wp-admin CSS broken, not displaying correctly

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    Oy, I was hoping not to have to bother you with this issue (as I feel that the security & applications provided by your program/plugin for the one-time fee is already more than worth the cost), but I seem to have exhausted all other options…

    For over a month now, I’ve been virtually unable to do anything on my WP site’s backend (i.e. actions via the Admin Panel) due to a really odd styling issue that had showed up without any discovered rhyme or reason! (An issue which is starting to cripple certain aspects of my site/business.)

    Here is the crazy CSS psychosis I am seeing on EVERY page pertaining to my Admin Panel:


    Something which may be important to note is the info which can be seen at the bottom of most Admin Panel pages:

    <div id="wpfooter">
    <p id="footer-upgrade" class="alignright">Version 4.4.2</p>
    </div> <div id="wp-auth-check-wrap" class="hidden"> <div id="wp-auth-check"> <div class="wp-auth-fallback">
    <b class="wp-auth-fallback-expired" tabindex="0">Session expired</b>

    Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.


    Yet, despite the above, it doesn’t make me log back in unless I’ve logged out, changed my IP or have been logged out automatically later.

    Now, concerning this issue, here are the hopeful fix-failures which I’ve already tried:

    • Deactivation of all Plugins (including Bulletproof).
    • Restoring an older version of WP.
    • Restoring an older version of BPS.
    • Activation of different WP Themes.
    • Sifting through the BPS Security log.
    • Sifting through the BPS PHP-error log.
    • Rebuilding PHP 5.5.x and 5.6.x
    • Rebuilding Apache.
    • Restoring an older Apache config.
    • Modifications to my main and/or root php.ini files.
    • Modifications to the root, uploads, admin, and plugins .htaccess files.
    • Looking over my wp-config.php file for any conflicts or ‘double-talk’ per se.
    • Accessing the Admin via Chrome, Firefox, IE 11, Ice-Dragon, Dragon, and Chromium browsers (on different devices).
    • Dumping ALL caches (client & server side) after each of the above attempts at a fix…

    So now all I can add to this is…
    HELP! (…and thank you in advance for any aid or advice you may be able to give me.)
    Mr. Nathaniel Kagan

    AITpro Admin

    @ DKK – Most likely the broken CSS problem is being caused by the BPS Pro Plugin Firewall.  Do these steps here in this same forum topic:  http://forum.ait-pro.com/forums/topic/plugin-firewall-bps-menu-tabs-not-displaying-correctly-visual-format-is-broken-css-format-is-broken/#post-28086 and let me know if that fixes the problem or not.  If the problem is still occurring then either the root cause of the problem is a Load Balancer/Proxy configuration issue on your server or another plugin is interfering with and breaking the Plugin Firewall or some sort of backend wp-admin caching is occurring that is breaking the Plugin Firewall.  The logical flow of this issue would be this:  X is the root problem which then breaks the BPS Pro Plugin Firewall which then breaks your backend wp-admin CSS.

    Also for future reference here are the standard BPS Pro troubleshooting steps:  http://forum.ait-pro.com/forums/topic/read-me-first-pro/#bps-pro-general-troubleshooting to isolate or eliminate possible BPS Pro problems.


    I did all of the steps found @ http://forum.ait-pro.com/forums/topic/plugin-firewall-bps-menu-tabs-not-displaying-correctly-visual-format-is-broken-css-format-is-broken/#post-28086, cleared my cache, and erased all cookies… and the problem persists.

    The backend admin menu bar continues to prevent me from doing virtually anything of an administrative nature. (And on that note, it is the reason why it took me a half hour to do what would normally have taken me 5 minutes…)

    However, there is one other piece of info which may be of importance in regards to this issue… Via my cPanel error log, I am seeing the same repetitious error multiple times a day involving both my & other IPs, yet always pertaining to the same file:

    [Sat Feb 27 10:47:52.576008 2016] [access_compat:error] [pid 18692] [client (my.ip.for.example):(clientPort)] AH01797: client denied by server configuration: /(the)/(wordpress_website)/(root_directory)/wp-includes/css/index.php

    (Parentheses above are mine.)

    Yet, I am 95% sure that it has been an error I’ve seen prior to the issue in question. The thing is that the “index.php” file throwing the error doesn’t exist in that /wp-includes/css folder. This begs the question of “Is an index.php file supposed to be there?!” Oy vey, if this has been the issue all along, I will simultaneously be overjoyed and overtly-humiliated!

    Thanks in advance once again, and many thanks for your timely response.

    AITpro Admin

    Try reinstalling WordPress for this site:  Dashboard > Updates > Re-Install Now.  Also has this hosting account ever been hacked before in the past at any point?  The server error that you posted could be a clue that this site was hacked at one point and there is still some left over hacker scripts/code/files somewhere under this hosting account.  And no, there should not be an index.php file here:  /wp-includes/css/index.php  So something is pointing to that non-existent file somewhere or your WordPress installation is fubar and a reinstallation would fix that.


    I’ve done as you suggested and the dominating Admin bar remains….

    (I had to disable JS just in order to see/click the REINSTALL button.)

    And, yes, I had cleared my caches & cookies after the reinstall… hence the reason why I am just going to say “No” to your hacking question, rather than rewrite my extended response & explanation concerning that question (seeming that my Forum login cookie was lacking when I pressed submit the first time… which was quite lame on my part) and in giving the probable reason for the erroneous index.php file. lol. (It has been quite a long day of circles for me, sorry, lol.)

    So… I await any further ideas you may have that may fix this virtual nightmare.

    Thank you in advance once more.

    AITpro Admin

    Ok at this point send a WordPress Administrator login to:  info at ait-pro dot com so that I can login to this site and figure out what is causing the problem.


    Okay, I have done so. You may encounter issues due to my non-BPS (and non-WP for that matter) firewall which has a lot of IP-based rules, but I will try to whitelist you the moment I see you’ve gotten in via the login (per-se).

    AITpro Admin

    Ok will be logging in in a couple of minutes.  Have you eliminated that your IP firewall is causing the problem?  The BPS Pro Plugin Firewall is a firewall for the /plugins/ folder so typically you would only run into a conflict with any URL’s pointing to frontloading plugin scripts and your other firewall and you would not be seeing the wp-admin CSS problem so that is not very likely.  If I cannot figure out the cause of the problem then the next thing to look at would be your IP firewall to eliminate that a conflict exists with that and something else in BPS Pro.

    AITpro Admin

    Ok something on your site is blocking me from being able to do anything.  This is what I see, which is not a BPS Pro error, whenever I try to do anything: 403 error “…your request cannot be processed any further at this time. For security reasons, it was blocked and logged.”  Try this real quick and see if it gets the CSS part of this problem fixed which will make troubleshooting further much easier:  Use FTP or your web host control panel file manager and delete the Plugin Firewall htaccess file here:  /your-website-folder-path/wp-content/plugins/.htaccess.


    My mistake in having a lapse in memory when noting all of the attempted fixes I had tried prior to contacting you (i.e. I had tried to fix the issue via deleting such, but to no avail. However, I will try once more and let you know what happens.)

    Also, sorry about the 403s. I stepped away shortly before you logged in and see the blocks via the firewall log. I’ve whitelisted the IP you had used, so you shouldn’t have a problem going in again if you need to (speaking of in the event the 2nd deletion of the plugin .htaccess lacks in positive result). My apologies for the inconvenience.


    Once again, negating the wp-admin .htaccess had no effect upon the issue… Sorry about putting this baffling issue in your lap. You’ve been quite patient & kind. If you want to try taking a look at the admin side again, I’ve whitelisted you as I had previously noted.

    AITpro Admin

    hmm I have deactivated Root Folder BulletProof Mode, deleted the wp-admin htaccess file and the Plugin Firewall htaccess file is deleted and the CSS problem is still occurring.  At this point it looks like this problem is not being caused by BPS Pro.  Is there another .htaccess file higher up in the folder structure for this hosting account?  Example:  an htaccess file in the hosting account root folder could be affecting this website.  If that is not the problem then what you want to try next is this:  Use FTP or your web host control panel file manager and rename the /plugins/ folder to /_plugins/.  It is possible that another plugin that you have installed is causing this problem.

    Another place to check for another custom .htaccess file would be in the:  /wp-content/.htaccess folder.  If you see an .htaccess file there then rename it to:  _.htaccess.  BPS does not create an .htaccess file in the /wp-content/ folder, but other security plugins do do that.

    AITpro Admin

    I could be wrong, but I think the CSS problem is being caused by ExtraWatch.  At least when I fiddle around with that using Google Chrome Developer Tools I see that your wp-admin CSS is affected by ExtraWatch.  So you should disable ExtraWatch to see if that is causing the CSS problems.

    AITpro Admin

    Ok I am out of ideas.  You have several files in Quarantine and none of them look like they do anything with CSS.  I guess you only have 1 option at this point:  Restore the website from a backup back to when the wp-admin CSS was displaying correctly.


    “_htaccess”… tried to no avail.

    “_plugins”… tried to no avail.

    Deactivation of all things “extrawatch”… which changed nothing (well, nothing of relevance).

    I can try restoring an old backup, but I rather not because:

    1. That was the first thing I had done when the issue began, and the problem persisted despite the backup having been made weeks prior to the issue.
    2. Doing so would make me have to re-modify a lot of files which I had changed manually (via non-WP Code-Editing programs, ironically for the purposes of WP-programs being compatible with non-WP things –and, no, I highly doubt that such changes would be the cause, as they had nothing to do with CSS, no such changes were being worked on at the time the issue arose, and I see no reason for this issue being logged as any sort of coding error or permissions error).

    Is it possible that this issue could be being caused by my root php.ini file? (Although it being the culprit would be throwing relevant PHP errors, right?)

    The above not likely being the issue, do you know of any CSS I can edit, add, or delete to allow the backend to render in any form that is at least usable (i.e. I don’t care if the admin-bar is shoved to the side, mushed into a single dropdown list, or whatever, so long as I can see what I am doing back there {per-se}; even if there is a plugin you’ve caught wind of {so-to-speak} which does something like that that I can install… –yes, I am getting a bit desperate seeming that I am unable to change many, if not most, WP & Plugin-based options, unable to add pages/posts, stemmed from moderating comments, hindered from adding content which Clients are waiting on {with unbelievable patience}, etc… etc… etcetera…)

    You had merged my original post into the current topic, to which I understand your reasoning, but after seeing the backend in the same manner as depicted in the screenshot I had originally linked, I must inquire whether or not you’ve personally seen this style-screw-up before? I’ve combed the net time & time again, only to find things which were vaguely similar at most; never seeing another image of this visualized-insanity!…

    (I want to make note that the reason I am not asking these questions in a PHP, cPanel, WHM, or GoDaddy forum is because I have numerous {well… several} non-wp Applications/Programs running via root-directory sub-directories without a single noteworthy issue in any of them {while the WP-admin lay in proverbial ruins} –ex. Piwik{detailed traffic tracking}, a Code/Script Editor{w/syntax-highlighting & syntax error detection}, an SEO-tracker/monitor, an entire E-Commerce App/Store, Cache-monitors, Business-based Coordination space, and… well, you get the idea… and can see my confusion & frustration I am sure… Ironically, many of your proposed fixes caused major errors to almost all of those other Programs, but yet none of them even did as much as tweak the look/positioning of the Tyrannical Admin-Bar CSS which is acting more like a Config-Controlling PHP.INI file rather than a subservient-styler STYLESHEET.CSS file {of course I am being melodramatic, but it is quite the neuron-nullifying nuisance I’ve found myself having the responsibility to fix ASAP for the sake of Customer & Co-worker alike……..}……)

    I’ll try virtually anything at this point (so long as it doesn’t throw the site back to its minimalistic beginnings per-se), even if it is merely something along the lines of a whim, theory, day-dream, or crazy-coding-concept; and will be happy to detail the results, in hopes that if someone comes across similar or the same styling-paralysis (knock on wood and “Ptoo! Tuu!” {Yiddish for something along the lines of ‘God Forbid’}) they’ll at least have a few ideas of what they’re looking at, see what may work & what may not work, and what sort of attempts have already been made and what the outcomes/expected-results were/might-be.

    Thank you for anything & everything else you may show or say that has even the “potential” of making things more palatable for me per-se.

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