of error – 

  1. If you have installed a premium or a free WordPress theme and it reverts to the default WordPress theme like Twenty Twenty-One.
  2. If you have installed a premium or a free WordPress theme but instead of showing your custom settings, it reverts to its default settings.

Let’s see how to fix both of these issues.

Update or Downgrade the WordPress version

The first solution for this error is to update the WordPress version.

You can check if there is a more recent WordPress version and update.

To downgrade WordPress to an older version, use a plugin such as WP Downgrade.

Check the plugins

If that does not resolve the issue, check whether a plugin is causing it.

So, deactivate all the plugins and see if your current settings are applied.

If yes, activate the plugins one by one and check which one was causing it.

Rename the theme to ‘default’

If none of the plugins were responsible, then apply this fix – 

  • Log in to the site via FTP.
  • Go to the wp-content/themes folder.
  • Delete the default WordPress theme folder.
  • Rename your desired theme folder to “default’.
  • Activate the theme in WordPress.

Modify the WordPress settings file

There is another way to fix the issue, which is, modifying the code of the wp-settings file.

But it’s easy to do.

  • Log in to your site either by FTP or cPanel.
  • Download the wp-settings.php file.
  • Open the file.
  • Delete the line ‘validate_current_theme()’.
  • Upload the file.

Update the PHP version

Now, if you have installed a theme and it reverts to its own default settings, then it may be due to a server issue too.

So before contacting the theme developer, first update the PHP version of your server.

There may be a tutorial to do so on your host’s website.

Follow that or ask your host to do it for you.

Increase the value of the maximum variables of your server

Also, ask them to increase the max_input_vars value to 5000.

You can do that yourself too, but I won’t suggest it.

Conclusion

To fix the issue of your WordPress theme reverting to a default WordPress theme or to its own default settings –

  • Upgrade to a different WordPress version.
  • Check the plugins.
  • Rename the WordPress theme to ‘default’.
  • Modify the WordPress settings file.
  • Update the PHP version of your server.
  • Increase the maximum number of variables value in the php.ini file.
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