WordPress – dashboard buttons not working

Last week I encountered a WordPress problem I’d never seen before: text were missing / buttons disappeared from the dashboard and admin bar, but I didn’t know why. I know now!

I’ve made a dozen WordPress websites already, and I didn’t change a thing in the way I worked on this project. (I develop WordPress websites locally, and when they’re done I move them to the domain name of the client I’m making the site for).

Locally everything worked like a charm, but when moved to the domain of the client I saw some problems with the dashboard buttons. I saw the separators for example, but didn’t see the actual links which I could click on:

Plugin links are missing, why?

As you can see some buttons are missing, a problem which makes the wordpress dashboard pretty useless.

Watch the translation files!

I tried a lot of things to pinpoint the problem’s origin, like disabling all plugins, checking the file permissions on the server, and even verified PHP/MySQL version to make sure the minimal requirements were met.

In the end I nearly scratched my eyes out, but suddenly it got to me: what if something’s wrong with the language/translation files? I use WordPress in Dutch for my clients, so what if I delete the translation files, would that work? It did.

It seems one of the language files was corrupted during an upload. This is the first time I had a failed FTP transfer which disguised itself as a succesfull one. It doesn’t happen often, but if you have the same symptoms on your WordPress site I hope this helps!