Have you encountered the following error fatal error “Parse Error: Syntax Error, Unexpected” while browsing a WordPress website?
If you have ever updated a plugin or inserted code into your WordPress website, you may have encountered the parse error syntax error unexpected in WordPress message. This is a common error as even a single incorrect character can cause to this error. In this article, we will explain the cause of this error.
parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘=’
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘}’, expecting ‘,’ or ‘;’ in
Parse error: Syntax error, unexpected end of file
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected text t_string
parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘new’ (t_new)
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end
parse error: syntax error, unexpected token match
parse error: syntax error, unexpected variable
A syntax error, such as a parse error or an unexpected end, in WordPress can be a relatively simple issue, yet can still cause significant disruption. Receiving such syntax error ‘parse error syntax error unexpected’ messages will prevent access to your WordPress website and cause considerable difficulties to visitors. However, debugging and resolving these errors is relatively straightforward because the error message usually points to the source of the problem.
The error message provides helpful information, allowing us to identify the section of code that is causing the issue, making it easier to resolve. This article will outline the steps to fix the syntax error and restore your WordPress website’s functionality.
What is the “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected”?
Syntax is a systematic arrangement of words or rules that determine the structure of a statement. If any element of the code is not in accordance with the syntax, such as an extra comma or a missing bracket, the compiler will be unable to parse or process the file, thus resulting in an error.
The fatal error “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected” has three parts:
- A syntax error is caused by an incorrect structure in the PHP code, typically due to an inadvertent omission or addition of a character.
- An unexpected error occurs when PHP reaches the end of a file without encountering a required character. This error typically includes additional information explaining what was missing.
- An undefined constant error may occur when a character is missing from an array while attempting to reference a variable or in certain scenarios.
A syntax error occurs when the syntactical rules of a programming language is not followed correctly. This may be due to incorrect code, such as missing semicolons, misspelled words, or extra brackets. Such minor errors can create complications for the system, however, they can also provide insight into the root of the issue and how to resolve it.
Syntax errors can be present in code that is written or pasted into your website, or in themes or plugins that have been installed or updated. Fortunately, it is possible to locate and rectify the issue. However, it is important to possess an understanding of how code works and how to edit it.
It is important to be aware that WordPress website may experience issues without the user being notified. To monitor any errors on your WordPress website, it is recommended to keep the “error debug” option enabled at all times.
Syntax errors generally appear as “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected character in path/to/php-file.php on line number”; whereas undefined constant error is typically presented as follows: “Notice: Use of undefined constant constant string – assumed ‘constant string’ in path/to/php-file.php on line number”. An unexpected error may be indicated by the message, “Parse error: unexpected character in path/to/php-file.php on line number.”
Syntax errors structure:
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected character in path/to/php-file.php on line number
Undefined constant errors structure:
Notice: Use of undefined constant constant string – assumed ‘constant string‘ in path/to/php-file.php on line number
Unexpected errors Example
Parse error: unexpected character in path/to/php-file.php on line number
The term ‘number’ is used to refer to a numerical value written in its nominal form, such as 25 or 1345.
The ‘file’ indicates the source of the issue, the ‘line number’ provides guidance as to where the error may be located.
The ‘character’ or ‘constant string’ can provide insight into the exact element that needs to be addressed around the specified line number. In some cases, unexpected parse errors may list a string instead of a character.
What are the causes of “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected”?
When WordPress website displays the message “Parse Error: Syntax Error, Unexpected end,” it indicates that something is missing or added in the code. The possible causes could be a missing comma, semi-colon, closing parenthesis, or an extra brackets.
The parse error syntax error unexpected in WordPress may vary in resolution, depending on the root cause of the error, example including:
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected end of file
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘new’ (t_new)
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected token match
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected variable
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected identifier
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected php
- parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘=’
The error message typically provides an indication of the specific token, variable, identifier, etc., that is not accepted. Examples of this will be discussed as we progress.
Syntax errors may result from modifications to the files. By investigating these changes, it is possible to identify the source of the error and take steps to address it. Additionally, professional support services may be hired to help identify and resolve these types of issues.
In the event of a syntax error appearing after installing a plugin or theme on a WordPress website, it is likely that the newly installed plugin or theme is the source of the error. To address this, disabling the recently added plugins or themes is the recommended course of action.
It is likely that an error will be generated after editing a code on the WordPress website. Even a minor mistake like a missing comma can disrupt the functionality of the WordPress website, leading to the inaccessibility of the admin dashboard. To gain access to the site files, a File Transfer Protocol or FTP client can be used.
How to find the root cause of parse error?
WordPress has made significant enhancements in its code handling capabilities. If the previous version of the code ran successfully, the website will attempt to use that code when displaying the site to visitors rather than running faulty code that may result in website failure.
Updating your site with the latest code can help to prevent the display of errors to visitors, as well as the possibility of being locked out of the site. While it is still possible for the site to go offline and be inaccessible, it has become increasingly more difficult with recent updates. Furthermore, the code editors now provide markup, allowing users to easily identify variables and other code elements. This facilitates the testing of code within the WordPress plugin and theme code editors.
WordPress may not always present a straightforward solution. In instances where little to no information is provided, content is absent, or the website fails to display. However, these issues can be addressed with some additional troubleshooting.
The first step to troubleshooting a syntax error is to identify its source. This involves locating the specific file containing the erroneous code. In the event of an error, your WordPress website may become inaccessible. In such difficult situations, the worst-case scenario would be unable to locate the file in any way. Thus, the two available options to rectify such issue are to perform a backup restore and re-installation of plugins or themes.
A “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected” is an issue that occurs when the PHP interpreter has noticed a missing element. This is typically caused by a missing curly bracket (“}”). In order to resolve this issue, a full scan of the file must be performed in order to identify the source of the error. This type of error is particularly difficult to pinpoint, as the actual error may not be located in the line number specified in the error message.
Solution 1: Edit code based on error message
Begin by reviewing recent edits. In this case, I edited a code in a plugin file; however, the file reverted to the last version of the code known to be working properly, so my changes did not take effect. To identify the issue, examine the error code, which will indicate the source of the error, as well as the line of code causing the error.
For this example, WordPress has encountered an unexpected bracket instead of the expected semi-colon. We are fortunate that we have other cases to compare to when looking at Case 4, which ends with the word “break”. Above Case 4, Case 3 ends with “break” as well but has a closing semi-colon.
Edit the code that caused the error.
In the same plugin file, there is another example which is displaying an error on line 488. Despite the line of code being accurate, it is providing an indication of an unexpected variable.
Upon examination of the code above 488, we observe that a closing bracket is missing. As a result, WordPress interpreting the subsequent line incorrectly.
In order to ensure successful operation, the closing bracket should be added and the file should be updated. This should resolve the issue and the code should now be functioning correctly.
Although these issues were straightforward, in most cases when a parse error, syntax error, or unexpected end appears in WordPress, they are similar to these examples.
Solution 2: Enable debugging tool in WordPress
Debugging PHP code is an essential part of any WordPress project. To simplify and standardize the process of code across the core, plugins, and themes, WordPress has incorporated specific debug systems. This page outlines the various debugging tools available within WordPress and provides guidance on how to be more productive in coding. Non-programmers or general users can use these options to display detailed information about errors.
To enable the WordPress error log, first navigate to the wp-config file via FTP or cPanel. Look for a line of code similar to the following and change false to true:
define( 'WP_DEBUG', false );
If you do not have the specified line of code, search for a line containing the phrase “Stop editing! Happy blogging.” and paste the following code:
define( 'WP_DEBUG', true );
Once the website has been loaded, any errors that appear can be used as a starting point for troubleshooting. You will now have a blank page with error messages instead of a plain blank page. Although this may not seem like much, it allows you to begin troubleshooting and finding the source of the problem. If you have not disabled any plugins or themes yet, you can review the error message for further information. The file in which the error occurred should be indicated. An example of this could be:
Cannot redeclare get_posts()in/var/www/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/my-test-plug my-test-plugin.php on line 38
Upon examination of the message, it appears the issue is caused by the “my-test-plugin” plugin located on line 38. Disabling this plugin should resolve the problem.
If you wish to make changes to the code, it would be recommended to reach out to the author or developer of the plugin rather than attempting to modify it yourself. Doing so can create a maintenance burden, as all of your changes must be kept up-to-date. It is best to wait for the developer to make the necessary updates.
Reference: Debugging in WordPress
Solution 3: Use FTP client to fix “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected”
Syntax errors must be addressed through code editing in order to either delete or correct the errors. Failure to do so can result in a WordPress website becoming inaccessible or, in some cases, the user being locked out of their WordPress admin dashboard if code or a snippet has been taken from another website. For those new to WordPress, dealing with such issues can be daunting. In this situation, the optimal solution is to use an FTP program.
In order to gain access to the most recent edited file, an FTP client program must be installed and connected to your WordPress website. After establishing a connection between your website and the FTP client program, navigate to the corrupted file or the theme file that requires editing. In the event that you forget the file name and line number you are required to edit, you can refer to the error code for guidance.
Identify the most recent modifications made to the file and searching for any missing elements, such as commas, semi-colons, closing brackets, and more. If you are unable to pinpoint the issue with the incorrect line of code, ensure that is only one opening parenthesis () within the document. Additionally, you should look for any code that has been inserted between functions as this is likely to be broken. Furthermore, each line should end with a semicolon.
It is essential to ensure that the syntax is accurate and the elements, such as quotation marks, are formatted correctly. Remember that quotation marks should never be italicized. Additionally, you should verify that the parentheses are balanced, meaning that each opening parenthesis should have its corresponding closing parenthesis.
If you are having difficulty, you can also remove all code that was recently added. Once you have edited or removed the code, you can save the file and upload it again to the server. Navigate to your WordPress website and refresh the page. Your site should now be functioning properly.
If you are uncertain what modifications have been made to the code and would like to revert to the previous functioning file, you can access it through FTP or cPanel. In some cases, WordPress will not provide the source of the issue. As an alternative, you can rename the folders one by one to determine if the problem resolved.
If you are able to identify the source of the issue, you may upload a new version of the file. For plugins and themes found in the WordPress repository, you can delete the folder and reinstall it.
You may choose to download the theme or plugin from the WordPress repository (or from the source from which it was obtained), unzip the file, and replace only the specific file that needs to be updated. This process is similar to the one used to replace WordPress in the following section.
Solution 4: Replace WordPress core file
In some cases, a damaged core file in WordPress can cause similar errors on the website. To resolve this, it is possible to simply replace the core files in WordPress.
It is recommended to always maintain a backup of the most recent core files in order to minimize the possibility of losing any modifications made to the website. A backup restore will enable the website to revert to its previous version.
In order to replace the core file in WordPress, all elements must be replaced except for wp-config, .htaccess, and wp-content. Replacing any of these elements could affect the details and lead to potential data loss.
Solution 5: Upload a clean copy of WordPress core
If the issue is related to the WordPress core, it is possible to upload a new version of WordPress without erasing any of your existing files.
Step 1: Download the latest version of WordPress and extract the files.
Step 2: Remove the wp-content directory and the file named wp-config-sample.php.
Step 3: Upload the WordPress files from the unzipped folder into your WordPress root folder. This will replace all files, excluding the two that have been removed. Upon completion, your website should now be functioning correctly.
Solution 6: Restore the previous well-functioning backup
If you are still experiencing an error after rectifying the code, you may want to consider performing a backup restore to reinstate the website to its previous functioning state. A restore will overwrite any recent changes made to the files, helping to resolve the error. The process for restoring will vary depending on the software tool being used.
Based on the syntax error, it may be more appropriate to perform a file restore rather than restoring the entire account. The error log should indicate which file requires restoration.
Solution 7: Deactivate theme and plugins
If an error or malfunction occurs following the activation of a plugin or alteration of a theme, it is highly likely to be the cause of the issue. Therefore, the most effective and straightforward solution is to deactivate all plugins and themes, one-by-one, to identify the root cause and determine the best course of action.
If a conflict is detected after making changes, reverting back to the original settings should resolve the issue. To minimize the risk of errors occurring in the future, it is best to check the plugin compatibility with the current version of the theme prior to activation.
How to fix the “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected” if locked out from WordPress?
If access to the administrative dashboard is restricted, alternative measures must be taken to make the desired changes.
Downloading the file from the server that contains the error and opening it in a code editor is necessary for successful editing. Some popular text editors include:
While making changes to the functions.php file for the Twenty Twenty One theme, I made an error in my syntax, resulting in my website to crash. The error message displayed does not provide any helpful information.
Step 1: For this example, the recommended options is to use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or the cPanel provided by the host. For illustrative purposes, the following instructions refer to cPanel. To begin, open the File Manager located in cPanel.
Step 2: Next, open the folder containing the website you are currently working on. For the primary site, you may see a globe icon. Otherwise, open the folder with the website’s specific name.
Step 3: Navigate to the wp-content folder.
Step 4: To begin the editing process, navigate to the folder that contains the theme or plugin you wish to edit. For this example, a theme is being modified.
Step 5: I am selecting the folder for the Twenty Twenty One theme.
Step 6: Next, navigate to the file that was being edited when the issue occurred. In this case, the functions.php file. To make the necessary changes, you can either download the file for offline editting or modified the file directly. As precaution purposes, it is recommended to download a backup of the file prior to making any modifications.
Step 7: The code editor may provide information regarding the error. In my case, it is indicating that a parenthesis is expected on line 29. However, the actual issue lies in the missing bracket on line 17, which leads the editor to believe a parenthesis is required.
Step 8: By adding the bracket, I was able to rectify the error. I have the option to either upload the new file to replace the current one, or save it if I am using the online editor.
The website is now online and functioning correctly.
How do I avoid the “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected”?
It is important to remember that taking preventative measures is more beneficial than attempting to fix something after it has gone wrong. As such, when making any edits to WordPress files, one should exercise caution. Even if you are experienced in using PHP, it is recommended to always validate your code following any modifications.
It is recommended to run any code through a validator prior to execution. Validators are helpful for detecting syntax errors and are especially useful when making changes to a WordPress site. There are various free validators available, such as PHP Code Checker, PHP Code Syntax Check, and W3 Markup Validation Service.
Encountering a syntax error in your WordPress site can be a source of anxiety for many. However, it is important to remember that fixing syntax errors is relatively straightforward. Don’t let the technical jargon terms scare you; with a few simple steps, you can quickly resolve the issue.
This article has provided several potential solutios to help you troubleshoot syntax errors. These include editing the code, replacing corrupt core files, or disabling plugins or themes can be useful solutions. Utilizing these approaches can help you stay on the right track when an error is encountered. Consider these methods as initial steps when addressing syntax errors. Additionally, it is recommended to keep the WordPress error debug setting enabled to be alerted of any issues on the WordPress website.