WordPress Dashboard Loses Formatting

View of broken WordPress Dashboard

I have had a problem when setting up WordPress in a test environment where the obvious issue was that the WordPress Dashboard (control panel area) loses its formatting. It looks like the CSS style sheet (is that redundant?) is not being read. I say this is the obvious issue, but there are other problems that I consistently had with this symptom that I hadn’t connected to the same problem.

Here is the other major issue that, if you experience it, would tell you that you are having the same problem as I: when trying to do various tasks on the site you end up with your domain being duplicated and receiving a 404 error. You can still get to just about any page you want, but you have to take out the duplicated URL. Let’s use example.com as the example URL. If you try to log in to the site at example.com/wp-admin you can pull up the page. But when you put in your username/password you will end up at a site like example.com/wp-admin/example.com/wp-login.etc.etc. You see that the example.com/wherever-you-were is duplicated in front of where the system takes you next. If you manually delete everything from the first example.com up to the next example.com and then reload the page, the site will load as expected until you submit more information and it needs to reload the site. It duplicates the URL in front of where it is trying to go.

This is caused by putting an incorrect address in your “WordPress Address URL” within the General tab of the Settings section of the WordPress Dashboard. I had been incorrectly identifying my domain name (in my case 192.168.10.122). Instead of the domain itself you must put in the http:// protocol handler. Or, at least that is true if you are using an IP address like I was. So by putting in http://192.168.10.122 everything now seems to be working correctly.

I am now able to do testing on my new internal server before I point DNS to the new site and make it go live.

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